GE Capital’s Commercial Distribution Finance (CDF) business has agreed to provide Brammo Inc. with inventory financing to support the expansion of its dealer network in the U.S.
The Ashland, OR-based manufacturer designs and develops electric motorcycles.
In addition to supporting the expansion of a rapidly growing American company, this announcement reinforces GE’s commitment to accelerate the adoption of hybrid and alternative fuel vehicles globally.
CDF already provides inventory financing for other brands of alternative fuel and hybrid motorsports products. This type of arrangement, also known as floorplan financing, allows dealers to stock, market and sell a wide variety of motorcycles and related products from manufacturers. It is an important element of a successful manufacturer-dealer business model.
GE owns one of the world’s largest vehicle fleets and operates a leading global fleet management business, GE Capital, Fleet Services. By 2015, GE has committed to purchasing 25,000 electric vehicles for its own fleet and for those of its customers.
Brammo designs and develops electric vehicles including the Encite, Enertia, Empulse and Engage motorcycles. Brammo is the current TTXGP eGrandPrix champion of North America. In addition, the company is an OEM supplier of the Brammo Digital Drivetrain systems, including the Brammo Power battery pack and Brammo Power vehicle management system. It has vehicle distribution and marketing operations in North America, Europe and Asia. Investors include Polaris, Best Buy, Chrysalix and Alpine Energy.
In related news, GE said it will invest an additional $70 million to expand its sodium-halide battery manufacturing plant in New York, which is part of the company’s new Energy Storage business. The new Durathon battery products—half the size of conventional lead acid batteries but which last ten times longer—are targeted for cost-effective energy storage options for a range of applications, including telecom and utility operators. GE is also looking at using the batteries in heavy-duty hybrid applications such as in buses, locomotives and mining vehicles.
Megatron Federal, an engineering company with products and services in power generation, transmission, distribution, construction and telecommunications based in Johannesburg, South Africa, has signed a purchase agreement for 6,000 batteries, which will be delivered in 2013. These batteries will ensure the continuous operation of telecom installations in Nigeria, and enable the customer to lower fuel consumption and emissions of the diesel generator powered telecom towers by up to 50%.
The battery plant has received support from state and local government in New York, where GE has done business for 130 years. New York State committed $15 million when the new plant was announced in May 2009, and $5 million was committed by Schenectady County’s Metroplex Development Authority.
The structure of a sodium-metal halide cell consists of a conductive Ni network, molten salt electrolyte, metal current collector, carbon felt electrolyte reservoir, and the active sodium-metal halide salts. The batteries thus are produced using abundantly available raw materials such as salt and nickel and are non-toxic and fully recyclable. The batteries can operate at temperatures ranging from -4° F to +140° F (-16 °C to +60°C).