Posts Tagged DoE

Snap! Senator Wyden Pwns DOE Under Secretary during Capitol Hill Deathmatch

The life of a Brammofan is filled with excitement.  Whether I’m mediating a name-calling session on a playground, or scouring the web for pictures of scantily-dressed Brammosisters being attacked by giant insects, my days are brimming with news and images that are shocking and riveting.

But I didn’t know the meaning of “excitement” until I witnessed the 76 action-packed minutes of smack-downs, body slams, and BrammoJams that happened yesterday in Hearing Room SD-366 inside the Dirksen Senate Office Building in our nation’s capital.  I wasn’t able to attend the match live, so I watched it here, and you can too.  The anticipation is palpable during the first 20 minutes of the archived video, during which you must wait for the real action to begin, all the  while reading and rereading the tantalizing tease: “Subcommittee on Energy, Hearing to consider pending legislation.  Coverage begins at 2:30 pm.”

I imagine that, during that 20 minutes, more than a few dollars exchanged hands as the audience placed bets on who would come out of the room battered, bruised, but victorious, and who would have their Earthly remains removed unceremoniously from the room and hustled out a side door to a waiting panel van.

When it finally began, one thing was clear: there would be blood.  And lots of it.

Moderating the melee was Senator Maria Cantwell, from Washington state.  She introduced the victim witness, Department of Energy Under Secretary Kristina Johnson.

Johnson stomped around predictably, talking about the DOE’s accomplishments and responsibilities, and mentioned, specifically H.R. 3246, the Advanced Vehicles Technology Act of 2009.

Too bad a camera wasn’t focused on Oregon Senator Ron Wyden at that moment.  Reportedly, he sat up straighter in his chair, cracked his knuckles, and then continued to doodle small pictures of Under Secretary Johnson doing wheelies on a motorcycle.

You might as well fast forward to the 60 minute mark,  when Wyden begins pummeling Johnson with energy storage questions.  That’s right… he hit her with the energy storage mojo right at the get go.  Truly hardcore.  That’s how he earned his nick-name, Ron Wyldman Wyden, of course.

But at 61: 35, when he jumps off the top rope and does the BrammoJam on Johnson’s body as she writhes in agony, well folks, that’s Washington at its finest.  He mentions Brammo by name, and pushes hard for answers about what the DOE has done for 2 wheeled electric vehicles.

Oh sure, Johnson has a few moments of pure genius.  For instance, when Wyden smacks her with yet another question about what the DOE is doing to support funding of manufacturers of two-wheeled electric vehicles, and then he goes for the pin, she comes back and nearly knocks him out with a “we’ll get back to you.”

It’s not for the faint of heart, but definitely worth a look if you like to see how your legislators and public servants in Washington are earning their street cred.

Bramscher and Wyden



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Just wrote an email to Secretary Chu

Twelpforce to the rescue…

I posted a tweet to the Twelpforce asking for ideas about how to get the ShockingBarack boys to meet Obama and received a great answer from them:

#twelpforce @brammofan The man you would probably want to talk to (and we’re sure you have) is this gentleman:

Which was a link to the Department of Energy’s website.  Specifically, to the “about Secretary Chu” page.

@Agent3012 of the Twelpforce followed that up with a suggestion:

#twelpforce @brammofan Of course, it wouldn’t hurt if all the Brammo Enertia fans sent emails and letters here:

So, I wrote the following email to the Secretary, whose address is

Dear Secretary Chu:

Two motorcycle riders are headed your way and they would like to meet you.  The riders and their bikes, and for that matter, their journey, deserves your attention, and the attention of your boss, President Barack Obama.
The motorcycles they are riding are Brammo Enertia Powercycles and are 100% electric, powered by lithium iron phosphate battery cells.  The bike’s batteries can be charged by plugging into a standard 110 volt household outlet.
The riders are Brian Wismann, lead designer for Brammo, and Dave Schiff, creative director for the advertising agency of Crispin Porter + Bogusky.
The voyage, which has been chronicled on, has retraced the route the Big Three automobile executives took when they traveled from Detroit to D.C. to ask for a bailout.
ShockingBarack doesn’t want to ask for a bailout, though.  Rather, they want to give the nation a gift: the two powercycles.  These bikes represent a part of a homegrown solution to the nation’s energy crisis.  They don’t depend on foreign oil.  They emit no harmful greenhouse gases from their tailpipes because they don’t have a tailpipe.  If they are charged by electricity generated from a renewable source, they are even emission-free. Additionally, these bikes are covered with hundreds of signatures of U.S. citizens who have pledged their support to the cause.
Could you help them present this gift to our nation?  Could you help them meet the President so they can give the bikes to both of you?
Their journey is coming to an end.  They will be in Washington D.C. any minute, actually.  Next week (October 26), they will be hanging around your town, showing off the bikes and hoping for a meeting.
I hope you can help them.
[My name and address]
What about you?  Do you want to make a difference?


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Electric cars (and motorcycles) really are cleaner

From a great website:, comes this news that’s not too surprising, but worth quoting, nevertheless:

Sorry, critics — electric cars really are greener

Doing a bit of math, the article concludes with this kicker:

Nonetheless, 250 million EVs on the road would mean the country would need a lot of new power plants. With the majority of our power coming from coal, is that really a good idea? Sure, we could just assume we’ll build a bunch of pollution-free solar, wind or nuclear plants, but let’s assume the worst, and all that extra energy comes from coal. Per the EIA, every kWh generated by a coal plant produces two pounds of carbon dioxide. So 600 billion kWh x 2 lbs of CO2/kWh = 1.2 trillion pounds of CO2. Ouch.

Still, is that better than gasoline? The EIA says the U.S. consumed 3.3 billion barrels of gasoline in 2008, or 138 billion gallons. The Environmental Protection Agency says one gallon of gas belches out 20 pounds of CO2. That adds up to about 3 trillion pounds of CO2.

Given that motorcycle emissions are not regulated like automobiles, and that some sources indicate they pump out 16 times the emissions of an SUV, we’d all be better off going electric.


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A New “Buy Your Enertia” Page?

I was pretty sure that Brammofan was able to navigate Brammo’s (somewhat clunky) site with his eyes closed, but I think I just found a new page… or at least a page that contains some new features.  The “Buy Your Enertia” page is live and set up with lots of Flash goodness.

For example, the site has five color options for the bike Powercycle.  Those colors are:

  1. Subliminal Green
  2. Glacial Blue
  3. Sunburnt Orange
  4. White Noise
  5. Graphite Silver

Brammo also gives you the option of picking the standard “black vinyl seat” or, for $200, you can upgrade to the premium seat, described as:

Premium textured black vinyl and charcoal grey synthetic suede combination with accent stitching.  This durable UV and water-resistant material looks great, keeps you planted comfortably  in the saddle, and is washable to retain its distinctive look and feel.

The pricing list includes mention of the Federal Plug-In Tax Credit of $1,199 and includes a link to the Department of Energy page that lists the various state-level tax credits.

The site also has a “monthly payment” calculator with terms listed as “24 months, 0% APR, $4,000 down.” Sweet interest rate.  I’m thinking that Best Buy has something to do with the financing.

Finally, the only accessory currently listed is the “Visionary Jacket,” described as “a high-quality jacket that expresses your unique style, the Visionary Jacket represents the bold spirit of adventure and forward-thinking.”  It’s a bargain at $299.

One of the questions that pops into my mind is whether we’ll soon see some additional colors that we’ve gotten some glimpses of over the preceding months, such as that fuschia bike in May.

And finally, because I simply can’t help myself, who named these colors? Subliminal Green? Maybe they should have called it, “Get it? It’s green, as in ‘save the environment’ green” Glacial Blue? Seems like a set-up for cracks about the top speed, or perhaps they are marketing to the polar bear demographic tired of climbing from ice floe to shrinking ice floe. Sunburnt Orange: because, if we don’t all stop burning fossil fuels, this color will complement your ozone-hole enhanced tan. White Noise, because the bike is quiet and we like to use irony in our color names.  And finally, Graphite Silver. . .  which is the only color name I can’t poke a little fun at.

Still riffing here, (my OCD is kicking in), my color name choices would be:

  1. Lime Tree Green
  2. Bolt from the Blue
  3. Orange Juice
  4. White Lightning
  5. Silver Streak

I missed my calling, apparently.  If you think you can do better, feel free to comment, below.

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A Distant Rumble

Imagine yourself lying in bed with the windows open, listening to the normal sounds of night.  Depending on where you are, you might hear the chirps of crickets, a distant train’s horn, or just the wind rustling the leaves.

This particular night you hear the sound of thunder far away. It rumbles at such a low volume that you have to strain to hear it. Over the course of the next few minutes, you continue to hear it and realize it’s getting closer and that, since you’re awake anyway, you might as well take the opportunity to go around your house and close the windows. You know that it’s just a matter of time before the storm arrives and if you don’t get up now, you’ll be running around the house banging into furniture as you try to shut the windows against the incoming mist of rain.

That moment before you get out of bed, where the distant rumble is just hinting at what is headed your way, that’s where we are today. Electric vehicles, an infrastructure to support them, and a new way of looking at transportation; it’s the storm that will soon be upon us.

You can see the signs of the coming storm every day: the Department of Energy loans millions to three auto companies to accelerate the production of affordable, fuel-efficient vehicles — Ford, Nissan and Tesla. One of the most venerable and historic annual motorcycle races makes room in its schedule for an exhibition race of zero-emission electric motorcycles.

And next month, at the Portland, Oregon Best Buy, they will begin selling the Brammo Enertia, a plug-in electric motorcycle designed and manufactured from the ground up in Ashland, Oregon.

This blog has been busy reporting on Brammo-related events, sometimes releasing three or four articles a day. It might be an article about the results of that historic motorcycle race, the TTXGP, or a link to a video of the Enertia appearing on Good Morning America during its New York City debut. But today has been pretty quiet, so far, and it has allowed me the time to be quiet enough to hear the sound of the approaching storm.

Storms can be deadly, damaging, scary affairs, but this one promises to be the kind of life-giving storm that a parched land seems ready to absorb. We are fortunate to be living at a time when we will witness this change in the rules, when a plug-in vehicle will eventually transform from a curious oddity into something ubiquitous.

It was before my time, but based on a recent book, the present seems a lot like 1959.
1959 was a game-changing year.  The space race began as the Russians launched Luna-1 toward the Moon.   Miles Davis releases “Kind of Blue.”  Frank Lloyd Wright’s radical design for the Guggenheim Museum becomes a reality.  Each of these events laid the foundation for what was to come in space and technology, in music, and in architecture and design.

Today may seem like a quiet news day, but I am trying to use this opportunity to prepare myself for the change that is bearing down on all of us.


Brammo TTR zips past a line of fuel canisters at the TTXGP, the world's first zero-emission motorcycle race, Isle of Man. (Photo courtesy of Amadeus Photography)

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Good news for Brammo from the Department of Energy

Good news for Brammo from the Department of Energy:

(If you can call being labeled “inevitable” as good news)

Energy Secretary Chu:

Electric vehicles “inevitable”


by Sebastian Blanco on Jun 14th 2009 at 11:16AM

The Secretary of the Department of Energy, Steven Chu, gave the commencement address at CalTech on Friday, and electric vehicle advocates could find something to cheer about from his words of advice to the Class of 2009. Plug-in supporter Paul Scott went to the ceremony, and was happy ot hear Chu say that we needed to prepare for the “inevitable transition to electricity as the energy for our personal transportation.” Scott writes:

While most may have missed the importance of this comment, it meant everything to me. Those at the top of the Obama administration understand the need to move from dirty fossil fuels to renewable electricity, and their efforts so far show they are serious.

Chu’s defunding, at the federal level, of the hydrogen fuel cell vehicle means he knows we need to put our efforts toward solutions that are ready now, not some expensive, inefficient technology that requires us to continue buying our energy from oil companies.

via Energy Secretary Chu: electric vehicles “inevitable”.

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