Brammo Production Gets Underway in Europe

June 28, 2011 at 7:42 pm

ASHLAND, OR, June 28th 2011.— Brammo Inc., a global leader in the electric motorcycle industry, is proud to announce that production of its award-winning motorcycles is now under way at the Flextronics production facility in Sàrvàr, Hungary.

The newest Brammo production line is capable of producing 660 motorcycles a month and will initially produce the Brammo Enertia and Enertia Plus for North American, European and Asian customers.

Craig Bramscher, CEO and Founder of Brammo said; “Now that our new facility has begun production, we have a significant number of customer and fleet orders that we will be fulfilling this year.” Bramscher added; “It’s been a very satisfying year with customer orders, new dealers and now production all gaining momentum much faster than anticipated.”

The Brammo production facility in Sàrvàr is almost certainly the most advanced electric motorcycle assembly line in the world and it sets new standards for quality and efficiency. Brammo’s focus on designing for commercialization and quality ensures that its award-winning motorcycles are extremely reliable and can be serviced quickly and easily by skilled motorcycle technicians.

Brian Wismann, Director of Product Development at Brammo Inc., said; “After 8 months of solid, concerted effort on both sides we have reached this milestone, and I couldn’t be more proud of the team. We have been extremely impressed with how much Flextronics brings to the table in the way of manufacturing and quality processes owing to their vast experience as a Tier 1 automotive supplier and contract manufacturer. This partnership gives Brammo the ability to scale production and access global markets and the benefit of strengthening its reputation as the builder of the world’s finest electric motorcycles.”

Brammo Production

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Pixar’s Cars 2 Has Eco-Friendly Message

June 27, 2011 at 10:49 pm

Even the animated world of Lightning McQueen and Mater the tow truck is testing energy sources to replace fossil fuels.

“Cars 2,” the weekend’s No. 1 film, taps into today’s eco-mindedness. The sequel to 2006’s “Cars” sends race car Lightning (voiced by Owen Wilson) on a World Grand Prix circuit whose organizer fuels the vehicles with an alternative called Allinol, prompting bad guys to try to discredit the power supply that threatens traditional gasoline.

That lands Lightning’s goofy, lovable pal Mater (Larry the Cable Guy) in the middle of a spy caper. Eddie Izzard provides the voice of ex-oil baron Miles Axelrod, once a gas-guzzler who has converted himself into an electric vehicle and pushes the clean-fuel alternative lifestyle.

Pixar Animation mastermind John Lasseter says the idea developed as he and his Pixar pit crew looked for ways to “car-ify” our world into one inhabited by talking automobiles.

“We don’t make message movies,” Lasseter said. “We weave things in that are going on, that you’re familiar with in the world, and kind of bring it into our stories.”

While the $68 million opening of “Cars 2” led all other movies over the weekend, it was well below the Pixar record of $110.3 million for last year’s “Toy Story 3.”

Disney-owned Pixar has flirted with ecological themes before. The 2008 robot romance “WALL-E” was a cautionary tale about pollution as the last robot on Earth toiled to clean up the mess we’d made of the planet after humans fled to the stars.

The buddy comedy “Monsters, Inc.” (2001) had a realm of scary beasts mired in an energy crisis until they switch to a more benign fuel source — the laughter of children, rather than screams of terror.

Source:  AP

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Oregon, Washington EV drivers among first to get AAA rapid-charging roadside help

June 23, 2011 at 10:40 pm

The AAA has just declared war on range anxiety.

America’s largest automotive emergency services provider announced today that it plans to deploy electric-vehicle rapid charging units in its roadside assistance trucks in the Northwest starting in August.

Range anxiety — the worry that motorists feel about possibly draining their power supply on the road — is considered the most common barrier to motorists buying electric cars.

As automakers continue to look at new EV technologies to extend battery life and transportation officials move toward creating a network of charging stations, AAA said it “has a fully functioning electric-vehicle mobile charging unit ready to deploy into its roadside assistance operations.”

Unfortunately, that sounds a lot like Darth Vader announcing that the Death Star is “a fully armed and operational battle station” before blowing up a planet.

Get beyond the corporate PR-speak, and this is a positive thing for EV drivers in Oregon, Washington, California and a few other states where the rapid-charging unites will be tested starting in August.

Now, to get really geeky.

The 109-year-old AAA says it has always adapted to new automobile technologies.

“That continues today as we ready AAA’s emergency road service operations to address the emerging electric vehicle market,” said John Nielsen, AAA National Director of Auto Repair, Buying Services and Consumer Information.

Nielsen said AAA will deploy Level 2 and Level 3 mobile charging units.

Let’s hope there are Level 3 units, which can charge an EV battery in a matter of minutes. A Level 2 unit can take a couple hours.


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Electric Vehicles: Federal Funding and Bi-Partisan Support

June 22, 2011 at 5:38 pm

Advocates of electric vehicles are found throughout our political spectrum from environmentalists seeking to address climate change issues to national security analysts endorsing a reduction in the import of foreign oil. Whether the motivation is the environment or national security, one of the most noteworthy accomplishments of the burgeoning electric vehicle industry is its ability to transcend traditional, partisan lines. This cooperation is on display in two bills currently working their way through the U.S. House of Representatives and the Senate. House Resolution 1685,titled the Electric Drive Vehicles Deployment Act of 2011, is currently being reviewed by the House Subcommittee on Highways and Transit. The Senate version – bill 948 titled the Promoting Electric Vehicles Act of 2011 – is also mired in review, in the Committee on Energy and Natural Resources. Commonalities exist between the two bills including, most significantly, bipartisan support that bodes well for the future of the electric vehicle industry.

The House bill, sponsored by Illinois Republican Judy Biggert and co-sponsored by four Democrats, would provide up to 10 communities with $300M each – for a total investment of $3B – to prepare and stimulate the widespread adoption of electric vehicles in their communities. This federal money would be available to any community willing to compete for the funds during the application process.

The Senate bill, sponsored by Republicans Lamar Alexander and Roy Blunt and Democrats Jeff Merkley and Debbie Anne Stabenow, allocates $2B to electric vehicle early adopter communities. This bill doesn’t limit the number of participating communities but simply caps the amount of funds able to be allocated to a single community at $250M.

The bills differ in details such as state and local subsidy requirements for electric vehicles, the amount of funds earmarked for technical research, capital for workforce training and money for local manufacturing of electric vehicle replacement parts. It appears the two bills were designed for consolidation if both passed their respective chambers. This would allow an opportunity to address these differences.

It’s not surprising that Senators Merkley and Alexander are working together on this issue – they introduced asimilar bill last year that was defeated in a committee vote. Yet, a surprising and encouraging appreciation for electric vehicles is increasing in the federal government beyond this duo due to a confluence of trends. Rising and unpredictable gas prices, the BP oil disaster on the Gulf Coast and political instability in oil-producing nations all contribute to a rising, bipartisan awareness that the time to address our nation’s reliance on foreign oil is upon us.

As stated recently by the chair of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, the impacts of climate change are becoming increasingly apparent and immediate. Climate change is no longer a future concern and it’s increasingly clear that developing a electrified transportation infrastructure that relies less on oil and more on renewable energy will help us address this issue. Yet, the environment isn’t the only driver for electric vehicles. The economic impact of importing oil provides additional motivation. According to Senator Merkley’s office, in March 2011 our nation’s oil imports totaled $39.3B for that month alone – an 18% increase from the prior month and a total that represented 65% of the trade deficit for the month.

The reality is our nation’s dependence on oil imports is a problem with decades of precedence. Every four or eight years, a president gives a rousing speech detailing his plan to rectify this problem that results in not much quantifiable progress. Yet, an opportunity exists given the improving state of battery technology, the increasing commitment to electric vehicles by auto manufacturers and a growing deployment of charging infrastructure. The bills working their way through the House and Senate have the potential to significantly address our nation’s most pressing environmental and national security problem. The opportunity to restore faith in our nation’s ability to work together to address our most intractable problems, in these turbulent times, might be just as significant.


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Electric Car Myths and Realities

June 20, 2011 at 7:26 pm

Think electric cars are little more than glorified golf carts that offer little in terms of performance or occupant protection? The Copper Development Association in New York, of all sources, debunks those and other myths for the benefit of those who may be considering an EV in the coming months and years. (FYI: Copper is a key resource for both the electric car and the infrastructure that makes them run.)  Some of their “realities” could be argued, but overall they’re on the mark:

1. EVs are too small to be safe.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration awarded the Chevy Volt a five-star safety rating under its new, more rigorous testing system, while the European New Car Assessment Program awarded the Nissan Leaf a five-star overall crash rating, its highest safety score. What’s more, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety recently awarded both the Leaf and Volt its highest safety ratings. While the IIHS classifies the Leaf and Volt as small cars due to their dimensions, their battery weight places them in the midsize and larger-car range; all else equal a heavier car will fare better in a cash than a lighter one.

2. EVs don’t have enough range. You can’t travel very far before running out of electricity.

Americans drive an average of 40 miles a day, according to the U.S. Department of Transportation. Most pure electric vehicles can travel twice that range. According to Nissan, the Leaf will travel 100 miles before it needs recharging. The Chevy Volt has a range of 35 miles on a battery charge and then the gasoline-powered generator kicks in for re-charging, which could extend the range to about 375 miles.

3. EVs will not limit greenhouse gas emissions.

Electric motors convert 75 percent of the chemical energy from the batteries to power the wheels – internal combustion engines (ICEs) only convert 20 percent of the energy stored in gasoline. EVs emit no tailpipe pollutants. Though some argue the power plants that produce the electricity emit pollutants, utilities are required by law to control them. In fact, there’s more control over these pollutants than in gasoline-powered cars that put out tail-pipe emissions. Electricity from nuclear-, hydro-, solar- or wind-powered plants causes no air pollutants.

4. EVs won’t reduce the U.S. dependence on foreign oil.

Today, over half of the oil we use is imported (57 percent), and our dependence will increase as we use up domestic resources. Most of the world’s oil reserves are concentrated in the Middle East, with about two-thirds controlled by OPEC members. Oil price shocks and price manipulation by OPEC have cost our economy dearly – about $1.9 trillion from 2004 to 2008 – and each major shock was followed by a recession. We may never eliminate our need to import oil, but we can reduce cartel market control and the economic impact of price shocks by reducing our demand.

5. EVs won’t be able to charge and operate without a fully established infrastructure.

Most charging will be done at home or at work, so there’s no prerequisite for a public charging infrastructure. Yet more U.S. cities are working on establishing charging infrastructures. Ford Motor Co. recently named the top 25 cities that are stepping up their EV preparations and infrastructure.

6. EVs drive like golf carts and are unreliable.

Early EVs produced in the university setting were smaller and weighed less than their current counterparts. Today’s EVs can keep up with anything on the road. In addition, EVs require no oil changes or tune-ups. There are 10 times fewer moving parts than a gasoline-powered car. There’s no engine, transmission, spark plugs, valves, fuel tank, tailpipe, distributor, starter, clutch, muffler or catalytic converter. Electric vehicles produce almost instant torque, which creates immediate acceleration. When the driver of an EV pushes down on the accelerator pedal, the transition from stationary to speed is almost instantaneous.


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Why Portland, Oregon is a Leader in EVs

June 19, 2011 at 2:52 pm

Last year, BMW reported that one of the major roadblocks to putting more electric vehicles on the road was the hodgepodge of local zoning and construction regulations. Before BMW could begin its real-world test of the Mini E electric car, the company had to get city inspectors to approve putting vehicle charging stations into folks’ garages. In some municipalities, inspectors said no. They hadn’t seen chargers before, or the initial chargers didn’t have the Underwriters Laboratories seal of approval.

Even today, all buyers of a Nissan Leaf or Chevrolet Volt have to get their local inspectors to approve putting in that charger. Nissan won’t even sell you a car unless you have a charger. Getting all those inspectors up to speed on whether to approve a charging station is a city-by-town-by-village process.

But not in Portland, Ore.

Portland is a leader in electric vehicles. It was one of the selected first markets for the Leaf and Volt. Almost every other automaker — major and startup — that makes an EV also is there.

Portland General Electric, the local utility, has a charging station out front of its downtown headquarters. Some days, there’s even congestion as electric cars line up for their chance to be recharged, I’m told by Charlie Allcock.

Allcock is director of economic development at Portland General Electric. He’s also one of the Automotive News Electrifying 100, our list of leaders in the electrification of vehicles.

As he explains it, for reasons that predate the modern EV, all of Oregon has a single building code.

In addition, contractors in Portland can go down to city hall and get a book of approval forms. When they wire a house or whatever, they can self-certify that they’ve done the work properly, and file the form with the city. The city can do a spot inspection of any work, but it does not send an inspector to every house and garage.

In business, companies try to learn and emulate best practices from each other. Maybe other government entities could look at the Portland experience and learn a thing or two
Read more:

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Brammo at GE Energy Day!

June 16, 2011 at 11:31 pm

The GE Energy Center on East Cobb hosted EV Day on Monday to educate consumers and dealerships about the newest innovations in Electric Vehicles.

This event gave everyone interested a chance to meet the EV experts, learn more about EV’s and even take an EV of your choice for s spin on a demo track set up on their parking garage roof top.

Several new models were available for demos, and boothes were set up displaying the newest electric car parts and charging systems.


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Battery Power Gives Deliverymen a Boost, at a Cost

June 14, 2011 at 8:16 pm

It’s almost impossible to walk a block or two in Manhattan and not spy a Chinese-food deliveryman on a bicycle.

For years, the tool of the trade was an inexpensive mountain bike, usually banged-up and grimy and trimmed with large wire baskets. But a new type of vehicle has emerged in the world of Chinese-food delivery: the electric bike.

The battery-powered bikes — which can travel faster than a pedal-powered bike and, let’s not forget, don’t need to be pedaled — are revolutionizing the trade of delivering Chinese food in Manhattan by extending the range for restaurants and speeding up the service.

The bikes have brought a small measure of ease to a profession that is virtually cornered by poor Chinese immigrants.

But the electric bikes have also caused problems: they are illegal to use on city streets, and their proliferation has led to controversy about how to regulate them.

Deliverymen say they have received an increasing number of tickets in recent months for riding the electric bikes. Many deliverymen are using plastic bags to obscure the electric mechanism that runs along the frame tube that extends down from the seat in hope of avoiding the police.

“It’s unfair — these bikes allow us to do what we do,” said Jihui Zhang, 42, who delivers food for Szechuan Gourmet restaurant on West 39th Street in Manhattan.

Mr. Zhang said that he and scores of fellow deliverymen he knows had received summons for using electric bikes.

The bikes cost around $1,000 and deliverymen often save up for months to buy them, especially because many restaurants give preference when hiring to deliverymen who own them, Mr. Zhang said.

The bikes generally travel up to 20 miles per hour and have batteries that last about four hours. Many deliverymen carry additional batteries with them.

Mr. Zhang said his electric bike, which he bought three years ago, allows him to make deliveries up to 80 blocks away. He said he obeyed the rules of the road but has still been ticketed simply for using the bike. Unable to speak adequate English, he said he would be unable to pass the test to operate a motorcycle.

Many owners expect employees to regularly make deliveries more than 20 blocks away, said one deliveryman. “There’s no way to do this without an electric bike,” said the deliveryman, who would only give his surname, Jian, because he said he was still waiting for his green card. “The job requires it. When we look for work, most delivery jobs are for electric bikes.”

Nancy Yang, a manager at the Lan Sheng restaurant on West 39th Street, said that the electric-bike deliveries were speedier, and helped keep customers. “Electric bikes go faster and farther,” she said. “If the food isn’t there fast enough, customers will complain.”

The fine for operating an electric bike on city streets is $65 and it is adjudicated through the city’s Parking Violations Bureau, much like a parking ticket, said Paul J. Browne, the chief spokesman for the New York Police Department.

The bikes cannot be legally registered in New York because many do not meet federal motor vehicle standards.

As to why, if they are illegal, there are still so many of them on city streets, Mr. Browne said more pressing crime issues take precedence.

“There are only so many police officers to witness the violations and respond to them,” he said.

The State Legislature is considering a bill that would allow certain electric bikes — ones with a top speed of 20 miles per hour and using no more than 750 watts of power — to essentially have the same legal status as bicycles, said Graham Parker, a spokesman for State Senator Martin Malavé Dilan, a Democrat from Brooklyn who is a sponsor of the bill.

Electric bikes have also become popular with people seeking an affordable solution to higher gas prices. But they are most vital for deliveryman, a largely invisible population who tend to work long hours with low pay and no benefits.

Kevin Fu, who owns Electric Bikes, a store on Hester Street in Chinatown in Manhattan, sells and repairs the bikes, serving mostly Chinese immigrants. He said he knew little about the laws but simply tells customers to obey the rules of the road. Electric bikes that have a restaurant’s name seem to elicit greater leniency from the police compared with one ridden by a recreational user, he said.

Mr. Zhang said he was stopped recently by an officer at a red light. He could not understand the officer so he showed him a business card from the restaurant he works for. He was issued a summons but it was dismissed when the officer did not appear at a hearing, Mr. Zhang said.

Mr. Zhang, who lives with three roommates in an apartment in Flushing, said he worked six days a week and earned $50 to $90 for a 12-hour day.

He said he has been working as a deliveryman for the five years since he moved to New York City from China where he was a factory worker with a wife and child. He is saving to bring them to New York to join him, which he estimates may cost $8,000.

After two years of long hours pedaling a delivery bike, he started having problems with his knees and ankles, he said, but now the electric bike has helped him continue working, he said.

He said he is here legally, but many riders who are not worry that a police stop will put them at risk of being turned over to federal immigration officials.

“Everyone has this fear, this pressure, that they could get in trouble,” he said. “We know these bikes are illegal.’’


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Charging Your EV In Barcelona

June 13, 2011 at 9:49 pm

Click here to view a video!

Motorcycles and scooters are about twice as fuel efficient as cars, but the price for low fuel consumption: they are about 10 times more polluting per mile than a car. So to improve air quality in a city like Barcelona- which often exceeds EU limits for air pollution- its 280,000 motorbikes are a good place to start.

A company named Mobecpoint has started installing charging stations (using only renewable energy) throughout Barcelona.  These charging stations are not just simple sockets, but a unique charging system that is both modular– charging stations can host from 6 to 25 EVs (both motorbikes and cars)– as well as, smart. System software helps electric motorcycle and scooter owners locate the nearest plug-in spot via smartphone, reserve a spot and once their EV is charged up, it even notifies them with a message to their phone.

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Why Electric Vehicles Love L.A.

June 9, 2011 at 7:01 pm

Here are the top reasons why this L.A. marriage will last longer than most:

Air quality: The City is out of compliance with the federal Clean Air Act and cleaning up transportation is one of the most cost-effective methods of reducing the negative impact of carbon emissions on health.

Commuting pattern: The majority of L.A.-area drivers (70 percent) have a commute of 30 miles or less, so even battery-electric vehicles (BEVs) have more than enough range to get drivers to and from work on a single charge. Because so much of that time is spent in stop-and-go or stop-and-stay-stopped traffic, the financial savings from using PEVs that shut off when the vehicle would have been idling are maximized. During a typical 8-mile 40-minute commute, PEV drivers would be spending pennies for power instead of dollars on gas.

Vehicle ownership: According to a survey of Angelinos by the Luskin Center for Innovation at UCLA, 60 percent of residents already have two or more cars, so using a PEV or BEV as a commuting car while having an ICE vehicle for the long trips does not require a huge shift in behavior. The city also has a very high ownership rate of hybrid vehicles and consumers who have experience with vehicle electrification are more likely to move up to a PEV.

Driving culture: L.A. folks love their cars and many of them would not likely switch to public transit even if the meager system currently in place were significantly expanded.

Publicly-owned utility: The Los Angeles Department of Power and Water has established Time of Use (TOU) pricing rates for charging EVs which will encourage off-peak charging, which will minimize the strain on the power grid. PEV purchasers will be provided with a smart meter if the EV charging equipment does not include one. Getting utility buy-in is essential to a positive EV ownership experience.

All of these positive factors contribute to Pike Research’s prediction that through the end of 2017, nearly 100,000 PEVs will be sold (or leased) in the Los Angeles-Long Beach-Santa Ana area. PEV sales will grow from 3,723 in 2011 to 22,631 in 2017, for a CAGR of 35.1 percent.

The L.A. metro area ranks second only to New York in projected PEV sales in the United States, according to the Pike Research Electric Vehicle Forecasts report.


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