The folks in Talent, Oregon have some exciting news today, as electric motorcycle manufacturer Brammo has announced a strategic partnership with TEAM Industries, a leading drivetrain technology firm. The partnership with TEAM brings a variety of advantages to Brammo’s production and design process, and it also sees TEAM becoming an investor in the electric vehicle startup.
TEAM’s ability to develop and produce, locally in the United States, will help Brammo not only develop its future products more effectively, but also help lower the cost of its current offering. Talking to Brammo CEO Craig Bramscher, he called TEAM Industries “American manufacturing at its finest,” and highlighted TEAM’s commitment to creating jobs throughout Minnesota, and its ability to work on a wide variety of manufacturing stages
Aside from the capital infusion, which is the lifeblood of any startup company, Brammo seems to be getting a wide array of benefits by working with TEAM.
“We’re working on a few projects already, though we’re not quite ready to announce specifically what they are, but there is a broad spectrum from what they can do,” said Bramscher. “Anything that has a casting, they can help us with. Anything that has a gear, they can help us with. We’re still working out details and prioritizing projects.”
Bramscher would not confirm that TEAM would be involved in developing further Brammo’s Integrated Electric Transmission, which can currently be found on the Brammo Empulse motorcycle, but TEAM’s experience with CVT technology and other gearbox types is certainly a good indication on the kind of resources that Brammo can draw upon from this strategic partnership.
The collaboration also opens up opportunities outside of the two-wheel space, something Brammo and Polaris have already begun to explore together as well — Polaris being another major investor in Brammo, Inc. With TEAM having experience in four-wheels, its strategic partnership with Brammo will surely mean an expansion into that space, in some form or another.
“Because of [our] success on two-wheels, in terms of the performance and energy density, we are getting a lot of requests on the electric drivetrain side of it. So we’re definitely exploring broader conversations as both a supplier and an OEM,” said Bramscher. “We see a balance over time of teeter-tottering between supply drivetrain, batteries, and solutions to other OEMs.”
“We don’t want thousands of customers, when it comes to OEMs, but having a few really good ones in the market, like Polaris is in theirs, that helps us, and I think it pushes us to be better on the side that we’re doing,” he explained further. “So, we’ll be involved in four-wheels and up, whether its Brammo-branded or not is yet to be determined.”
When asked when we could see the fruits of TEAM and Brammo’s parnetship, Bramscher said “we’re already working on projects for the next couple of model years. I think for the 2016 model year for sure; and there are probably other opportunities that will show up sooner than that, where our drivetrain and existing technology might be abled to be partnered with a TEAM Industries solutions.”
“We’re still early enough that we’re focused on bringing costs down with the Empulse, so we’re going to go through the bill of materials on the Empulse and see what we can do through TEAM manufacturing to reduce costs — that’s probably ‘goal one’. We want to continue to improve the quality of the Empulse each model year, and continue to improve the performance and bring the cost down.”
A push into other vehicle spaces would not only help Brammo fill out its offering to dealers and consumers, but it would help buoy the R&D that Brammo has invested into electric drivetrain technology thus far.
With help from TEAM, Brammo can not only make the leap into other spaces more effectively (the four-wheel space is much more lucractive, by the way), but TEAM’s strong domestically-located resources mean that Brammo can bring new models to market more rapidly, while reducing costs on current offerings.