Brammo’s Wismann Responds To Carrera’s Take On Brammo Electrical And Mechanical Design

Skadamo published an article on Friday, January 22, about a blog post by DERBI project manager Carles Carrera, detailing the DERBI GPR EV. Most noteworthy was the following paragraph from Carrera:

Current production electric motorcycles as Quantya, Brammo, Vectrix or Zero, motorcycles that I love for being pioneers, have in my opnion two recurrent problems.

  1. They have a poorly developed mechanical platform, I mean all of them have been developed my electric experts without insight on motorcycle development, so they are heavy, or awful or difficult to ride or even worse, not fun to ride.
  2. On the other side, all the electric components are not developed as a whole, and although all of these companies are ran by experts on batteries, controllers and so on, I think they have lots of problems with all the components talking each other: the controller must talk to the batteries and the motor to tell them what to do and how to do it. And that’s not easy. In fact, generally the controller and the batteries don’t talk to each other at all.

Soon after this post, a user by the name of (we can safely assume it’s Mr. Carrera, right?) posted on the EV forum and provided a link to his blog.  He asked forum members to “pay a visit” to his blog and let people know what they thought.

Which they did.

The post caught the attention of user BrammoBrian, better known as Brammo Lead Designer Brian Wismann.  Here’s his response to Mr. Carrera’s post:


Lots of opinion here as well as some very broad statements that I would contend against, of course. Here are some points to ponder:

1. Communications – The Enertia features 3 separate CANbus networks on the bike (to isolate system critical vs. non-critical data) and every electronic component has a communication connection to the rest of the bike. We have a sophisticated Vehicle Control Unit that receives communications from all of these devices (batteries, motor, motor controller, charger, dash, handlebar controls) and makes system level decisions. We also log nearly 100% of this data in real time to an on-board memory card to allow quick and easy diagnostics of any fault.

2. The component suppliers you’ve mentioned have been working with Brammo for quite awhile – Perm Motors and Sevcon (who was just here this week helping with some integration issues on their side) have been working with us for 4 years and 1 year respectively.

3. The Enertia and Enertia TTR platform were developed from the ground up to be an electric motorcycle, this Derbi is a conversion. Converting a vehicle’s powertrain WILL lead to packaging compromises, whether you’d like to admit it or not. The Enertia was developed by a team of mechanical engineers, electrical engineers, and software engineers.

4. Cost – I would also contend that Brammo’s platform was developed from the ground up specifically to be fun to ride AND affordable… what is the cost of the Derbi prototype? I know the cost of the components, and I’d guess a retail version of that bike will run upwards of $20k and this prototype well over $50k if not more.

5. I do agree with you that it’s “not easy”. Welcome to the big time… jump in, the water’s warm. We placed 3rd overall in the TTXGP last year. Where did you place?

I’ll only assume that the statements you’ve made were made in ignorance or lost in translation. In my opinion, it is professional courtesy to stick to discussing what you are fully knowledgable about – in your case the prototype you’ve built, in my case I talk about the Enertia. Welcome to the forum.

We look forward to Mr. C’s equally measured response to Mr. B’s reply.

Harry Mallin is the moderator of the TTXGP Technical Rules Wiki, blogs at Brammofan(Brammo-related) and eMotoRules (TTXGP-related) and you can follow him on Twitter at@brammofan and @emotorules.

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9 Responses

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  1. Written by Detroit Scooter
    on January 25, 2010 at 12:03 pm

    Oh, that’s a smack-down, Detroit, er, Ashland style. Sometimes I wish that people would listen/learn before they attack.

  2. Written by travis
    on January 25, 2010 at 2:36 pm

    Its not very good PR for Derbi in my opinion. If Derbi wants to be taken seriously, Carles needs to retract his comments and try to at least get the EV/Elmoto community behind him….. if he doesn’t, its going to backfire….. it already has.

    My bike (which is a conversion like the Derbi), has an AC motor, full BMS and will be integrated to an LCD display. Brammo has done the same thing with integration. Zero has done minimal integration, but its there. Vecrix is an integrated system. I know of 3 TTXGP teams that have integrated systems as well. I’m not sure where this “self proclaimed expert” gets his information from.

  3. Written by Matt
    on January 26, 2010 at 9:20 am

    I’m new. Saw this on ABG and thought I’d check it out. I’ve been a huge fan of Brammo since they started building the Atom, and know they have an elite engineering staff that is more than capable of building a motorcycle. The only beef I have is the range. I’d happily pay a few thousand for an extended range pack that could handle my long commute. I understand they are working on it, and I’ve no doubt it will be awesome. Keep up the good work, and we will keep supporting your efforts, regardless of what the Carreras of the world have to say.

  4. Written by skadamo
    on January 26, 2010 at 9:31 am

    Carles contacted me about the article. He wants to be clear that these are his comments and not the opinions of DERBI.

    I am glad to see Brian’s response to Carrera’s views of the Enertia. So far I have not heard any Brammo owners complain about the way the bike works as a whole. For now Brammo is still setting the bar high for production electric road bikes. Carles does acknowledge them as “pioneers”. But hey, someone is gonna one-up their design eventually. We can’t move forward without that kind of progress.

    I am looking forward to more info on the DERBI and how it takes electric drive to the next level.

  5. Written by travis
    on January 26, 2010 at 11:20 am

    I think Carles just has to make sure he’s careful in his opinions, he does work for the motorcycle manufacturer…. he did develop the bike….

    I know with my company(s) I have to be careful on a daily basis of what I say, how I say it, so that it doesn’t come back to the company. Even if there’s a strong belief that I should say it, I have to be tactful, and make sure I can support my arguments.

    I didn’t see Carles retract his comments about lack of integration…. only made new ones about the bikes and what he thinks people want.

  6. Written by Tim Reha
    on January 27, 2010 at 2:37 am

    It was interesting to test ride the Brammo Enertia just last weekend. Here is my:


    I have been lucky to test ride in the Tesla Roadster and AltairNano demo car back in 2007.

    It is great to have conversations about the EV space, but the industry should be promoting the growth of the space rather than shoot each other down. We have a duty to be honest about our views from build to performance.

    My first Brammo experience was superb. I was happy to experience a “motorcycle” feel rather than a “toy”. The range extension would be nice of course, but that will come as soon as the battery technology improves.

  7. Written by alan wilzig
    on February 1, 2010 at 11:27 pm

    I ride an Enertia every day in NYC. The bike is spectacular…..”AND well integrated” and I own 128 motorcycles. The comments were silly actually.

    The Derbi guy was……well let’s be kind and say perhaps some subtlety , TACT , and “charm” was lost in translation.

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