It's official: the Brammo Enertia, a much-hyped electric urban commuter bike, hit a Best Buy store yesterday in Portland, Oregon, and will expand to other locations nationwide soon. The $11,995 Enertia probably won't fly off the shelves like DVD players and televisions, but it's part of a growing push by the store to move into electric vehicle sales. And even though Best Buy has been selling eight models of electric bikes, scooters, and Segways at 21 West Coast stores since May, the Enertia is the crown jewel on the store's line of EVs. Best Buy has invested $10 million in Brammo and is even training in-store Geek Squad members to service the bikes.
Why the Enertia? The bike, which goes up to 50 mph and charges in three hours from a regular outlet, is an entry-level vehicle suitable for beginners and advanced riders. So while the price may not be right for casual browsers, it's an enticing option for first-time motorcycle buyers.
Best Buy's current selection of electric vehicles, including bikes from Currie and a Baja Motorsports moped, is moving slowly--the West L.A. branch has sold only eight vehicles in the month since the store has began offering them. But Best Buy eventually hopes that burgeoning interest in EVs will help offset dwindling sales in categories like flat screen TVs and CDs. With products for sale ranging from $299 to $11,995, the store is positioning itself ahead of other big box retailers that haven't begun to explore the possibilities of EVs. Ultimately, though, Best Buy's success will depend on whether big box stores become the go-to source for electric bikes and scooters or whether specialized dealers start to emerge.