There is SO much to talk about here–Schiff’s impressions of the Enertia, lessons learned from the trip, experiences from the interactions, the power of democracy, the organic feel of the campaign — that I have to recommend you watch the whole one-hour episode.
But one thing that Schiff mentioned about the Enertia that sent me pondering was about the manufacture of the bike and Brammo’s interest in keeping it “battery agnostic.” This happened during a discussion of how the bike was manufactured and here’s my take:
Battery technology is changing almost daily. It’s not merely a question of lead-acid versus nickel metal hydride versus lithium ion anymore. (Note: the Brammo Enertia currently uses six Lithium Iron Phosphate battery cells, manufactured by Valence). New chemical combinations, new ideas about recharging versus evacuating/refilling the charged solutions within, and the potential of supercapacitors have got to be keeping EV manufacturers on their toes. “Do I re-configure my vehicle to allow for a different type of battery?” “What else must I change in order to include the latest technology?” “Should I just include the new battery technology in next year’s model and let current owners figure out their own solutions?”
By “battery agnostic” I think Brammo is manufacturing its bikes to accept the new battery technology in an easy to swap, modular way. Brammo agnosticism reflects an openness to new ways of motive power, the same way a religious agnostic accepts his current belief system but remains open to new truths.
If I’m right about this, and I think I am, this is one of the reasons why I became and continue to be a Brammo fan. They are not making a disposable bike. More than a mere “motorcycle,” they created a platform from a blank sheet and designed it to be timeless. Battery tech changes? Swap a new, smaller module in that weighs less, charges faster, has a greater range. New lessons learned about power management and motor temperature and coasting? Upgrade the bike’s software to take advantage of the new knowledge base.
Note: I just heard from my favorite Iowan-Enertia owner, “Hawkeye,” that Brammo is sending out a technician (a/k/a BrammoJosh a/k/a @brammoservice ) to update the software on his bike. That’s not just “service.” That’s above and beyond, and merits its own post, yet to come.
This kind of thinking — being “battery agnostic,” taking care of their customers, thinking about the future of its current products that have already sold — is why you should be a Brammo fan, too.