Is Best Buy getting into the motorcycle business?
If speculation is correct, yeah, it is. But these aren't just your average hogs. Starting in May at five stores on the West Coast, Best Buy will be selling the Brammo Enertia, an all-electric motorcycle that has potential to become the Chumby of the motorcycle world (well, perhaps that's not the best metaphor...).
Brammo CEO Craig Bramscher told attendees at the Pacific Crest Clean Technology Conference that the bikes' electronics components include a built-in Web server, open-platform software applications, and possible add-ons like onboard cameras that could download images to travel blogs. "What we're selling is a lot closer to consumer electronics than to transportation," he said.
The Enertia draws power from a bank of six lithium phosphate batteries. Charging takes three hours on a standard electrical outlet and should yield a range of about 45 miles. After crunching the numbers, Brammo reckons that works out to 40 cents per charge or about 1 cent per mile to keep the Enertia running.
And run it does. With a max speed of 53 miles per hour, the Enertia is no toy and is highway-legal, making it a viable option for commuters. The company is working on a two-seater model with a range of about 100 miles and a cruising speed of 75 miles per hour that may also be sold through Best Buy, Bramscher said.
Why Best Buy and why electric motorcycles? Well, the consumer electronics chain's venture capital investment in Brammo is part of the reason the Enertia is becoming a reality.
The Brammo Enertia is expected to retail for about $12,000. Maintenance of tires, brakes, and electronic components will potentially be handled by the Geek Squad workers in empty car A/V installation bays.