Brammo. the Oregon based maker of electric motorcycles, announced today the 2011 Enertia Plus. It has the same specs as the 2010 Enertia, but with one very important distinction. The range.
It’s double the range, with the same weight, and a slightly higher price.
The Enertia is a small urban motorcycle. It has a 60+ miles/hr top speed and in the original model a max range of 42 miles (but of course that range is not when riding at top speed). It has a 13 kilowatt AC motor, that gives 29 ft-lbs of torque, Brembo brakes, weighs 320 lbs, etc.
By all reports the Enertia is a very well made motorcycle that won an award as the best electric motorcycle of 2010.
The Enertia base model has a 3.1 kilowatt-hour 76.8 volt battery pack using batteries from Valence Technologies. It is the kilowatt-hour capacity of a battery pack that is the main determiner of the range. Of course there are many factors determining range, but kilowatt-hours are a loose analogy to gallons of gasoline.
The Enertia Plus has exactly the same specifications as the Enertia, the same weight, motor power, torque, suspension, wheels, and size. Exactly. The claimed range for the Enertia Plus is 80 miles versus the 42 miles claimed for the Enertia.
How did they do this? With a 6.0 kilowatt-hour 88.6 volt battery pack made of Brammo Power batteries.
The Enertia, 42 miles using 3.1 kilowatt-hours, the Enertia Plus, 80 miles using 6.0 kilowatt-hours.
See? Longer range is that simple, just get batteries with higher energy density. As if it were that simple in reality. Battery research is a slow process not subject to the rapid innovation we’ve seen in electronics. Rather than doubling every 18 months like computer processors, doubling battery capacity requires several years of research.
There are already new battery technologies on the horizon offering higher energy density, and clearly Brammo has latched onto one of them.
At Brammo’s July 2010 unveiling of their Empulse at Laguna Seca one detail was their new battery pack technology choice. Previously Brammo’s battery supplier was Valence Technologies, but the Empulse did not use Valence cells and neither does the Enertia Plus. They refused to give details about the new battery technology when asked at Laguna Seca such as the chemistry or supplier.
A couple details about the battery pack is worth noting. Recharge time for the Enertia Plus is 8 hours versus the 4 hour recharge time of the Enertia. This indicates the Enertia Plus uses a 120 volt charger, like the Enertia, but due to the larger capacity will take longer to fill the battery.
Of course actual recharge time depends on how depleted the pack is.
The Enertia Plus is rated for 500 charge cycles (to 90% capacity) while the Enertia is rated for over 2000 charge cycles (without stating the capacity loss over time). Going by what’s stated on the spec sheet the Enertia and Enertia Plus have an interesting trade-off between range and battery pack life. The 500 charge cycles represents perhaps 30,000 miles which is quite a lot of motorcycle riding.
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