Posts Tagged nathan

Nathan Abbott Video Appeal by Nikki Gordon-Bloomfield

Nikki Gordon-Bloomfield, one of the hosts of the EVCast, has just released this video, requesting contributions from folks who want to help Nathan Abbott and his family.  Nathan’s story is pretty well documented here and more generally,  here.  Nikki’s video is short, to the point, and touching.  Here’s a link to the site where you can contribute to his personal cause.

Thanks, Nikki, for expanding this into the video realm, and let’s all keep hoping for Nathan’s recovery.

hajahhahahhhahahaNikki Gordon-BloomfieldNikki Gordon-Bloomfield



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Latest Brammo Buzz

I’m back from Thanksgiving with my inlaws and my favorite part of the visit was my tour of the Green + Wired House at the Chicago Museum of Science and Industry.  There, tucked in the garage next to the robotic snow blower (I kid you not) was the Brammo Enertia.  Actually, it was the earlier prototype (tan seat, silver ‘tank,’ and black side panels) but an Enertia, nevertheless.  I flipped up the door on the “tank” to reveal the charging plug and was just about to straddle it when Ms.Brammofan reminded me we were at a museum, and would get in trouble, get kicked out, etc.  Still, we always remember our “first” and at least I had those simple moments of EV lust before I was brought back to reality.

Speaking of reality, the reality is that whether it’s an electric motorcycle or a gas-powered one, you’re going to lose in a contest involving occupying the same space at the same time with almost any other vehicle.  Such was the lesson learned by our beloved Nathan, who is currently alive (yea!) and awake ( yea!) but in a lot of pain in a hospital in Portland, Oregon.  He’s still not out of the dark, so keep him in your thoughts and prayers.  If you have some money you’d care to donate to help defray the lodging costs for his mom while she is in Portland, go to: In addition, there are discussions to join in on and . He’s been mentioned on the EVCast (by Chelsea Sexton, no less) and has an article about him in Wired Autopia.

Finally, Craig Bramscher, Brammo CEO, has been touring China for some . . . uh . . . unknown reason, and just sent a tweet earlier today about dining with Jackie Chan.  Yes, “The” Jackie Chan, who also happens to be an owner of JCAM, the company that distributes the Segway throughout Asia.  Anyone read Mandarin?


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Powercycle Diaries, Day Two

Patience is a virtue.

No pictures from the actual road yet, but we do have some pics of his bike, his new best friends at Best Buy, and more evidence that he’s a loose cannon on the gun deck of the U.S.S. Brammo.

Vodpod videos no longer available.

more about “Powercycle Diaries, Day Two“, posted with vodpod

Also, this note on

Yeah, in case you’re wondering, the bike is awesome. Love it. Totally worth the “did someone steal your card?” courtesy call from American Express.



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The Powercycle Diaries

Not Nathan, not an Enertia...and not (legally) possible on the single seater.

Nathan is getting ready to fly to Portland tomorrow to pick up his Brammo Enertia at Best Buy.

He will then start riding it home.  He may even ride it a bit farther.

Home, for Nathan, is Atlanta, Georgia.

Here’s his planned route:

Nathan has called himself a “Brammo Fool” and an “idiot.” Here in Brammofan Central, we’re withholding judgment, (although if anyone wants to get in the betting pool on 1. number of days until voyage ends; 2. number of total miles traveled; or 3. amount of ransom requested by the banditos that capture him in Juarez, please leave your contact information in the comments, below.)

Nathan says that part of the inspiration for his ride was the ShockingBarack trip, from Detroit to Washington, D.C.  Brian Wismann wasn’t available for comment, but I imagine he’s hoping for a “fairy tale ending” to this one.

I will, of course, follow his grand adventures across the nation.  What’s not to love about this story?

T-minus 1.5 days until this little 3800 mile, 300 kilowatt, cross-country electric folly kicks off. 49 degrees & raining in Portland but I couldn’t be more excited. Yeah, water & electricity aren’t BFF but when you think about it, life is a risk… and maybe the greatest risk you run in life isn’t dying, but never making time to be alive. Whatev. It’s not every day you get to ride a 65mph computer across the country. Sh**ty motels, here I come. It’s carpe diem time.


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Questions and Answers Drill Down into Enertia’s Inner Workings

A great discussion is going on at, the discussion forum for electric motorcycles.  Nathan, a soon-to-be-Enertia-owner is flying to Portland to buy an Enertia, and will be driving it home.  His home is in Atlanta, Georgia.  The bike was never designed for trips such as this, but ShockingBarack has apparently called some people to action.  Before his trip, Nathan asked Brian Wismann, Brammo Lead Designer, a few questions.  Brian’s answers (along with Nathan’s questions), below:


Brian Wismann



BrammoBrian 11-14-2009 12:02 PM


Originally Posted by nathanabbott (Post 10416)
Battery pack stats are listed as 3.1kWh @ 76.8 volts. Assuming that’s six 12.8v / 40Ah cells arranged 3 in series x 2 rows parallel?
Any battery upgrades available? 60Ah cells?

The Enertia has six 12.8V/40Ah Valence Lithium Iron Phosphate modules wired in series for a 76.8V/40Ah pack yielding 3.1kWh of capacity. There is no upgrade pack available at the moment, but this is something that Brammo is pursuing for the future. The Enertia features a sophisticated BMS that integrates with our VCU (vehicle control unit) to monitor status and health of the batteries during charge and discharge. An upgrade pack would need to be able to communicate with the BMS and VCU in a compatible way to the current battery pack. That’s not to say it’s not do-able, I’m just trying to explain why it can’t be ready tomorrow.


Originally Posted by nathanabbott (Post 10416)
Does the controller allow the battery to fully discharge or does it maintain minimum/maximum charge limits for the battery pack similar to the Tesla & Chevy Volt? In other words, will it prevent me from shortening the life of the battery or damaging it?

There are multiple protection layers on the battery through the BMS (battery management system), VCU (vehicle control unit), charger, and motor controller. These systems prevent you from overcharging or overdischarging the batteries. There are also several faults codes that will display on the dash if there’s a problem with any one of these systems or parameters. You will have use of 100% of the battery capacity though, unlike many hybrid cars that use only a small portion of the available capacity like the Toyota Prius, although those are NiMH batteries.


Originally Posted by nathanabbott (Post 10416)
What is the battery break-in procedure, how long & what mileage/speed restrictions should I exercise during the break-in period?

I’m not sure exactly what it says in the manual, but I typically count on about a week of commuting type rides to near full discharge and overnight charging to get the batteries nice and balanced. I should admit though that I’m kind of OCD when it comes to this kind of thing. Basically, the balance function of the charger occurs after the bike reaches the 100% SOC (state of charge) level through a low current charge algorithm. It’s draws the equivalent power of a 40W lightbulb during this phase, but the longer you can leave the bike in this state, the better. There is a point when the batteries just aren’t going to be any better balanced, and so this extra time doesn’t help, but at first I like to give it all the time I can afford to. You’ll know your bike is in this balancing state when the SOC on the display is toggling between 99 and 100% every couple of seconds. Also… there’s a secret trick if you want to check the cell balance… if you have your key in the ignition during charging and hold the tank “start” button down for 8 seconds, a more detailed data screen will show up on the dash that indicates current being delivered from the charger as well as minimum and maximum cell voltages. I can show you what else is displayed in this menu when you stop by the factory. To exit this screen, you just hit the tank button again.

Back to the break-in. There are no speed or mileage restrictions. Just know that you’ll not be getting full range out of the bike until you get the batteries conditioned. Keep in mind that you’ll need to bed the brakes in, so leave yourself plenty of stopping distance and try to apply even pressure stopping from multiple speeds. These are Brembo brakes, so they’re great from the start, but in my experience, once the bike hits about 200 miles, they really start working well. Also… as with any motorcycle, you’ll not want to immediately hop on and do a 3200 mile… oh, wait…


Originally Posted by nathanabbott (Post 10416)
What numbers can I monitor from the bike’s instrument cluster?
What other stats & diagnostics are available?
Can I record/monitor them on my PC?
What software is available for my laptop? (If it’s in beta, mind if I QA test it for you?)

The dash displays the following:
– Battery Level (or SOC)
– Ambient Temperature
– Time Clock
– Trip odometer
– Odometer
– Power Percentage (real time display of power usage)
– Range Estimate (Miles traveled/Miles remaining)
– “Geek” screen which displays power in kW and some of the above in text format
– Any system faults or warnings are displayed here as well. For instance… a charger fault would display as “GET SERVICE” with a code on the end that could be referenced in our service manual to determine what’s gone wrong.

We do have a set of diagnostic software that all Best Buy and Brammo technicians are equipped with. They simply connect through the CANbus connector on the back of the dash and can get access to all systems on the bike, upload new firmware, or download historic log data (from the USB disk you mention), and view recorded error or fault flags. At the moment, we don’t have the ability to provide a version of this software to customers, but that is also in the works. Since our iPhone integration kit will make the same systems data available to the iPhone, we were thinking we might include a “diagnostics light” type application within our Brammo app for customers to use.


Originally Posted by nathanabbott (Post 10416)
I understand there’s a USB thumb drive which contains the bike’s default settings. Can I modify those with my PC?
Does the Enertia store riding metrics like mileage, avg speed, battery discharge rate, etc.?

The USB drive records drive data everytime you ride so that a service technician can diagnose a problem if it occurs. If you’re ever having a problem and can’t get the bike to a service center, this logged data is extremely useful for remote diagnosis of a problem. Just pull the drive, zip the files, and email to a service center for review. The recorded data includes battery voltages, current, temperatures, vehicle speed, motor temperature, motor controller temp, motor side current, and a host of other information.

The settings you would want to adjust I assume would be motor controller settings. These settings very much influence the performance and responsiveness of the bike. At the moment, there’s a seperate laptop application required to adjust these settings as the motor controller doesn’t communicate in quite the same way as our other electronics. Eventually, you will be able to adjust these as a customer, but this isn’t available just yet.


Originally Posted by nathanabbott (Post 10416)
Any additional ports besides thumbdrive & power socket?

Not yet. 😉 It would be nice to include a 12V power outlet, but we have to be careful about understanding what people want to plug into it so it doesn’t overwhelm the 12V DC system on the bike and blow fuses.


Originally Posted by nathanabbott (Post 10416)
What sounds does the bike make? Are they customizable?
Can I replace the startup tune with my own sound clip? Like a Chewbacca noise or the intro to Van Halen’s “Hot for Teacher”?

The bike has a “start-up” sound when you hold down the tank button to enable drive mode or charge mode. I’m sure you can hear it in one of the Shocking Barack videos, but I don’t remember which one…

Custom startup sounds are a possibility although they’d have to go through some formatting as the sound gets stored in on-board memory on the VCU. We use an exciter to make the upper body panel surface a speaker for this sound, so not all frequencies sound as nice as others. Chewbacca would probably work though…


Originally Posted by nathanabbott (Post 10416)
Any plans for a “My Brammo” login page that would allow me to sync my bike stats, download firmware upgrades, compete with other owners for “greenest riding skills”, etc?



Originally Posted by nathanabbott (Post 10416)
Best case scenario: assuming flat grade, no wind, 60F @ 190lb rider skilled at “soft pedaling” the battery, what range might be possible at:
55mph?0-30mph time?
0-60mph time?

Ok… Lot’s of hypotheticals here… MY best guess…
25mph = 45-50 miles
35mph = 40-45 miles
45mph = 35-40 miles
50mph = 30-35 miles
55mph = 25-30 miles
60/65mph = 20-25 miles

0-30mph time (with factory settings) = 4 seconds
0-60mph time (with factory settings) = 14 seconds


Originally Posted by nathanabbott (Post 10416)
Regarding general e-bike skills, what techniques would you recommend to conserve battery juice & increase range?

1. Think of the throttle as a rubber band. Stretch it to acclerate and then roll back just a little to maintain a speed. You’ll notice once you get up to the speed you want, you can back off the throttle just a little and maintain that speed.

2. Don’t accelerate hard if you don’t have to. Ease into the throttle if you’re trying to acheive maximum range. Just like extending your gas mileage on a car.

3. Stay off the brakes and maintain momentum. Everytime you jam on the brakes is energy you’re going to have to dump back in to get the bike back up to speed. The bike coasts, so take advantage of it. Roll off the throttle coming up to a stop and allow the bike to coast down rather than running the throttle all the way to the last minute and then yanking on the brakes.

4. Watch the dash and get a feel for what draws the most power. You’ll be surprised how accurately you’re able to judge your range and predict how much further you can go or even pace yourself to draw out the remaining energy to make it to wherever you’re trying to go.


Originally Posted by nathanabbott (Post 10416)
Dry weight of bike? 280lbs was for the prototype, right?
Are headlights/taillights incandescent or halogen?
Are LED lights available as an upgrade or aftermarket?

Dry (and Wet) weight of the bike = 324 lbs.
Headlights/taillights/turnsignals are incandescent.

There are LED taillights and turnsignals available in the aftermarket. I’ve got LED signals on my personal bike from Rizoma (manufacturer).


Originally Posted by nathanabbott (Post 10416)
What accessories are or will be available?
Do you offer Brammo label saddle bags, fairings, etc.?

Yes, Brammo label saddlebags are available. No fairings yet. Photo of saddlebags below…


Originally Posted by nathanabbott (Post 10416)
Warranty?Repair options for folks on the east coast? Can I take it to the Best Buy Geek Squad in my neighborhood?

The following is pulled out of the “Enertia Warranty Policy” booklet that comes with your Enertia seperate from the owners manual. You’ll also have a warranty registration card to fill out with your bike’s VIN and mail in to us. This will allow us to track your bike against the records we have for it here including build information as well as dyno and test ride results. BTW – every bike that’s been built to date goes for a 4-10 mile “shakedown” test before we clear it for sale.

Warranty period is 12 months.

From the booklet:
Brammo warrants the Enertia under the terms of the owner’s manual during the applicable warranty period from any defects in material and workmanship. If any such defect should be found within the applicable warranty period, Brammo has appointed a BASA near you for the servicing of those products and Parts under the manufacturer’s warranty.

No charge for parts or labor.

More detailed information is provided in the booklet, but for the most part it’s a warranty for a vehicle as you’d expect (or at least I would expect).

Now… your question about how you service the bike in Georgia when there’s no BASA “near you” is a tougher question. Clearly, we did not anticipate the bureaucracy required to open stores in other states, so bear with us as we learn that “pioneers take all the arrows”! The answer on this is a little more murky than we’d like it to be, but rest assured that we won’t leave our customers hanging. As evidenced by our responsiveness to our customer in Iowa, we’ll deal with service directly until we can get BBY staff all trained up. We will either get a service tech out to you or call on one of the trained corporate BBY technical staff (rather than store level) to get service facilitated. BTW – the work performed on Hawkeye’s bike is not due to any malfunction, we just wanted him to be updated with the latest and greatest firmware and settings going on to production bikes now. You early customers are our best shot at convincing others to joing the cause. We’re small, and so running a SuperBowl ad isn’t going to be feasible – we’d rather invest in you as our sales force!

We ran this photo in a press release awhile ago, but I figured I’d post it again given the current discussion. Best Buy is fully committed to this thing. Perhaps you’ve encountered a teenaged floor salesperson that you wouldn’t buy an iPhone accessory from much less a motorcycle, but those are not the guys and gals that are being trained to handle PT (personal transportation). These techs are the real deal and most have gone through “boot camp” training at our production facility here in Ashland. These photos are from one of those training programs where they actually built bikes on the line under the guidance of our production staff to familiarize themselves with the components and the bike…

With the additional rebates driving interest in Georgia, it may be that we can open a store there sooner rather than later. You should ride your bike over to your nearest store and lobby them to ask corporate to let them sell and service the bikes!

BrammoBrian 11-14-2009 06:00 PM


Originally Posted by nathanabbott (Post 10448)
Awesome. This is the kind of info that really gives me a chub…So for the inevitable occasion when the rider taps the keg a few miles short of the next exit, I’m wondering if something like this would provide enough juice for “limp mode”:…/rolledAcc.jpg

60watts * 2 panels = 120 watts = 2 extra miles @ 10-15mph?

Saw this under “military applications”. I bet these guys could make a really handy motorcycle cover:…solarField.jpg

Hmmm… doubtful that a small solar panel would help you much, but let’s have some fun with this… Going the full solar panel route, keep in mind that the charge voltage for the battery pack is 86.4V, so you’d have to get a minimum of six of them (as their operating voltage is 15.4V) to stand a chance. Even then, with 6 of the 79″ long version (the Enertia is 80″ long), it’d take you about 24 hours of full sunlight to get a full charge. This would, of course, also require some custom wiring to get the panels connected to the battery pack and some kind of protection circuit to keep from over volting the batteries (BAD) or blowing up the solar panels from backfeed from the batteries (also BAD). A fun experiment or a cool way to recharge in summer with the panels on a garage roof, but I’m not sure it would be practical on the road.

Another crazy option would be to parallel a few of those panels and use them to run an inverter like this……lickid=prod_cs

And then plug our charger directly into the inverter. I’m not sure if our charger could run at this low power (you’d be lucky to pull 200W), but if it did you might be able to make this work. I’m not sure what these inverters require for input power, and you’d probably still be talking about alot of solar panels to drive it.

Maybe somebody else on the forum has done something like this before?…


*EDIT* – I just picked up a 350W inverter from RadioShack on the way home. It’s very small and fit nicely in one of my saddlebags with plenty of room to spare. Not very heavy either (maybe 1.5lbs). I’ll try to charge the bike off this inverter from my car’s 12V outlet. Probably the world’s most inefficient charge ever, but if it works, this could be a nice back-up to have with you in case you get stuck. You could either run it off a car battery and use the car as a generator (yes, yes, I know… very not green!), or you could find a 12V bank of solar cells to provide input to the inverter (which would be the next experiment). I’ll let you know how the test goes…

**EDIT of EDIT** – I should’ve been able to predict this result, but as I plugged the inverter in I knew only one of two things could happen… either there wouldn’t be enough power to even run the charger, or I would blow the fuse in the inverter as the charger attempted to suck upwards of 800W out of it. So… there wasn’t enough power. I’ll have to try a 1000W inverter, but I think these start getting a good bit bigger and heavier. Also… good luck finding a 1000W portable solar panel. Bummer.


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