Chatting with another pre-order customer about the Empulses we just rode.

I’ve been gushing about the Brammo Empulse ever since they first showed it to us back in 2010 at Laguna Seca, and my anticipation only grew when they launched it again at a fabulous Hollywood party. Now, at long last, here is my first ride on the Brammo Empulse, last Saturday at Bartel’s Harley Davidson shop in Marina Del Ray, California.

It may seem strange to sell electric motorcycles at a Harley dealership, but the Bartel family all showed a real interest in selling Brammos. However, their regular customers were not the least bit interested in these quiet, sporty bikes. Thus, this would seem to be a diversification strategy. At the end of the video I get in front of the camera to tell you my first impressions of the Empulse.

Here are some highlights from our 80 mile ride to the Rock Store and back on Sunday:

“Our” being Brammo’s Dealer Support Rep James Richards, whom I did my best to keep up with through the canyons:

We drew a crowd when we rolled into the Rock Store, people had plenty of questions:

CleanTechnica posted the video promos Brammo filmed with TTXGP/ePower racer Shelina Moreda.

One of the neat things about riding an electric motorcycle in Los Angeles, is that there’s no shortage of charging stations. We had no trouble finding free Level 2 charging in convenient locations with the PlugShare app. We rode to the Rock Store as fast as I normally would, continued up the hill to The Snake, then cruised downhill directly to the Malibu Country Mart for a charge and some lunch. By the time we were done eating, the bikes would’ve had plenty of juice to make it back to El Segundo.

However, to enable charging three demo bikes at once in the hauler while being transported from city to city, they’d been programmed to “trickle charge”, so it took a little longer than if they weren’t the demo bikes. We stopped again for a few minutes in Santa Monica, which gave us more than enough juice to hold our own safely on the LAX expressway, AKA Lincoln Blvd, and enjoy a spirited drag race in the last 3 blocks.

Sadly, the camera battery is not as long-lived as the Brammo’s batteries, so the winner of that drag race is whomever said they won. To me, the real winner was the bike with 20% remaining battery power after an awesome day in the canyons.

Although EV’s are still a miniscule fraction of the LA traffic mix, we are second in the world in total number of EV’s registered, as reported on CleanTechnica. In a city with 2.5 million registered cars, 2,000 isn’t much. Studies predict we’ll suddenly jump to 80,000 by 2015. As with any innovation, EV’s have to make the leap from the Early Adopters to the Mainstream if they’re going to survive.

80,000 is still far from mainstream, but in a city where trends catch on like our summer wildfires, it’s not impossible. People who buy electric vehicles tell their friends about them, and when their friends see they’re saving money and not getting stuck needing a charge, they realize it’s a viable form of transport for them too. The aforementioned study also states that 43% of LA’s emissions, including CO2, come from on-road vehicles.

No wonder it’s getting hot in here