Gonna buy a new 2012 Zero S? I’d read this first.

Firs read this article and watch this video from Motorcycle.com here.

Done?  OK.

Now, I am a Brammo fan.  It is well documented, but I have also tooted Zero’s horn as best as I can.  But this article has me thinking.  Ok, it straight-up-no-chaser has me pissed off, but I’m easily wound up.  So for now lets chalk it up to that.

Lets look at the quote (from the above linked article) I am most focused on, “When the Empulse exists we’ll have a product to compete with it. Until then you have to talk about what exists. I mean, why not compare us to a MotoCzysz? It’s the same thing isn’t it? They both exist in very rare quantities in a lab somewhere,” says Harden. “Zero will continue to develop products according to our vision and our strategy for the brand, and we’ll continue to make announcements about products when it’s relevant for the marketplace. The last thing we want to do is excite people about things that don’t exist.”  Now, you put that into the context of an e-mail I received some time ago and you’d be wound up over something that seems relatively benign too.

But lets look at this objectively.  Brammo, in an interview with me, has said that the Empulse will be for sale sometime during the riding season of this year.  So as late as this fall, or as early as late spring would be my guess.  But Mr. Harden has said that they will have a product that will be able to compete with it when it is ready.  This means one of three things.  1)  Mr. Harden is cocky prick and is taking a cheap shot at Brammo implying the Empulse won’t be ready for another year, 2) Zero has spies at Brammo, or 3) (and this is the important point) they have a bike in the works that will be ready to go in 6 months or less that will compete toe to toe with the Empulse.

So, if 3) is the case and you are a sportbike type rider, do you really want to spend the cash on a 2012 Zero S 9 only to have it be obsolete this year?  I’d like to note that their bikes usually change significantly every year, which is what Brammo has tried to avoid in the first place.  So most likely your brand new 2012 will pale in comparison to 2013’s Zero.  Brammo is on about a 2 or 3 year cycle right now.   And then you have to ask yourself, if this new bad bike will be ready so soon, why haven’t we heard about?  Hmmm, maybe because they need you to buy the bike they are making right now?

There is, of course, a forth option. 4) Brammo misses the 2012 riding season and doesn’t have the Empulse ready for sale until this winter, the same time Zero announces their 2013 line up.  Hmmm.  All we can do is sit back, and wait and see.

8 thoughts on “Gonna buy a new 2012 Zero S? I’d read this first.

  1. I think the only rational way to consider an emoto purchase today is in the context of what is currently shipping or announced with final specifications and shipping dates.

    The mainstream electric sportbike market will almost certainly have two or possibly three contendors inside of two years. If you have to have an electric sportsbike, don’t buy a commuter bike now unless you’re willing to eat the loss on a trade up as soon as a sportsbike is available.

    I don’t think Zero can release a sportsbike with a new / better frame, better brakes and tires, and a significantly more powerful motor at $14k. Either Brammo will blow way past their 2010 expected pricing or a Zero competitor will be thousands of dollars more expensive than the Brammo, at which point they might as well not release it..

    My vote is #1 and possibly #4 as well.

  2. yup, #1 or #4 🙂

    I simply can’t imagine Brammo is anywhere close to production without having seen any official specs on the motor, batteries, etc… Even after that info is released, I would guess it will be many months before that production spec bike is actually coming out of the factory.

    I’m amazed that so many people are still drinking the Brammo KoolAid after, what, 2 years of missed deadlines? And ZERO credible information or specs on this bike?! Come on, if you don’t know what you’re building 2 years after you’ve been taking orders, something is awry.

    EV tech is evolving so fast right now, that EVERY year is going to be leaps and bounds better than the previous. Think of it like computers. It’s going be at least a decade before the curve levels out somewhat. But, you have to take the plunge at some point, i.e. when the product fulfills your needs. And for more and more people, the Zero is “good enough” for their purposes. Maybe in another decade they will retire it and buy the new hot sh*t bike that is sooooo much better, but at least they will have been riding a legitimate electric motorcycle for the previous 10 years. And those Early Adopters can feel good about putting their money where their mouth is and helping to enable the Electric Revolution.

    1. Thank you for the comment. It really is appreciated and they are really good points. My only caveat is that you mention 2 years of missed deadlines. As far as I am aware Brammo originally said the Empulse would be ready in 2011, and then made the decision (that they didn’t take lightly) to delay it a year to 2012. So what deadlines have they missed? It’s not like every 3 months they have been saying, oh no another 3 months, like Fisker. Brammo has been very open and upfront about the whole thing. If you listen to my interview with Brian Wismann, it sounds like to me they have the bike designed and spec’d, and have for some time. Actually it sounded like Brian is going to burst if he doesn’t get to tell someone soon. 😀 It seems like to me to be much of the same case with the TTXGP getting the race schedule up. They have the tracks and dates, but until all the i’s are dotted and t’s crossed they are not going to say anything. A big release event is in the works, we just don’t know how far away it is. You also have to remember that they aren’t just going to bring out the Empulse this year. They are also bringing out the Enertia +, the Engage in probably MX and Supermoto forms, as well as the Encite Pit bike racer which we have seen in action on youtube. It’s not all about the Empulse. But the Empulse is the only one of their models that will be filling a niche the elmoto manufacturers haven’t filled yet, hence all of the attention.

      You can accuse me of drinking anyone’s kool-aide you want, but I don’t drink anyone’s kool-aide. I have ridden an Enertia, I have seen the race bike based on the street bike that will be released, I have followed a very open and transparent company and see them fall on their face and pick themselves back up and beat everyone over the long haul. It’s not lie Honda where the HRC engineers are the ones doing the race bikes. At Brammo the guys who are designing the street bikes work on the race back after their work day is done, and on the weekends. To me they have proven themselves competent. I have sat down with these very people and had lunch, and talked bikes in general. I have confidence in Brammo for very real and tangible reasons. There are those that think I am just a sucker for marketing. They can think what they may, it’s their right, but they are wrong. My disappointment with Zero has little to nothing to do with their product, and everything to do with the attitude they are projecting through various sources.

      1. You are quite right, I did mis-speak about the “2 years of missed deadlines”. My apologies. I guess I was thinking about how they’ve been taking orders for almost 2 years and still haven’t delivered a product or even the actual specs. Really what gets my goat is how Brammo put the brakes on the entire electric motorcycle industry by announcing a product with un-realistic specs at un-realistic prices. They really did themselves, Zero, and the whole industry a huge dis-service by setting everyone up with unrealistic expectations. Now people don’t know who to believe and what is real or vaporware. Personally I think Scot’s comments were a bit “snarky” yet deserved. How can you compare a product that exists with one that, for all intents and purposes, doesn’t?

      2. I think Brammo will deliver on their specs, if not their original delivery schedule or price points. After all, their 6 kWh bike actually has 6.2 kWh, not 5.3 kWh : p Or at least so the specifications story goes.

        The Enertia Plus exists now as much as the 2012 Zero S did in November .. which is to say, we have specifications, pricing and a near-term launch date. I expect we will have the same for the Empulse before too long.

        I agree about the unrealistic expectations. I don’t know how much damage it did – I think most people that were content to wait for a bike without a concrete delivery date weren’t in the market for the shipping emotos in 2010.

  3. The 2012 Zeros are the first year that I would consider to be “leaps and bounds” ahead of the previous bikes – and they’re coupled to significant price increases.

    I guess some people drink the Brammo Koolaid still because they want the 10 kwh 100 mph $14k sportbike Brammo originally specified, not a 7.9 kwh 75 mph $14k commuter bike.

    Others just wanted a freeway capable big battery bike, and they’re buying Zeros right now.

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