July isn’t getting off to a great start for electric motorcycle manufacturer Brammo Inc, as the Ashland, Oregon company suffered a fire in the company’s R&D lab during the start of the month. The fire broke-out over the weekend of June 30th, as the EV company was doing extended testing to a lithium-ion battery pack.

Fortunately, Brammo’s automated sprinkler system was able to put out the blaze caused by the malfunctioning battery pack, but in the process caused roughly $200,000 in water-damage to equipment located in the facility.

Though a relatively minor event for Brammo, the news comes fresh on the heels of Boeing’s similar troubles with lithium battery packs, which ultimately grounded the Boeing 787 Dreamliner fleet worldwide.

The good news for Brammo owners is that the pack in question was not a production model, nor a model headed into production, and instead was merely a unit that the company was evaluating. It probably goes without saying that Brammo will choose to go a different direction with its future battery choices.

The fire is not expected to cause any issues with Brammo’s production or R&D schedule, as the room was isolated from the rest of company’s Ashland headquarters, and Brammo has duplicate testing equipment that was stored outside of the lab in question, which it can use for its R&D efforts.

Source: KDRV & Brammo

  • Mitch

    It’s interesting, fire is also a danger with ICE engines, but since they have been around for about a hundred years now, those problems are fairly well sorted at this point. Battery powered vehicles are basically going through this same process, though with today’s technology it will be a much shorter time to get through it; still, some growing pains.

  • Paul

    One of these days there will be a serious mishap with a battery powered vehicle (car or bike) with serious injuries, or worse, due to a battery-related malfunction. There’s a lot of power looking for a way out, and when it finds it, better stay clear. Then there will be a great hue and cry to regulate and control the genie that’s been sprung on an unsuspecting public. Just sayin’…

  • Not really


    When exactly are you starting the clock for the “invention” of battery powered vehicles…2010?

    You might check some history re: electric vehicles before you write of ICE’s 100 year history..hint..electric vehicles are OVER 100 years old also, & have improved at a small fraction of the pace of ICE vehicles…because ICEs have the advantage of..oh..just being more practical by every rational metric.

    There has been a major (gov’t subsidized) push for over 50 years to make a viable e-car/bike & what have we gotten…silly flawed toys with the illusive dream of “rapidly improving” battery technology. Shorter time…compare battery energy density over the last 50 years…oh yes, that game changing battery they are working on at…….University…yep..any day…any day.

  • Mitch

    Well, yeah. I meant that ICE vehicles, which basically won out as the best solution to the issue of transportation, have had a century or so of sorting out; I know about those early electric cars. I like how you jumped on me as an electrical evangelist; I actually find the marketing of electrical vehicles pretty reprehensible and dishonest, but I can’t deny that they will become a piece of the transportation puzzle as we head into times where energy needs become more and more critical. The issue of power generation, transportation and storage is one of this century’s greatest challenges and I’m curious to see how it plays out. Battery tech is cool, and so is a fire breathing 440 laying twin strips of rubber a foot wide. There’s no reason not to like all of it.

  • William Roberts

    Its ok nothing to see here. Nothing happened someone spilled some coffee on a machine. Electric vehicles are still lovely. Rabbits even cuddle them if you park to near a field. Safe as houses

  • Richard Gozinya

    @William Roberts

    Because gasoline never catches on fire.

  • “illusive dream”

    1997 GM EV1 – Panasonic lead-acid, 18.7 kWh, 594 kg, 31.5 Wh/kg
    2013 Tesla Model S – Panasonic lithium NCA, 85 kWh, 600 kg, 142 Wh/kg

    4.5x density in 16 years.

  • Bob

    It would be interesting to know what caused the fire. It’s easy to assume it was related to a Li-ion battery, but could be something totally unrelated. I think Brammo should make a statement. Saying nothing leaves it open to speculation. As a potential customer, I want to know if there’s a chance of their ev motorcycle catching fire in my garage.

  • Bob, it was a lithium-ion battery.

  • Not really

    @ Protomech

    Lead acid battery…$.17/wh

    2.7X..your point?

    Look..its here at last….

    You want to buy an $80,000 Tesla, thats your business. It becomes mine when you take a $7500 subsidy from the public to assuage your eco-guilt.

    I don’t see anything cool in “battery tech”. It has absorbed $billions of gov’t funds & more importantly, diverted vast human resources in futile attempt to make an inviable technology viable. If in over 100 years of scientific exploration all that can be said is a paltry 145w/kg when gasoline generates multiples of that..

    Whats the point?

    Que in ..but…but..climate change?

  • A properly managed lithium ion pack can last for a thousand or more cycles. It can be discharged to 100% DOD, and it can be charged and discharged at high rates.

    Lead acid lasts for a few hundred cycles, much fewer if discharged to 100% DOD (even deep cycle), and can only be charged slowly.

    Much like a combustion engine vehicle, lead acid is proven and relatively cheap to buy-in. But the total lifecycle costs for lithium-ion are significantly lower .. and dropping fast. Tesla’s costs are probably half what you list, though that’s about right for smaller OEMs like the bike manufacturers.

    Subsidies are another issue. I’d prefer to see all the electric vehicle subsidies go away (AND see them pay their fair share of road tax), but at the same time I’d like to see expeditionary “defense” expenses related to protecting our access to foreign oil be included in a gas tax. I’d like to see a proper accounting of the indirect subsidies (yes, climate change .. and pollution-related health) granted to the fossil fuel industry (including coal and natural gas which power EVs) and include those in a fossil fuel tax.

    “I don’t see anything cool in battery tech”, “inviable technology”

    Do you not use a cellphone, laptop, or other modern battery-powered electronics?

    Beyond consumer electronics, better batteries have huge applications for military, space, industrial, and energy applications.

  • @ Protomech – thank god you weren’t leading the race to the moon or we’d still be building models and waiting for the lure of asteroid mining to jumpstart the private sector.

    Maybe you don’t care that the single best all electric car in the world was designed and built in america in a plant that was abandoned by the japanese – maybe you don’t care that the money loaned was paid back or that the resulting company is offering free solar powered charging, or that with the revenue they are pushing the volume to build a car half as much money that will be more viable.

    All you care about is the bottom line for tax payer, so what do you think was the impetus for 1.5 trillion spent on 2 failed attempts at a gen 5 stealth fighter? – resources, like the kind we spend trillions fighting over, protecting.

    Not to mention the millions of people who have died over them.

    I can see why we should continue down the path to petrol when everyone knows it doesn’t pollute anyway….

  • as for Brammo – I hope this has taught you an important lesson about using DuPont FM-200 or an alternative instead.

  • @twoversion – If we stop indirectly subsidizing fossil fuels by ignoring their externalities and the military cost of ensuring access to foreign supply, then renewables will be a clear and obvious choice.

    As is we’re just blithely passing costs along to future generations.