Brammo partners with Polaris

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“This helps position Brammo as THE electric vehicle company in powersports, broadening our potential reach into ATV, side-by-side and LSVs,” explains Brammo CEO Craig Bramscher (pictured). The electric motorcycle startup has closed a $28 million Series B investment, led by Polaris Industries. That money and that strategic partnership means faster development of more products in more segments sold in more places worldwide. It should also mean that the long-awaited, 100mph+/100-mile+ Brammo Empulse will finally enter production.

Based in Minnnesota, Polaris makes ATVs, side-by-sides, snowmobiles, motorcycles and recently acquired GEM, the maker of neighborhood electric vehicles (those dorky things fat families rent on holidays with no doors and too many seats).

“We now have the ability to maintain our high standards of quality while we innovate and commercialize at speed, and this enables us to better serve our customers and build a sustainable advantage,” continues Craig. “Polaris is the clear leader in powersports and our manufacturing partner, Flextronics, is a global leader in electronics manufacturing. Our products are the synthesis of powersports and electronics. Polaris and Flextronics present the best possible partners to help Brammo achieve the scale and prolific product development plans we have for the coming years.”

Brammo is also announcing that Flextronics will now be providing Design for Manufacturing services. The electronics manufacturing giant currently produces Enertias for the European market in Hungary and will begin making battery packs for the brand in Germany.

  • http://www.brammofan.com Brammofan

    Good investment for Polaris and great partnership for both of them.

  • http://twitter.com/BuddyJesus Peter

    Just watch. Instead of the Empulse, we’ll end up with a hybrid Indian. Now grandpa can cruise and be green at the same time.

    • http://hellforleathermagazine.com Wes Siler

      That’d actually be pretty awesome. I’d love to see innovation applied to Indian in that way.

      • Lacubrious

        I could definitely picture a small, well designed, EV being put out under the Indian name. It would be more in line the environmental awareness of the Native Americans it’s name originally exploited. I really don’t care about the whole name controversy thing, but I do want to see EV motorcycles become more mainstream so the storage technology can be forced to innovate.

    • http://www.brammofan.com Brammofan

      I knew someone would pop in with that, or with a Victory reference. I think it’s actually only a matter of time before the battery tech advances enough to make electric cruisers a possibility. However, the Empulse is still on track as a pure electric sport bike… as far as I know.

      • Lama glama

        I hope they store enough juice to also power the speakers blaring that genuine “potato-potato” sound.

    • Richard

      I’d like to see a massively torquey electric Indian flat tracker! How many miles is a flat track race? I bet Brammo’s new race motor would be just the ticket.

      I have a;ways had a lot of respect for Polaris as I’ve watched them grow into the motorcycle market over the years. I think this is a good move for Brammo. Any chance we’ll see a Polaris sponsored Empulse RR next year?

  • Charlie

    Maybe they will now be more responsive. I’ve “pre-ordered” a Brammo twice and never heard back from the company

    • http://www.brammofan.com Brammofan

      Something must have gone wrong in the order submission… I can put you in touch with them if you’re still interested. Send me an email at brammofan at brammofan dot com.

      • Charlie

        Thanks…ended up with a Hyper 796 for my commuting…but still like the Brammo

  • http://www.smartcycleshopper.com/author/doug-dalsing/ DougD

    This is interesting—strategic partnership news worth getting excited about!

  • John

    Still vaporware at this point.

    • Samuel

      Eh, no it’s not. The Enertia is a real product you can actually buy. There’s an orange and a green one at CycleTrader.com right now that you can look up.

      The Empulse is a real bike that has been raced as the EmpulseRR.

      (on another point)
      This is great news for Brammo. Polaris is making a lot of moves lets just hope they can find a clear direction to go with all of these different brands under their umbrella.

      • Thom

        Errrr Yes it is

        You’ve been reading the hype and propaganda and not the facts about them

        Raced ? Against what ? Other E/V’s of course . And running a prototype around a track with other E/V’s doesn’t prove jack

        Buy one ? Sure you can if you’re wanting a POS that at its best is unreliable and may burst into flames at any given minute ( which every E/V made so far has )

        In truth if you had a minutia of a clue , you’d know calling the Brammo ( Blammo ) Vaporware is in fact being a bit too kind

        Pretentious Over Hyped POS comes somewhat closer

        Jeeze , do any of you actually READ about something before buying into the Hype , or do you just accept the Propaganda at Face Value because someone you THINK has your best interests at heart has said it is so .

        Or is it just another case of Post Modern , Hipster Thinking where the Story is more Real than the Reality of the Situation actually is ?

        • http://twitter.com/metabomber Jesse

          “Vaporware”
          I do not think that means what you think that means.

          Folks own Brammo bikes, and ride them. Some Brammo motorcycles have been raced against other race-finessed electric motorcycles… because race-finessed bikes are going to perform better in a race than street prepared versions.

          EBR’s superduper bike is just as vapor-y by what I’m interpeting as your qualifications. There are a few are about, they are going to be raced, and they represent a highly evolved state of the motorcycle. In our heart of hearts, we want EBR to succeed and flourish for dozens of reasons. Why not wish the same for another enthusiast and entrepreneur?

        • http://www.brammofan.com Brammofan

          Thom – your posts are filled with misinformation.

          • protomech

            Haters gonna hate. /shrug

            • http://hellforleathermagazine.com Wes Siler

              But it should be noted that none of the claims Thom makes above are in any way factual.

              • protomech

                I applaud Thom for not allowing facts, grammar, or precaution against revealing blithering idiocy to get in the way of a good hating.

                * MotoGP and World Superbike are prototype races. I suppose Thom pickets them as well.
                * I can recall two instances where EVs were linked to fires – a Volt plugged into a home-built charger (UL certification exists for a reason) and Munch Racing’s prototype bike at Silverstone. What haven’t been bursting into flames are the hundreds of production Enertias and Zeros that have been on (and off) the streets for the last few years, or the thousands of Leafs and Volts sold this year.

                “do you just accept the Propaganda at Face Value because someone you THINK has your best interests at heart has said it is so .”

                Thom does.

        • Chris

          Check the lap times that mission motors put up at laguna seca this past summer and please rethink your response about the ev’s not being competitive.

  • http://www.amarokconsultants.com michael uhlarik

    Sounds like a good pairing. A solid, technology-based low volume OEM with the best American power sports business.

    Here’s to a bright future for American motorcycling.

  • Ceolwulf

    What I hope this means, and what I assume is their intention, is that my local Polaris dealer will stock (and service) Brammo. Polaris has a lot of dealers here in Canada and I don’t think Brammo has been available here at all yet.

    • http://twitter.com/metabomber Jesse

      This is exactly what I’m hoping for as well. I’ve a Kawi/Triumph/Polaris dealership nearby and would love to see the Empulse 10 there.

  • Thom

    Hmmn

    For such a self professed , so called knowledgeable bunch of Gearheads there’s sure a lot of cheering and hoopla for what will no doubt turn out to be another chapter in the ongoing book of ;

    E/V Bullshit and other Fairy Tales Designed to get the $$$ out of your back pocket for a Pretentious POS posing as a viable and usable vehicle

    Good business pairing my ASS . The freaking idiots involved making automotive E/V’s ( TESLA Fisker etc ) can’t make them work with tons of room for the batteries etc and ANYONE here really thinks an E/V motorcycle is a Good Idea ?

    Welcome to the Shell Game of the Decade gentlemen ( and ladies if you’re out there )

    And congratulations as it seems many of you’ve bought into the Lies BS Smoke & Mirrors etc that is the current State of E/V vehicles

    What’s that adage ? Oh yeah

    ” A Fool and his Money are Soon Parted ”

    Say bye bye to your hard earned $$$

    You’d of been better off flushing it down the toilet .

    Say bye bye to Polaris as well . I’ll put money on them , between their Indian adventure as well as this E/V Virtual BS , the company will be in deep shit within the next five years . Bank on it .

    @John

    Vaporware ! I love it . So there’s at least one other here thats got a clue as to the reality of E/V’s at this point in time

    • http://www.anotherdamndj.com evilbahumut

      So you’re saying that entrepreneurs and enthusiasts shouldn’t try new things and further push along the technology and such because you’ve decided not to support it before it’s even started?

      How American of you.

      • The other Joe

        I think that’s “How Republican of you”.

        • http://www.firstgenerationmotors.blogspot.com Emmet

          + 1,000,000,000

          • JVictor75

            Not necessarily.

            Most of the time I tend to hold my comments to myself (ahem, other than that thread about Italy the other day. I still feel like a jackass about that, just saying) but I tend to lean more right-of-center than what I perceive to be the average political inclinations of the readership here.

            I see no need to bring perceived party affiliation BS into this discussion. We’re supposed to be talking about bikes and gear and motorcycle related culture.

            I think we can all agree that Thom, occasional agreements with minor stated positions of his notwithstanding, is an ass.

            Political side-picking not required.

    • http://twitter.com/metabomber Jesse

      All products are designed and marketed to separate money from consumers. Likely you’ve paid money for something and enjoyed it in the past.

      I don’t see the Empulse line as any more pretentious POS then any other motorcycle, honesty. Niche vehicle for those that see it as fitting into their lifestyle. If the Em10 was a diesel KLR (homina), we’d be having a slightly different conversation, but there would still be doubters and fanatics.

      *shrug* I’m interested in seeing where this partnership goes. I’m glad to see Brammo getting some help. As a gearhead, I’m very interested in seeing the product perform. If my local Polaris shop has one for demo, you are damned straight I’m taking one for a ride.

      Semi-related. The red Tesla coupe that’s parked near where I work is smoking hot, and certainly not vaporware.

    • http://www.brammofan.com Brammofan

      I don’t know, I’ve logged a lot of miles to and from work on my pretentious POS. It’s more dependable than most of the I.C.E. bikes parked at my lot, according to the stories of my co-workers and the oil puddles left behind. And Polaris seems to be doing pretty well according to their balance sheet, especially considering what the motorcycle market is doing right now.

    • jason McCrash

      I would bet a paycheck that Polaris is in this for the military applications Thom. They have a huge contract with our services to provide atv’s to them for use in theatre. I can see electric and/or hybrid being of interest to the military in small vehicle applications, especially atv’s. Tesla, Brammo, some guy in his basement, now Polaris. It isn’t a bad thing.

    • http://hellforleathermagazine.com Wes Siler

      Thom, you can READ about what great products Brammo is currently selling by visiting our Brammo tag page:

      http://hellforleathermagazine.com/tagged/brammo/

      We’ve ridden the Enertia several times and always been surprised by what a great bike it is. A tad pricey, but many early adopters who are enthusiastic about the technology seem to think it’s worth it. Out of the handful of owners I personally know, not one has had a major problem and only one has had a minor problem. Brammofan’s minor electric hiccup was handled promptly, efficiently and personally in a manner which speaks volume’s about the company’s belief in its products and intention to drive home the quality message.

      Living in LA, an Enertia+ would be an excellent daily rider for me. I’d actually like to own one.

    • John

      Thom,

      I used to think you were just a grouchy old cynic, now I am starting to have my doubts. At nearly every turn there’s Thom, to shit all over everything. Why do you bother? You don’t like anything on this website. I can’t believe that you a real person. Is Thom just pseudonym that you have made up for your own entertainment? Are you actually Wes? Or, the guy that was stalking Wes? Well played sir, I tip my hat to you.

      From now on, every time you post, I am not going to be shocked by your ignorance or lack social tack or common decency. No, not any more. I will just smile, and say to my self, “That Wes, playing the comic foil to his own straight man.”

      But I have been wondering… Why the Random Capitalization? Is that just part of the humor? You are too much Wes.

      • filly-fuzz

        + about a million.

      • Mike

        Seriously. I have a feature request for a commenter killfile.

      • Samuel

        Thom = Wes… Love it.

        • http://hellforleathermagazine.com Wes Siler

          Even I couldn’t build a fake persona this wonderfully weird.

          • filly-fuzz

            Isn’t it stunning?
            Music
            Auto
            Moto
            Woman

            The wealth of expertise astounds me!
            Is he man or god?

      • ike6116

        Im pretty sure there’s two of them and Im not sure I’ve liked anything either of them has had to say.

      • Richard

        I wonder is the random capitalization are code? D

  • http://www.pedalgents.com holdingfast

    Oh Empulse you or one of your incarnations will belong to me one day! And now one day sooner maybe than expected!

  • http://www.facebook.com/cheese302 Cheese302

    this can’t hurt, i am excited to see the future of electric motorcycling. I hope that the empulse is available soon, i would love to ride one. For now, i am going to keep on the look out for a small displacement commuter bike that isnt a ninja 250.

  • http://www.brammofan.com Brammofan

    This reminds me of the deal between Tesla and Toyota. Aside from the capital involved, that deal gave Tesla and EVs the kind of credibility they had been striving for. I’m hopeful this deal between Polaris and Brammo has a similar effect.

    • protomech

      I’m not so sure. I think the primary goal of the Tesla/Toyota partnership was to rapidly develop a low-volume vehicle (RAV4 EV) to meet california regulations. Dumping the NUMI factory was a nice side benefit. I get the feeling Toyota wants to keep their hybrid / EV development chops in-house.

      Brammo and Polaris seems a more natural fit. Polaris has the dealer network, offers gas complements to many of Brammo’s products. HD (for example) has nothing that’s suitable for the offroad activities Brammo is pursuing.

  • Beale

    I see Polaris’ recent acquisitions in possible ways: an overreaching attempt to cover all bases that will, in the end, cause them to lose focus and crash and burn, or, a brilliant run at covering all bases ala Triumph that will have them grow into one of the top players in powersports. I think it will be the later but this IS the motorcycle business we’re talking about.

  • Peter88

    Wow! First the Indian acquisition and now this. Congratulations to Polaris and Brammo. This bodes well for the motorcycle industry, particularly the American motorcycle industry (I should’ve just put a +1 on Mr.Uhlarik’s comment).

  • John

    I didn’t know there were two of us logged in simply as “John.”

    re:Vaporware

    So, a few Empulse’s are running around. So, Enertias have been sold and a few are busting bugs out there in private hands. OK, so technically not “Vaporware.” The comparison to the EBR 1190 rings true.

    I wish Brammo all the best, truly, and I can see owning an Empulse. I think it is a beautiful machine and that bike with 100 mile range would make a nice Sunday morning play bike that wouldn’t wake up the neighbors.

    But, seriously folks, we are a LONG way from these things being viable. Also, anyone who believes ANYTHING coming out of Fisker or Tesla is just fooling themselves. Fisker is a complete and total shell game to get government cheese. They have as much chance of making it as a car company as DeLoreans have of making a comeback on our streets. Tesla, while a great trick of using off-the-shelf laptop batteries, also has zero chance of actually surviving as a car company.

    Do the math. Earlier this year, when gasoline was $4 a gallon, the Mustang, the Camaro, and the Charger out sold ALL THIRTY hybrids sold in the United States of America one month. If $4 a gallon gas did not deter folks from buying muscle cars, and did not send the throngs to start driving a Prius, who is going to buy these electric bikes other than the TRUE BELIEVER, early adopter, tree huggers? Think about it.

    When you can buy a 70 mpg scooter, or 250cc Honda or Suzuki, for $4,000 to $7,000 new, much less used, how many people are actually going to walk into a Polaris store and drop twice that on an Enertia? Some, yes, but not nearly enough to make it a viable enterprise. I wish it weren’t true, really, I WANT them to succeed, I’m not hate’n, I’m just Say’n.

    After ten years on the market, the Prius represents less than 1% of the vehicles sold in this country.

    Until gasoline is more than $10 a gallon, people will not pay more money for limited range, the hassle of finding an electrical outlet, and the wait for a fully charged battery. If you don’t own a house with a garage, where do you park and charge these things? If you live on the third floor of an apartment building, do you run an extension cord to your balcony? If not, do you steal your neighbor’s electricity?

    Think about it.

    Also, read the new CAFE law. Car companies get credits towards selling gigantic SUVs and pick-up trucks for every electric car they build, that is why Toyota teamed up with Tesla. Read the law.

    If you take away the government money that is funding all of these alternative energy start-ups, they ALL will FAIL at these gasoline prices.

    You want these ideas to succeed, then pass an immediate $20 a gallon gasoline tax in this country. When it costs you $600 to fill up your SUV, people will start buying electric cars and bikes.

    I wish them well, but the economics are not there at $4 a gallon gasoline.

    Cheers.

    • http://hellforleathermagazine.com Wes Siler

      You can change your display name in the “profile” link up top.

    • protomech

      John,

      I agree that we’re a long ways away from EVs being something you can recommend without reservation. The limitations on range and charge time are fundamental weaknesses of battery-based EVs. They cannot be all things to all people.

      That said, EVs do work for some people some of the time. They’re fantastic for commuting and the shorter trips that make up the majority of many people’s miles. And that’s fine.

      Do they have a up-front pricing advantage? No, not even with large subsidies. Not likely to change in 5-10 years. Total cost of ownership & operation requires a good deal of hand-waving (and careful tip-toeing around battery replacement costs), but most reasonable analysis pegs EV TCO close as close to their ICE counterparts.

      Like motorcycles or multiple-car ownership in the US, EVs will likely settle into a semi-luxury niche. I wouldn’t haul a sofa with a motorcycle, commute in a truck, or select an EV for an interstate trip. Choosing the right tool for the job is a luxury that not everyone has, which explains the glut of SUVs stuck in commuter hell.

      Also, on hybrid sales:

      The Prius has been selling for around 140-180k/year in the US. 280k total hybrids were sold in the US in 2010, of 11.5 million cars and trucks sold. That’s around 2.5%, which is in truth quite small.

      All Mustang models sold 70k in 2010, all Camaro models sold 80k. The Ford Fusion sold 219k. Are those models are doomed as well?

    • Joe

      You could use this argument for any new technology when it is new, but that doesn’t stop progress.

      “These horses work great. Why would I want to buy a car? I can feed my horse with food, but I have to go to these silly specific stations to fill up my car. I’ll just stick with my horse until they levy a $20 tax on horse food.”

      “Why fly when I can take a train and it is cheaper?”

      “Yeah I see these new computers, but it’s just a fad. Typewriters are still cheaper and everywhere.”

      “Why use electricity to light my house with some odd glass contraption when I have all these candles and gas lamps?”

      “I can’t really see how this internet thing will work, mail works just fine and the internet scares me.”

      And on and on it goes but progress never stops. The tech might not be perfect today, but it is definitely not going away, and will be perfected in the future. To knock it because it is not as developed as current market solutions is just foolish.

      • http://www.brammofan.com Brammofan

        I was going to make a post surprisingly similar to yours, Joe, but I’m glad I held back.
        Also, this statement of John’s, “If you take away the government money that is funding all of these alternative energy start-ups, they ALL will FAIL at these gasoline prices.” is flawed. Sure, take the government money away and these companies may be in trouble. But so would the petroleum industry if you took their government subsidies away; and the railroad companies in their developmental years, and the automobile companies in their early years (and all those companies today, as well). I want to point out, by the way, that Brammo is not a recipient of these particular subsidies (The ATVM loan or grant programs), although they do benefit from the incentives provided to buyers of their motorcycles, such as the 10% federal EV tax credit, and the California rebate.

      • http://www.faster-faster.com fasterfaster

        Joe, that was one of the best posts I’ve ever seen, ever. In the world.

        • Joe

          Thank you lol

        • Mr.Paynter

          +1

          • Chris

            +2

      • Campisi

        Nice, plus one, et cetera.

      • FFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFF

        All these examples deal with one form of technology that has stark, practical differences over another. EVs don’t yet have such clear advantages over ICE vehicles. The difference in performance between an IBM Selectric and an Apple II is not the same as the difference between a CBR250R and an Enertia.

        That said, I am pro-EV investment and research, but the economics of owning one don’t work out for me just yet. Beyond that, the claims of lessened environmental impact are questionable. Heavy metals are bad!

        • Campisi

          I think the idea is that most new technologies stick in the marketplace once they seize upon their ideal application and achieve the technological maturity to perform that role well. Electronic word processors and early computers had a steep learning curve and a number of limitations that served as a barrier-to-entry over the more commonplace Selectrics and Smith-Coronas, but once someone made it over that wall the new stuff was good enough at its killer app (word processing) that they didn’t want to go back.

          Electric motorcycles (and EVs in general) are at a similar stage of development in the marketplace right now; they don’t have the massive range of gassers, charging takes much longer than the fuel stops gassers need, and they’re more expensive than conventional competitors, but once the rider gets past these rapidly-deteriorating barriers-to-entry they discover that the newer electric motorcycles are simply better at their killer app of daily commuting.

          • http://www.brammofan.com Brammofan

            Damn: “…once the rider gets past these rapidly-deteriorating barriers-to-entry they discover that the newer electric motorcycles are simply better at their killer app of daily commuting.” If you don’t mind, Mr. Campisi, I’m going to steal that.

            • Campisi

              Please do. I’d have an Enertia Plus right now instead of my Honda if it weren’t for the one barrier I couldn’t hop at the time: its price. Hopefully their partnership with Polaris opens up some possibilities for in-house financing.

    • The other Joe

      When did gas prices start being considered low? I’m still waiting for it to drop back down to normal!

      • protomech

        Don’t hold your breath. They might drop a little more, but I expect they’ll recover as the global economy slowly improves.

    • pplassm

      Now wait just one damn minute. I have a friend who just bought a DeLorean.

      There’s a guy assembling them from spare parts.

      • Joe

        And this will really blow John (10/10th)’s mind, they are building electric Deloreans too. Double vaporware bonus

  • 10/10ths

    Wes,

    Thanks, I am now “10/10ths.”

    Cheers.

  • 10/10ths

    Protomech,

    Very well said.

    As to the low volume Mustang being doomed, no. The tooling has already been paid for and Ford makes a profit at these sales volumes.

    Agreed on EVs. They will be a low volume, niche vehicle that will serve those specific commuting duties for those who live in large metro areas and have the wealth to afford one.

    My point was simply that I don’t think there are ENOUGH of those folks in the USA to allow the Bammos, Teslas, and Fiskers of the world to survive without government subsidies.

    Not at these gas prices, anyway.

    Cheers.

  • Stacey

    Gas prices are volatile. It was just a couple of years ago, we were paying well over $4 a gallon and many thought then there was no going back.
    There’s nothing to suggest that due to “fluctuations in supply” that won’t happen again. Not to mention the millions of new cars being sold in emerging economies driving up demand for gas worldwide.

    So what makes more sense: doing nothing or putting in the work to develop products, batteries, services, sales, dealer networks, parts, etc. for alternatively powered vehicles now?

  • 10/10ths

    Stacey,

    Developing new technologies absolutely beats doing nothing. The point is that as long as fossil fuel prices are as low as they are, the market will not support new alternatives until the price point of those new technologies drops and matches or falls below the price of fossil fuel.

    If you truly want to make people buy alternative fuel vehicles, just raise the price of gasoline. Put a federal gasoline tax of $20 a gallon and people will line up for EVs and bio-fuel vehicles.

    Cheers.

  • http://rider49er.blogspot.com Mark D

    Fantastic. I’m almost 100% sure my next bike will be electric.

  • Richard

    If I bought a new Camaro I could buy an Empulse and park it right outside or in my apartment to charge and use it to commute so I cold save the money to have fun with the Camaro on the weekends.

    Personally, I a done with ICE cars. The maintenance is too high. From what I have hear from people who own EVs there is just so little maintenance involved. All I own now is my bicycle and a bus pass. When I finish my degree and get a real job, my first purchase will be an Empluse.

  • Mr.Paynter

    There is no Brammo South Africa.
    There is however, a Victory South Africa, I hope and pray Brammo gets out here soon, just because I want to see one so desperately!

  • jason McCrash

    Like I said, military applications. Polaris already sells an electric military atv:

    http://www.polarisindustries.com/en-us/polaris-defense/2012/Electric/Polaris-EV-LSV/Pages/Overview.aspx

  • Scott-jay

    What happens when I ride it into deep water?
    With an XL125, one removes the spark-plug, kicks a bunch, replaces the spark-plug, and returns home to catch the school bus.

    • Will

      Zero motorcycles can be ridden through water. The military has been testing them on this, IIRC. (something about AC v. DC motors)