Brammo Brings In $12.4M in Series B To Date

Published on 26 September 2010 by in Blog, Clean Tech, Financing, News

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Brammo Brings In $12.4M in Series B To Date


Brammo continues to forge ahead with products (Empulse), manufacturing (Flextronics), funding (Series B), and distribution. The team in Ashland, OR is busy executing indeed!

(Following from One Racing Source) “Brammo filed the appropriate forms with the SEC yesterday stating that it has raised $ 12.4 million in Series B funds, in what is still an open round of financing. Brammo hopes to raise a total of $ 30 million in the Series B offering, with the use of funds likely going towards expanding Brammo’s reach into the Asian and European markets, as well as building out the company’s product line into other target segments.

Also in the Form D filing with the SEC we get a glimpse of the people behind the company’s management, which includes a presence from Brammo’s initial investors Best Buy & the clean-tech venture capital group Chrysalix, as well as Brammo’s CFO Bruce Gilpin. New to the ranks is David Kurtz from Alpine Inc., an oil and gas exploration and development firm that is leading the Series B round with another firm that is so far unknown.

It says something about the state of electric vehicles when oil companies start investing in them, so it doesn’t surprise us to learn that most of the remaining $ 17.5 million in the Series B round has already been committed, and could close in the new year. Brammo’s ability to raise this much capital is a good sign for EV fans and other EV companies alike. Despite tight coffers, venture capitalists and private equity funds are still investing in electrics, especially electric motorcycles.

Brammo joins the ranks of Zero Motorcycles and Mission Motors, both of whom have had to also file similar paperwork with the SEC, meeting threshold point in fundraising where they needed to disclose private offerings of stock. Yesterday’s filing has been the largest collection of capital so far in this space, with Brammo’s $ 12.4 million dwarfing the $ 7.3 million that Zero raised earlier in the year (here & here). To-date Brammo has raised $ 23 million ($ 41 million when this round is closed), with its $ 11 million Series A round taking place in August 2008.

The use of the funds according to CEO Craig Bramscher will go towards Brammo’s global expansion, product development, and day-to-day business. Coming on the heels of its announced partnership with Flextronics, the cash infusion puts Brammo as the first-mover into foreign markets in the electric motorcycle space. “It allows us to leverage our guerilla market tactics across the globe,” Bramscher said of the new funds.

Brammo’s coffers may be larger than what they were before, but few companies would consider anything under $ 100 million adequate funding for a global expansion. “The comparison with Tesla keeps coming up in the conversation,” says Bramscher. “We like that, but we’re trying to achieve the same goals with a lot less.” Being efficient with funds is critical in this market to woo investors, which Brammo says is one of the things that’s helped them bring in the dealflow.

Bramscher hopes one day to take Brammo public, taking a cue from Tesla’s recent IPO, but that stop on the Brammo roadmap is still farther down the road, and right now the company is focusing on this investment. “Our hope is that this gets us to black ink, that this gets us global expansion, and gets us marketing,” explained Bramscher. “We’re trying to find the right investors that really do bring the right kind of value to the company. So far, everybody adds value beyond just the money they’ve invested.”

For consumers, expect new Brammo-clad products to be announced. While we already know that the Brammo Empulse will make its production debut next year, other models are likely to come from the Ashland-based company. “With the better drivetrain and longer range, we’re able to go into other segments,” hinted Bramscher. “We’re looking at anything with volume.”

With volume being the key word, Brammo is very close to having its Asian market headquarters in China picked out, while the company is still looking for a location for its brick and mortar presence in Europe.”

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Brammo – Wins Best Electric Motorcycle for 2010

Brammo-Enertia-IMG_2708
Motorcycle.com ranked the Brammo Enertia as the “Best Electric Motorcycle” for 2010. See rankings list.

The Enertia was cited for its uncompromising quality of components and super low operating costs. While priced at $7,995, it remains a good value in its category beating out the competition. We’ll be watching to see how the high performance Empulse does when it is released. An innovative company with strong partners in Best Buy and Chrysalix Energy Ventures indeed. Brammo is also a “portfolio” company of the Northwest Energy Angels.

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Smart Grid Can Decrease Energy Use 12% by 2030 Says PNNL Report

PNNL LogoRICHLAND, Wash. – A smart electrical power grid could decrease annual electric energy use and utility sector carbon emissions at least 12 percent by 2030, according to a new report from the Department of Energy’s Pacific Northwest National Laboratory.

The report, The Smart Grid: An Estimation of the Energy and CO2 Benefits, shows a direct link between the smart grid and carbon emissions. It evaluates how different functions of the smart grid could provide substantial reduction in energy use and carbon emissions – both directly by using new technology and indirectly by making renewable energy and efficiency programs more affordable and potentially larger.

That means by fully utilizing a smart grid, the nation could prevent the equivalent of 442 million metric tons, or 66 typical coal power plants’ worth, of carbon emissions from entering the atmosphere each year. Those 66 power plants produce the equivalent amount of electricity needed to power 70 million of today’s homes.

“By making the grid smart, we make it more efficient and more accommodating of renewables, and we’re able to cut down on the amount of carbon we emit to generate the electricity we need,” said Rob Pratt, PNNL research scientist. “This report suggests that we could substantially reduce emissions by deploying a smart grid.”

“We wanted to show the additional benefits inherent in the smart grid’s potential contribution to the nation’s goal of mitigating climate change by reducing the carbon footprint of the electric power system,” he said.

Until recently, the fields of emissions research and smart grid research have been largely separate, even while both strive to secure the nation’s energy future. The report joins a growing body of literature that allows researchers, analysts, investors and policymakers to make a definitive link between the two areas of study – and defines the linkage as a legitimate area for further research and technology development by government. It also informs the business case for smart grid investments by utilities and others.

“This report has significant implications for public and private sector interests engaging in future research, financial and policy decisions in this area,” said Mike Davis, PNNL associate laboratory director for Energy and Environment. “Reducing our dependence on foreign oil and reducing our carbon footprint can go hand-in-hand and be profitable.”

Mechanisms considered

Pratt led a team of eight authors on the report. They analyzed nine different ways, or mechanisms, by which the smart grid could reduce carbon emissions. They also outlined recommendations for future and additional research in each of these areas to fulfill the Administration’s goal of substantial reductions by the year 2030. The DOE Office of Electricity Delivery and Energy Reliability’s Smart Grid R&D Program funded the study.

Learn about the direct and indirect impacts of a smart grid.

Direct mechanisms reduce electricity and CO2 emissions when smart grid functions are implemented. Direct mechanisms include incorporating smart grid-enabled diagnostics in residential and commercial buildings; adding more plug-in hybrid electric vehicles to the market; and benefiting from the conservation effect of consumers being more aware about their own energy use – a mechanism that is made possible by a smarter grid.

Indirect mechanisms are realized when smart grid capabilities are used to reduce the costs of deploying and operating efficiency and renewables. These cost savings can be turned into carbon savings by reinvesting in carbon reductions down the road. Using demand response and energy storage devices to bring renewable energy on the grid is one indirect mechanism that can reduce the need to build additional power plants to handle the increased reserve power renewables require.

“The importance of the direct and indirect reduction mechanisms is in their combined effect on reducing carbon emissions,” said Pratt. “Some mechanisms proved insignificant, and the larger ones each appear capable of providing about a 3 percent reduction. In combination, they could reduce the electric grid’s carbon footprint by a very substantial 12 percent or more.”

“This is very significant in light of future renewable portfolio goals of 20 to 30 percent set for the electricity sector in many states for the 2030 time frame, with even higher subsequent goals being contemplated as part of a national carbon policy,” he said.

Full deployment

The estimates assume full deployment of a smart grid or virtually 100 percent penetration of smart grid technologies. They can be scaled down in proportion to actual smart grid penetrations to estimate the potential reductions at any given level of deployment over time.

A smart grid incorporates multiple technologies into the existing electricity delivery system and enables more visibility and control of both the existing electricity infrastructure and new “smart” components, such as smart meters, automated demand response, plug-in electric vehicles and electricity storage devices. The smart grid’s much broader cost and operational benefits are provided through high-speed, two-way communication, sensing and real-time coordination of assets all the way down to the customer meter and other end use devices, such as smart appliances and thermostats.

A basic perspective of PNNL’s analysis is that, during the next 20 years, smart grid technology will become pervasive in the U.S. because of the cost efficiencies and reliability improvements it provides for the electric power system. Clearly, once purchased, this same infrastructure can be leveraged to provide the additional benefits identified in this report with little, if any, marginal cost.

PNNL’s recommendations include further analysis of some technical aspects of the mechanisms, further study of behavior-related mechanisms such as the impact of consumer information, and better accounting for the range of uncertainty for the reductions estimates, as more definitive analyses are conducted and better methods are tailored to estimate each mechanism’s potential.

PNNL’s report also analyzes a variety of existing research including related assessments by the Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI) and The Climate Group.

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