Friday, October 10, 2008

Off-Road EM: Zero

There are a few very serious players in the electric dirt bike field. These are the companies (and committed people behind them) who are really trying to figure out the direction for electric off-road motorcycles. They are looking forward and pushing into the future with some real innovation and hardcore enthusiasm. Three of the envelope pushers, in no particular order are: Zero, Electric Moto, and Quantya. I’m going to briefly look at each one over a few posts. Let’s start at (wait for it), Zero.

Photo via: Autoblog Green (link goes to article with gallery)

Zero: Incredible performance in a durable and well thought out package. I caught the episode of Mean Green Machines on Green Planet (a Discovery Channel network) which featured the Zero electric motorcycle a few weeks ago. The premise of the show was that the Zero would race head-to-head through a series of tests against a new Yamaha YZ250F. Zero creator, Neil Saiki put his machine where his heart is and suggested the YZ for comparison. This was ballsy stuff. To go on (inter)national TV and put an electric bike up against one of the best Lites class motocross bikes available…well that took some big boxers for sure.

Obviously the Zero got beat, but surprisingly not by a whole lot. For an electric bike with an effectively downhill/freeride mountain bike suspension (Saiki is also a respected MTB frame and suspension designer), it held it’s own. From my sofa, I’d say that a safer bet would’ve been selecting a big play bike/trail bike like a Honda CRF230F or Yamaha TT-R230 for comparison. In my opinion those are more likely competition for an electric bike like the Zero at this point in time.

Rider opinions on the show were positive. The Zero is light, has decent power, and awesome acceleration. When lighter riders were on the Zero, its performance was surprisingly equal to the Yamaha. I think that more than anything, the comparison shows how close we are to having electric motorcycles which are wholly competitive with their internal combustion siblings.

Friday, October 3, 2008 is a great forum to check out for current news and conversation related to electric motorcycles! If you are an EM fan, you should have this site bookmarked.

Stay tuned to EnvironMoto for resources and original commentary!

Friday, September 26, 2008

Enertia Electric Motorcycle Available at Best Buy?

Brammo (parent company of the Enertia electric motorcycle) has obtained $10 million in VC (venture capital) funding from two sources to help push the Enertia ( into regular production. One of which is Best Buy (

Photo via: Autoblog Green

Here is the link to the interesting news via Autoblog Green this week: (

The fact that Best Buy is staking a claim in the Enertia EM is significant on a multitude of levels. First, is that a mainstream consumer electronics retailing giant is even aware of a motorcycle product. Second, is that they obviously see Brammo as a serious player in this very young motorcycle segment, and are willing to back them. Third, is that this opens the door to an entirely new way of thinking about how motorcycles may be marketed and sold. All are significant pieces, but the potential for a motorcycle to be sold as a consumer product alongside HDTV’s, laptops, and cell phones is a mind blower.

The potential is there to create a cultural shift in the perception of a motorcycle… and a motorcyclist. Taking the average citizen from the local motorcycle shop to the local shopping mall is a new way of thinking (other than the fact that you could buy small IC motorcycles and scooters at department stores in the 60’s) in modern times. The potential of placing a motorcycle product in right in front of a massive and varied demographic is fascinating. This would be a bold step into uncharted territory for any company. EnvironMoto will keep tabs on this story!

Wednesday, September 17, 2008


The more research I do on electric motorcycles, the more incredible products I find. Today some searching has led me to the Brammo website and the Enertia electric motorcycle.

Photo (via MSN Autos):

I’m excited about this bike for two main reasons: Styling and Utility.

Styling: The Enertia looks fantastic. It has a modern industrial look that is very current (think Nissan Xterra or Scion Tc). It does remind me a bit of the Aprilia Moto 6.5 design from 1990’s (here’s a link: It looks like a real motorcycle with full sized wheels, foot pegs (versus step-thru scooter designs), and bodywork that alludes to conventional fuel tank and engine locations. The solo seat pulls in a streetfighter or chopper feel. Overall it has a great design that is approachable and modern enough to gain the attention of someone new to motorcycling or curious about EV’s, but commanding enough to turn the heads of more seasoned sport riders. It’s a great styling approach, and probably makes their marketing people happy because it is unique and can be readily identified with the brand. In silhouette, the Enertia will not be confused with a Harley Davidson or a Japanese sportbike.

Utility: The Enertia’s performance is said to be on par with a Kawasaki Ninja 250 (but with far greater torque at any RPM due to the electric motor). Top speed is around 50 mph and distance between recharges is 40 to 50 miles. This makes the bike highly useable for an urban commuter that doesn’t have to take a major highway to and from work. A rider can potentially ride to work (in style!), park the bike without worry of finding an electrical outlet, then ride back home and recharge over night. Recharge time is 3 hours for a full charge, which is reasonable for the level of performance and range the Enertia is capable of. To sum things up; performance is acceptable to an average urban commuter familiar with motorcycle, scooter, or even bicycle transport.

Reading through the Enertia website, I’m excited about the bike and the company. I could go on and on about the use of carbon fiber and other well thought out aspects of the Enertia design. I have a lot of respect for their philosophy, design, and engineering. I have to admit that it’s always been my dream to work for a motorcycle manufacturer and I’d be a part of their team in a second! Ah, if only they were on the East Coast; I’d be knocking on their door to see if they could use an environmentally conscious Mechanical Engineer with automotive, aircraft, and truck experience and a background in art and motorcycle mechanics…

Monday, September 15, 2008


Hello! I’ve created this blog as a place to put together my thoughts, ideas, news, information, and general ranting on the subject of electric motorcycles.

Where this goes, we shall see.

I’ve spent nearly three decades involved in motorcycle riding, racing, tuning, and technology. Two-wheeled transport is who I am. I have to add that I am also an avid bicyclist who has been involved bicycle racing, riding, tuning, and technology for even longer than my motorized pursuits.

I believe this is a good place to start… we will go from here!