Posts Tagged Rick Rommel

In Illinois? Want a Brammo? Get Best Buy on it.

Brammofan is on the Tax Incentive Warpath.  We’ve looked at Colorado, California, and, just yesterday, Oklahoma.

Today, it’s Illinois’ turn.

Disclaimer: Don’t get your tax or other financial advice from anyone whose online name ends in -fan.  This means: do your own homework on this purchase.  I’m just trying to get you to think.

Before we begin, close your eyes and imagine walking into your favorite Chicagoland Best Buy.  The doors open, beckoning you inside.  To your left is Stu, the burly guy who normally checks your receipt as you leave.  As you enter, he also would put a magic sticker on the laptop you were bringing to Fred, the Geek Squad guy, for him to repair and copy the hidden porn directory onto his thumb drive.  Stu sizes you up as you enter and sees you have no merchandise in your hands.  He notices that you are looking straight ahead.  He sees your eyes focus on the display in the front of the store: Electric Vehicles at Best Buy.  Specifically, he sees the look of ecstasy as you spy this:

Now, open your eyes.

You’ve gotten a glimpse at the future in Illinois, but I have no idea when that future will become our reality.  Until it does, none of the tax incentive information I’m about to share will apply to the Enertia.  Why?  Read on, and all will be revealed.

Illinois has a great program called the “Alternate Fuels Rebate Program” that states:

Vehicle Rebate applies to the incremental cost of an alternate fuel vehicle purchased from a dealership or similar vendor as compared to the cost of its gasoline or diesel counterpart.  The vehicle must be purchased from an Illinois dealership or similar company doing business in Illinois.

The amount of the Vehicle Rebate is for 80% of the incremental cost of the alternate fuel vehicle versus the same type of gasoline or diesel vehicle, up to $4,000.

Translation:  If you buy an Enertia from an Illinois dealership or similar company, you should qualify for a rebate for 80% of the difference in cost between the Enertia and “the same type of gasoline or diesel vehicle.”

Brammo has claimed, fairly consistently, that the Enertia is comparable to a 250cc internal combustion engine (ICE) motorcycle.  For instance, the Ninja 250R has a suggested retail price of $4300 – $4500.  The “incremental” cost of the Enertia would be $7995 – $4300 = $3695.  In other words, an Enertia buyer is paying a $3695 premium to get an electric motorcycle, rather than a comparably-powerful ICE motorcycle.

The rebate would equal 80% of $3695, or $2956.  The Federal tax credit is $799.  7995 – 2956 – 799 = $4240.

So the out-of-pocket on the retail price of the Enertia would be $4240 . . . PROVIDED, however, that you bought it from an “Illinois dealership or similar company.”  So far, no such dealerships exist in Illinois.

There are plans to roll out the Enertia to select Best Buy stores in Illinois.  Those plans are dependent upon powerful Best Buy people who wear ties almost every day,  like Kai Patel, the Executive Vice President of Emerging Business, and Rick Rommell, the Senior Vice President of Emerging Business. Because I’m certain they read my blog each day, I’ll ask them to reply in the comments to the question, “When will the Enertia be sold in Illinois Best Buy stores?”

Just to sprinkle a little rain on your happy thoughts of the future, I want to remind you that certain taxes and fees may apply to your Brammo Enertia purchase in future-Chicago.  For example, Illinois has a 7.25% sales tax on items to be titled or registered, but if you lived in Chicago, you’d end up paying about 8.5% in sales tax. That would add about $680 onto the cost.  In 2009, the Federal stimulus bill allowed you to take an income tax credit for your sales tax on vehicles purchased that year, but this law has lapsed.  I don’t know about fees such as registration/title/license fees that might be charged, but you should consider that.  Also, you’ll have to insure your Enertia, buy a great helmet, protective hear, a hefty stick to beat off admirers, and electricity.



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Time to Roll ’em out?

Not news: Brammo and Best Buy are Buddies.  We’ve known that since September 2008, when Brammo raised a $10 million round from Best Buy Venture Capital.

Not news: Brammo and Best Buy are serious about being Buddies: We’ve known this since February 2009, when Brammo announced that its electric motorcycle, the Brammo Enertia, would be sold at select Best Buy stores on the West Coast.  And the pair sealed the deal when the bikes finally went on sale in Portland, Oregon (August 2009) and Los Angeles (October 2009) and San Francisco (November 2009).

Now, where is the news?  Where is the news about the roll out of the Brammo Enertia to other Best Buy stores across the country?  Now that Christmas is over and Best Buy can once again move its displays around to accommodate the Enertia and other electric vehicles/bikes, when will we see this vignette played in Chicago?  New York? Texas? Florida? Kansas City?

Enertia on floor for 30 seconds for a photo op, and it captures the attention of genuine Biker dude

Brammo fans have been asking for this to be rolled out to their cities for months now.

What are you guys waiting for?


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Geek Squad – Now Less Skeevy, More EV

What do you do if your brand new Brammo Enertia Powercycle needs servicing?

Easy answer: Drive it to the nearest Best Buy that has Brammo-certified technicians.  So far, that’s only in Los Angeles, San Francisco and Portland, but soon enough, even the Best Buy in Coralville, Iowa will have someone to take care of you.  (Sorry, Hawkeye… I don’t know the definition of “soon enough” but be patient. )

Cooler answer: Call your local Best Buy (as long as you live in one of the cities soon to be announced) and the Geek Squad will come to you in one of these:

Mitsubishi all-electric i-MiEV

According to AutoBlogGreen:

The electronics giant will start using them in January (after they’re shown off at CES) at some Geek Squad locations in California. Details have not yet been totally worked out, but the Geek EVs will start with a fleet of four vehicles and will then expand and rotate to other stores over the course of three years. Most likely, the i-MiEVs will be doled out in pairs and the probable early cities where these vehicles will make house calls include Chicago, New York, Portland, and San Francisco.

Best Buy plans to use the i-MiEVs just like any other fleet car, with the exception that they will be right-hand drive. Best Buy’s Senior Vice President of emerging business, Rick Rommel, told AutoblogGreen that the idea is to learn, “How these will fit into a Geek’s daily life.” The plug-in vehicle tests with Geek Squad is unrelated to how select West Coast Best Buy stores are selling electric bikes. That said, Rommel admits that the key thing is that Best Buy likes to conduct new experiments, and these EVs fit into that general concept.

You might not want the guy poking around your PC, but the techs that are Brammo-Certified are like Geeks on steroids.  They’ve been to the Ashland, Oregon headquarters of Brammo and, besides learning all about the bikes, have actually participated in the assembly of one from the ground up.  And no, they can’t download the Enertia’s GPS tracker data to find which “Gentlemen’s Club” you’ve been frequenting… for two reasons: 1)the bike does not have a GPS tracker, and 2) Dude… you’re riding an Enertia.  No need to pay for female attention — it comes standard.


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Equality Now! urges Brammo CEO

This just off the wire:

Brammo Advances Progress for Electric Vehicle Equality

Electric vehicle equality message gains audience with The White House
and key members of Congress ASHLAND, Ore., Nov. 3

ASHLAND, Ore., Nov. 3 /PRNewswire/ — On the heels of a wildly successful grassroots journey, Brammo, maker of plug-in electric motorcycles, is urging the United States government to grant equality in federal funding for all electric vehicle (EV) manufacturers. Currently, most federal funding has been limited to companies producing EVs with four wheels.

To press this case, Brammo’s Founder and CEO, Craig Bramscher, met with members of Congress last week and with Energy Secretary Dr. Steven Chu at the Clean Energy Economy Forum hosted by The White House. The meetings were part of an effort to present policymakers Brammo’s commercially-available emissions-free motorcycle at a time when the government is looking for clean transportation solutions.

“We want to thank The White House and Congress for their support of clean transportation policy to date,” said Bramscher. “Most of the funding, however, continues to go to companies that lag in innovation. Meanwhile, the Brammo Enertia powercycle is available online and at select Best Buy stores today despite federal discrimination for two-wheeled vehicles. We plan to fight for funding equality for our promising industry.”

Best Buy senior vice president of Emerging Business Rick Rommel, who accompanied Bramscher to The White House said, “Best Buy is committed to supporting customer adoption of clean energy technologies by making it convenient for them to learn about and see these exciting alternatives within our stores. We appreciated this opportunity to share our perspective with leaders in Washington, and look forward to a continuing dialogue.”

The U.S. House of Representatives unanimously passed an Amendment to the Advanced Vehicle Technology Act giving two-wheel electric vehicle manufacturers access to Department of Energy funding for further development of electric vehicles. It is expected that similar legislation will be introduced in the Senate, and, if passed, will help accelerate the emergence of electric vehicles as a clean energy transportation option, without favoring four-wheeled vehicles over two- and three-wheeled vehicles.

Brammo’s grassroots journey, titled Shocking Barack, involved two Brammo Enertia riders who followed the same route from Detroit to Washington, DC that was taken last December by the Big Three auto executives as they asked Congress for a bailout. The goal of the Shocking Barack voyage was to present President Obama a homegrown solution to the country’s transportation crisis. The tour, which continues to attract a vocal crowd at Twitter, will be transitioned into a campaign to call for equality in federal finding.

Even with limited federal support, Oregon based Brammo has grown from 12 employees to more than 50 in last year with much of the growth in high tech positions.

To learn more about Brammo’s efforts and its business, please visit for more information.

About Brammo
Brammo ( is a premier specialty vehicle manufacturer developing sustainable performance products for the next generation of transportation. Through integration of digital engineering and high impact design, Brammo transforms ideas into compelling products. Located in Ashland, Oregon the company was founded in 2002 and is privately held.



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Slideshow from Enertia Day – California

These are some pictures from Saturday’s big launch of the Brammo Enertia at the El Segundo Best Buy. I nabbed some of the pics from someone’s twitter feed and forgot who they came from. If they’re yours, let me know in the comments.

Vodpod videos no longer available.


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Who Sat on the Electric Bike?

Chelsea Sexton

Chelsea Sexton

After much anticipation, I finally found a picture of Chelsea Sexton on a Brammo Enertia, from this weekend’s EV Party at Best Buy #1011 in El Segundo, California.

For those just tuning into Brammofan’s Channel, and for those not familiar with Ms. Sexton, here’s a primer, (via the “Matter Network“):

Sexton, who first gained public notoriety in Chris Paine’s 2006 documentary, ‘Who Killed the Electric Car,” is the co-founder of Plug In America and is now leading The Lightning Rod Foundation. She has long been a outspoken advocate for electric vehicles ever since the days she worked for General Motors as an EV1 specialist whose job was to assist customers who leased the short-lived, two-seat electric car. She helped lead efforts to keep the car from being recalled and crushed, an exercise that ultimately failed, but not before bringing public attention to the fate of these innovative machines.

Back to the picture.

You might just see a random strawberry blonde sitting on a motorcycle.  Or if you look closer, you just might see:

  • A powerful EV advocate sitting on a motorcycle identical to one that happens to be, at this very moment, cruising the streets of Washington D.C., preparing to be presented to President Obama as part of the answer to America’s energy crisis.

And you might just see a flesh-colored blur in the bottom of the frame.  Or if you look closer, you just might see:

  • the index finger of the photographer, Rick Rommel, the Senior Vice President of Emerging Business, Best Buy.

So, if you used your imagination, you just might see the junction of one of the first mass-produced two wheeled EVs, the symbol of EV advocacy, and the force that’s bringing EVs to the masses, all wrapped up inside a glossy 8 x 10.  Oh, you might see some irony in the “No Idling Allowed” sign behind her, because none of the elements of this photograph have been or plan to be idling in the near future.

The Week Ahead

How do you follow a week that ended with the culmination of the ShockingBarack trip in Washington, D.C., and the launch of the Brammo Enertia in Best Buy stores in California?  Coming up this week, it looks like the big story is going to be, “Will the Brammo Boys meet the President and give him the bikes?”  I’ll be covering that, of course, along with posting noteworthy pictures and stories from last week, and a bit of a special feature on another member of the ShockingBarack crew.  Stay tuned.

More information on Sexton can be found in a great book I happen to be reading right now, “Plug-in Hybrids: The Cars that will save America” by Sherry Boschert.


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Delay – the Albatross of the EV

I’ve written before on the subject of delay in the EV industry:

Buzz Building on Brammo at Best Buy

Q. More Blue than Brammo Fans? A. EEStor Fans

Breaking: One Reason for Enertia-Day Delay

Red Tape may be biggest challenge for Brammo and Best Buy

apteraAccording to this article from, it looks like Aptera fans are facing similar news.   John Voelker, the Editor-in-chief of this essential industry blog said, after spending about three hours at Aptera:

Paying customers will take delivery of their 2e production vehicles starting in the third or fourth quarters of next year, meaning July 1 or later.

UPDATE: This paragraph has since been edited out of the article on  Divine from that what you will.

No doubt that the collective groan from the Aptera Forum is a familiar sound to EV fans everywhere.  For example, Enertia fans in California who may be waiting for the bike to appear at Los Angeles area Best Buy stores have been told that October (make that late-October) is the target date for now. While my opinion is that it’s definitely worth the wait, I’d advise against holding your breath.

Chelsea Sexton, Goddess of Gigawatts

Chelsea Sexton, Goddess of Gigawatts

Interesting developments may emerge from a meeting today in California between Best Buy video-stars (from last week’s video, “Electric Vehicles at Best Buy“) Rick Rommel and Kai Patel and (say it with reverence) Chelsea Sexton, who is meeting with Brammo’s Channel Development Director, Adrian Stewart. (UPDATE: Ms. Sexton wasn’t there, but sent everyone a copy of “Who Killed the Electric Car?”  I guess my copy is still in the mail.  Sigh.) Oh sure, they’re probably talking about Best Buy’s new push to recycle old electronics but perhaps they’ll also tackle the EXCITING subject of ZONING, which has been one of the unexpected impediments which needed to be addressed before Best Buy can start selling and servicing the Enertia.  (see “red tape” link, above, for more on this edge-of-your-seat issue.)

(What the heck is “Channel Development” anyway?  I, for one, believe it has something to do with who gets to handle the remote control while you watch “Dancing with the Former Senators.”   Perhaps Mr. Stewart will chime in.AdrianStewart-160x240 By the way, Tom Delay is NOT the Delay I was referring to in the title of this post.)


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