Electric motorcycle manufacturer Brammo has announced a deal with drivetrain manufacturer TEAM, giving us a peek into possibilities for not only Brammo’s future, but the future of electric vehicles around the world.
TEAM is hardly a well-known name that’s thrown around in biker bars, but they’ve been around since 1967; currently, they build and develop transmissions, transaxles, axles, four-wheel drive systems, and continuously variable transmissions (CVTs). That last item is especially interesting, as most electric bikes use CVT or other automatic trannys – except for Brammo. Brammo’s claim to fame is their six-speed manual transmission.
However, while the manual transmission offers a traditional motorcycle riding experience, it also adds weight, and some people say it actually robs performance. A team-up with TEAM that offers them access to proven CVT technology could be a strategic move for Brammo; while some buyers might want the standard gearbox, if the industry is moving to CVT transmissions and getting better performance, it makes sense for Brammo to do the same.
However, this move isn’t just about Brammo’s two-wheeled future. TEAM is investing in Brammo to access their technology for applications outside the motorcycle world. Their press release says “The electric vehicle market is a growth market, and TEAM and Brammo will be providing a wide range of solutions for OEM manufacturers … We will be partnering with them to bring this technology to adjacent markets.”
Brammo has already had Polaris invest in their company, in order to access their technology for Polaris’s electric vehicle ventures. This was an example of an big manufacturer seeing no need to re-invent the wheel, so to speak, and essentially paying an existing EV maker for their technology. More recently, this is supposedly what happened with the just-unveiled Harley-Davidson Livewire; rumour has it the motorcycle was built around existing technology from Mission.
What we’re seeing, then, could be setting a pattern for the future. Instead of companies like Brammo developing their own technology and building bikes around it, without sharing that knowledge, the original electric bike start-ups might end up becoming developers for other companies that don’t feel like starting their own EV programs. That’s not as romantic a future as some battery bike fans had hoped for, but if it means real money is getting behind the electric bike scene and pushing it forward, it could be for the best.