Brammo Supercharging?

Tesla created quite the stir about a week ago with the unveiling of their new Supercharger stations.  I shared a link on this site’s Facebook page and almost immediately was asked what if we hooked up an Empulse to one.  My response was, “fire.”  90kW would be a 9c charge rate, or 6 minute and 40 second charge.  But in all seriousness any level 2 charger has enough power behind it to fill an Empulse to 80% full in an hour, or a half hour even.  Why 80%, you may ask.  Well, for battery life really.  Stuffing a whole lot into the batteries at a 1c or 2c rate is pretty doable with modern batteries (although Brammo isn’t willing to risk it yet for obvious reasons).  But for the last 20% or so you want the charger to gently “top off” the batter to help it last and not overheat.  The current recharge times are not the fault of the batteries or charger stations in many cases, but the limits of the onboard chargers.  In my interview with Brammo’s Brian Wismann this spring, we learned the Empulse probably will come with a 3kW charger.  Why only 3kW, you may ask?  Well in general terms it gives the batteries a 1/3C charge rate meaning little to no stress is put on them, mitigating the risk for Brammo, and the darn chargers are just big and heavy.  A 3kW is about all they could fit.  For comparison, a bone stock Tesla Model S come with a 10kW charger on board.  You can pay for a second charger to be added, and the Supercharger bypasses the on board charger(s), and I suspect is like a CHAdeMO where the charger is built into the station and dumps regulated power straight into the batteries.  The charger is probably so big it cannot be fit into a production car.  Well, easily anyway.  See, level 2 chargers are not chargers.  They are just outlets with a fancy plug and some extra protection built in.  If they were actual chargers that Brammo could make their bikes compatible with, then we could get our Empulses charged in an hour or faster, too.

But the SAE is rejecting CHAdeMO, and Elon Musk decided a while ago that all the charger standards are too far behind the designs of his cars, and is doing his own thing.  Really, I feel off board chargers (for lack of a better term) are the way to go for road trips on a motorcycle.  But the charger has to be completely compatible and able to correctly and reliably talk to your BMS so as to not ruin your batteries, or burn your bike to the ground.  And if the previously mentioned can’t get along now, I see something like that a long way off.  Especially where money could be made.  Mind you, I think the same bike should be equipped with at least a 3kW charger as well to handle charging at home or around town if needed.  Now if someone could just make a 10kW charger that is the same size, weight, and cost.  Sigh.

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