Posts Tagged Schiff

ShockingBarack, Redux

After months of silence, the ShockingBarack channel on YouTube posted a new video, moments ago.  It does a great job of capturing the excitement and momentum of the story of Brian Wismann of Brammo and Dave Schiff of CP+B traveling from Detroit to Washington, D.C., to try to give a Brammo Enertia to the President.  I’m not sure who decided to resurrect the story, but I’m glad they did:



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Tesla: “2700 mile road trip!” Brammo: “BTDT”

According to Automobile Magazine:

Most automakers at the 2010 Detroit auto show will likely ship their wares in by truck, but not Tesla. The California-based EV company is planning on driving its electric Roadster Sport all the way from Los Angeles to the Motor City, proving the car is capable of long-haul road trips through even the most inclement weather.

The trip will cover some 2700 miles, and Tesla’s employees plan on stopping in (at least) 19 cities along the way. With the respectable — yet limited — 244-mile range of the Roadster, the trip will be broken down into several short segments, and 16 different employees will pilot the car to Detroit. We wish them the best of luck, especially when it comes to charging — plugging a car in may be simple enough, but as the folks at Brammo Motorcycles discovered, finding a free, accessible power outlet may take some cajoling…

Tesla plans on departing Los Angeles on December 17, and hope to arrive in Detroit by January 8 — just in time for the press days. Keep track of all the progress at Tesla’s website.

EV roadtrip? That is SO last October.  One thing is for sure: Tesla will not be able to round up the kind of talent that Brammo had on the ShockingBarack trip:

Enertia, Enertia, and Inertia


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Last, known location of ObamaNertia #1


Enertia, inert

Based on some information in yesterday’s “FearlessQA,” I’ve just pin-pointed the last, known location of the Green Brammo Enertia that got chained up in Washington, D.C.:

Snapshot from the video “We give a bike to President Obama”:


Check out the windows behind Schiff

And this, from Google Maps Street View:


This would be 700 13th Street, N.W., Washington, D.C.

According to Dave Schiff, the bike is safely in the custody of Brammo’s PR company (which happens to have its office at that very address).  It’s awaiting all the formalities to go either to the Department of Energy or . . . ?


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“Battery Agnostic”

Yesterday, Dave Schiff,  Rider #2 from the ShockingBarack trip appeared on “FearlessQA,” a weekly chat moderated by Alex Bogusky of the ad agency, Crispin Porter + Bogusky.


Alex Burnard, Dave Schiff, and Alex Bogusky, on FearlessQA

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.


Burnie flashes the peace sign, just 'cause I twasked.


Schiff does a bit of whoring for a client.

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.


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Enertia in Chains (updated)

The Horror! The Horror!

(See update, below)


Enertia, inert

Say what?  No no no no.  This is not how the story ends.  (If you don’t know how the story has proceeded to this point, do the research, visit the site, because this post is not about how we got here, but rather, where we go. )

There’s even a movie of the atrocity:

But seriously, chained to a post?  This isn’t what is supposed to happen in the last scene of a movie that, up to now, has been filled with highs and lows and humor and poignancy.  Our faithful steed who has been taking us through rain and fields and back roads and parking lots, left on its own, to face some untold danger?  Let’s face it, the untold danger is either going to be a city employee or a thief with a pair of bolt cutters.  The bike will be unceremoniously  hefted into the back of a vehicle, hauled away, and lost forever.

This is just like the time Roy Rogers left Trigger tied to the rail in front of the saloon while he went inside, got drunk, and ended up with a floozy upstairs, while Dale Evans pined away at home.  Then, the sheriff saw Trigger, unattended, and hauled the poor rejected animal off to the glue factory.  Remember?

Or that time right after Timmy got rescued from the well thanks to Lassie’s quick thinking, and then Timmy and his dad drove out into the middle of the desert and left Lassie to fend for herself among the cacti and snakes. Ring a bell?

Okay, for you GenXers: Remember that time when Spongebob was lost and his pet snail, Gary, found him?  And then Spongebob followed Gary all the way back to the Crusty Crab?  Yes!  And then they put Gary in a pot of boiling water and had escargot for dinner?

No?  None of those scenarios ever happened?  But you heard Brian Wismann say: “It’s not the fairy tale ending that we had hoped for, but it’s a real ending.”


Brammofan’s BullSchiff Detector is blinking.  This is not the end, can’t be the end, because of two very simple facts:

1.  Brian Wismann designed the Enertia and would never leave his “baby” chained to a post in the middle of Washington D.C.  (I’m also pretty sure that Dave Schiff wouldn’t do this to a bike that had carried him 700 miles, because, well, he still works for Alex Bogusky and Bogusky wouldn’t put up with a heartless creep… right?)

2. Everyone associated with this project is smart. They all know that leaving the bike there is to leave it in peril and that, not only will it never shock Barack, it will never be seen again.

I predict that this was a diversion.  A “geeze…I’m tired and…oh crap…we gotta get to the airport…hey… I got a funny idea…” type of decision.  Maybe not the best decision to make when you’re road weary and homesick, but I’m willing to cut them some slack.

I predict that “Enertia – Unchained” is just around the corner.  While I don’t require that the bike end up in Mr. Obama’s hands, I do demand my Fairy Tale ending.



From the ElMoto.Net forum, comes this message, posted by Brian Wismann:


Thanks for keeping up with the journey and I appreciate ALL the comments on the “conclusion”. The intent of chaining the bike up was to state emphatically that we’re not giving up. We may not be in DC right now, but the bikes surely are. Also, that is the real letter with the real keys and it did really get mailed by yours truly. Don’t worry, though, the bike will not end up as someone’s trash to clean up. Surely, you’d have a little more faith in us than that?! Keep checking back as we’re working dilligently on a conclusion that would leave us all with a little less bitter taste in our mouths…

Maybe we could’ve passed as Trick-or-treaters?……y-white_house/

Thanks, again!


Never doubted for a minute.  The faithful steeds are safely stowed.  Of course they are.  Now, we’ll just have to be patient.


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Picture of the Day

I’m not sure how successful ShockingBarack was today at the Department of Energy or on Capital Hill, but they just posted this picture and it’s a beauty:


Enertia, Enertia, and Inertia

We’ll have to wait to hear how it went.  One of the last tweets I saw before posting this was in response to the question of whether they would be coming back to Detroit.  They answered:


sorry, won’t be in detroit – we are going to leave the bikes here or something until we meet with Pres obama.

It has a somewhat frustrated edge to it.  Let’s hope that the Brammo Boys’ spirits are not flagging.  At least they made the Associated Press today.


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Are you following ShockingBarack?

Tweets and pics and posts and videos keep flowing in.

Back when these guys left Detroit to begin their voyage, I started my own effort: keeping track of it all.  I’ve tried, but I know a few have fallen through the cracks.  If you have the time, feel free to check my work and add what needs to be added:

The Google Map Collection

The Picasa Photo Collection

Both should be able to be edited, added to, tweaked, etc.  I obviously haven’t taken any of the photos, but most are posted by the ShockingBarack team themselves, so I’m pretty sure you can borrow them to use in your own posts, articles, etc.

I’m home tending to my sick DD8, so I’m having trouble keeping up with it all, especially given the increased pace in the last couple of days.

And if you haven’t gone to and signed your name, shame on you!  I did.

Brian Wismann adds my name to the Enertia

Brian Wismann adds my name to the Enertia


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