Thursday, June 18, 2009

Best Buy Sells EVs

Best Buys stores are starting-up personal transportation sales. This will include electric scooters, Segways, and, most thrilliing of all, is electric motorcycles (or would that be engine-cycles?). The electric motorcycle is the Enertia made by Brammo.

This is an exciting move since it gives electric vehicles, at least 2 wheeled ones (for now?), a potencial worldwide dealership and service location network.

Best Buy is starting with their West Coast locations. I talked to the Brammo marketing director. They are busy training Geek Squad members now. Best Buy is not traditionally somewhere that you go when you are looking for wheels, so the stores need to hire and train a new overall-wearing branch on the Geek Squad tree. One that can handle brakes, tires, and high-voltage. The garage bays used to install car stereos and car navigation systems will now have an additional purpose.

Best Buy has 1,200 U.S. stores, and some 1,500 in Europe, with another 270 stores in China; all of which will be selling EVs if this trial goes well. Each US state has a different legal maze of requirements to navigate before vehicles (electric or otherwise) can be sold and serviced.

The Enertia uses lithium-ion phosphate batteries by Valence Technology. It has a 45-mile range and a maximum speed of 53 MPH. Great for typical commuting and riding fun. Not, however, for a cross-country easy rider run. Brammo's 2010 motorcycle is expected to have a 100 mile range and go 75 MPH.

If the two wheeled EV effort goes well for Best Buy, what is next? Will they become the distribution network that Chinese car companies BYD, Chery and others are looking for in the US and Europe.


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