BRD back in the news, but still no sign of its electric motorcycles


DARPA wants a hybrid-powered motorcycle for the US Special Forces, and has announced last week that it awarded a grant to Logos Technologies to develop the project. Logos will adapt its hybrid technology to the all-electric RedShift MX from BRD.

BRD Motorcycles, based in San Francisco, presented its first electric motorcycle prototype, the RedShift SM in 2011. The firm started to take pre-orders in 2013 for the $14,995 MX (for motocross) and the $15,495 SM, the road-going version, with a $100 deposit. Yet we are still waiting for a firm launch date, a common occurrence with new electric vehicle manufacturers…

The BRD RedShift SX

The BRD RedShift SM

Both RedShift models share the same chassis, a 40 hp electric motor with 44 N-m of torque and a 5.2 kWh lithium battery. They can reach a top speed of 80 mph, accelerate from 0 to 60 mph in 3.3 sec, and have a range of 50 miles. BRD says its motorcycles are built for performance, not range, and extolls their lightness (250lb or 113kg for the MX, 265lb or 120kg for the SM).

The firm raised $850 000 in 2012 and $1 million in 2013 in its quest “to become the Porsche of electric motorcycles”. Last October, Martin Eberhard (the co-founder of Tesla with Marc Tarpenning) joined the board of BRD, declaring that he was impressed by the firm’s “world-class battery”. Like Tesla, BRD builds power-dense battery packs from small format cells connected together.

So it looks like BRD should have at least a shot at becoming a successful electric motorcycle manufacturer. It needs to hurry though, as the window of opportunity is getting smaller and smaller. KTM, Yamaha, Suzuki and Honda have all shown electric motorcycle prototypes…

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