Zero Motorcycles Inc. is an American electric motorcycle manufacturer that promises to be the next step in motorcycle evolution. Originally founded in 2006 under the name “Electricross” by a former NASA engineer and aeronautics expert called Neal Saiki, the small company form Santa Cruz, California, has evolved from a small operation into a global company and one of the main driving forces of the electric motorcycle industry. Fusing cutting edge electric motor technology with advanced battery systems, and wrapping their sophisticated powertrain in rigid aircraft-grade aluminum frames, Zero’s motorcycles are lightweight, fast, efficient, and economical. Strictly “Crafted In California” Zero Motorcycles are an all-American company that are pushing the boundaries of conventional motorcycling beyond the bounds of possibility.
The History Of Zero Motorcycles
From Electricross To Zero Motorcycles
Zero Motorcycles was first established in Santa Cruz, California back in 2006. The brand was originally known as Electricross, and the idea about building a company that manufacturers cutting edge electric motorcycles was the brainchild of motorcycle enthusiast and aeronautical engineer Neal Saiki. At the time, the electric vehicle industry was in its infancy, and there wasn’t a single production electric vehicle on the market. Saiki’s prototype electric motorcycle known as “The Drift” and weighed a mere 140 lbs, boasted some impressive performance specs, and promised to revolutionize the way the world looked at motorcycles.
The Drift quickly went into small-scale production, and by mid-2006 the first Electricross store opened in Scotts Valley. The local action sports community fell in love with the new electric machine, which offered extreme thrills but in a green and eco-friendly way, and it wasn’t long until dirt bikers, mountain bikers, and thrill-seekers wanted a piece of the action. Needless to say, business boomed – and in 2007 Electricross decided to change its name to Zero Motorcycles, hoping to capitalize on their Zero emissions philosophy.
Zero’s focus on the production of off-road motorcycles was a strategic choice that has paid dividends. In the early days of electric motorcycle production, most electric motorcycles had low top speeds and fairly impractical battery range capabilities, so serious on-road riding would’ve been a hard sell. However, for off-road purposes, the electric motorcycle was an ideal choice: boasting a powerful electric powertrain that can deliver power instantaneously, and wrapped in an eco-friendly and astoundingly quiet package, it appealed to off-road riders straightaway. Zero’s next model, the Zero X was wildly powerful, and came with adjustable speed and torque settings, which had the power to completely flip the motorcycle backwards if too much power was given on the highest settings!
Expansion And Innovation
The rapid growth of the company forced Zero Motorcycles to move into a new building in 2008, with the company workforce growing to 25 employees, and the fast paced nature of Zero’s expansion led them into a strategic partnership with Invus LP, a capital market investment company. To celebrate their bright future, Zero organized the 24 Hours Of Electricross, the world’s first all-electric off-road endurance event. The event showcased the best of what electric motorcycling had to offer, with a grueling 24 hour race that covered 1,015 laps over 502 miles, with ten teams competing.
With a new location, fresh investment, and high on the success of the Electricross event, Zero was able to innovate new technologies and streamline their engineering practices to create a new generation of electric motorcycles. Thanks to their new revolutionary “Z-Force” electric powertrain and lightweight aerospace aluminum frame construction, Zero was able to unveil something quite unexpected in 2009: a production road motorcycle called the Zero S. The Zero S became the first electric street motorcycle to go into mass production, offering riders top speeds of 60 mph and a maximum range of 50 miles. It might not have been much, but it was a start, and it caught the buying public’s attention. Zero followed up with the Zero DS, a dual sport alternative that could tackle roads and rough trails in equal measure. Zero’s revolutionary assault on the motorcycle industry began.
While already successful in the USA, the European market looked perfect for Zero’s products. Thanks to higher fuel costs, densely populated urban areas, and broad motorcycling fanbase, Zero’s motorcycles would be the perfect addition to European roads. Starting with a single dealership in the Netherlands, Zero quickly expanded with dedicated dealerships across the continent, with specific websites in German, French, Italian, and Spanish. Soon after, Zero set their sights on Australia, where the X and MX models were already a success, and introduced Aussie riders to the Zero street range.
Strength To Strength
Being an electric motorcycle manufacturer, Zero is quite unorthodox when compared with its internal combustion powered rivals, but even Zero were aware that the best way to attract new customers is to win races. Working in partnership with Agni Motors, Zero Motorcycles entered into the First North American Electric Superbike Race, the TTXGP eGrand Prix at the Sonoma Raceway in California, and won on their first outing. Racing also brings out the best from a company’s R&D departments, and shortly after their amazing victory, Zero also announced a new Quick Charge accessory pack that allowed their motorcycle’s batteries to be removed and charged whenever, wherever. This innovation would go on to set the industry standard in the future.
The new charging system helped make Zero’s products more attractive to law enforcement agencies. Now with removable battery packs, Zero motorcycles (with their lack of clutch, gears, or noise to worry about) were deemed to be the perfect vehicles for security, event safety, crowd control, and daily patrols, and the Scotts Valley Police Department signed up. In the USA today, more than 80 police and parks departments rely on Zero Motorcycles products to maintain law and order. Since then, police in Hong Kong and Bogota have also switched to Zero products to patrol the streets.
By 2012, Zero Motorcycles had become a global success- but there was still one thing they needed to prove to the world: that electric motorcycles could go the distance. Luckily, 2012 brought a new battery technology that improved battery life, allowing Zero’s motorcycle to operate with a range in excess of 100 miles – 114 in fact. Now armed with a more practical range, and supported by more versatile charging methods, even more customers flocked to their nearest Zero dealerships to get in on the electric action. In fact, in the first quarter of 2012, Zero posted an incredible 240% growth!
From Then Until Now
Zero’s success hasn’t waned at all over the last few years. In fact, the company has only gotten stronger. Thanks to rapid advances in technology, every single one of Zero’s latest motorcycles is better and more advanced the last. In 2013, Zero offered a model with a new battery, a more powerful motor, and sophisticated Bluetooth technology that allowed riders to customize their performance parameters for a truly tailor-made ride experience. It was impressive, but one year later Zero managed to impress the motorcycle industry once again with the Zero SR, a new electric bike that could produce a peak torque figure of 106 ft-lb, a 0-60 mph time of 3.3 seconds, with an overall top speed of 102 mph. These performance specs were unprecedented at the time, but the claims were easily corroborated when Zero managed to win in the electric division of the Pikes Peak International Hill Climb, thanks to a partnership with Hollywood Electrics.
The new interest in top end performance steered Zero into superbike territory, and to complement their new performance statistics, the designers at Zero decided to equip their latest model with high quality performance parts, such as Bosch ABS, Showa suspension, and Pirelli tires, to provide the best performance and maximize safety and control.
Now that Zero had produced groundbreaking street bikes as well as tough and trail-ready off-roaders, the company decided to marry the two in a perfect supermoto combination. In 2016, Zero released the FXS, a veritable powerhouse of a supermoto motorcycle that weighed in at less than 300 lbs, produced 70 lb-ft of torque, and offered light and agile maneuverability through every twist and turn. Zero also released the DSR, a 106 lb-ft dual-sport motorcycle that could thrash through trails and tear up highways in one simple, go-anywhere platform.
Today, Zero Motorcycles offers six top tier production electric motorcycle to the public (and a couple of specialist models to the military) with a strong focus on road riding. It’s true that Zero no longer fights for the “best electric motorcycle” uncontested these days, thanks to the rise of brands such as Energica, Alta Motors, Lightning, and Evoke, but for many riders Zero offer the most versatile and accessible electric experience on the market. The industry is still in its infancy, but Zero Motorcycles have taken the initiative and our single-handedly steering the industry into new and exciting directions.
Are Zero Motorcycles Reliable?
There are many reasons why some riders are avoiding going electric: the automatic transmission, the lack of noise, the limited ranges, but very few people seem to complain about the reliability of this modern technology. In essence, an electric motorcycle is a battery and a motor in frame – so what can really go wrong? Unfortunately, Zero hasn’t been included in any industry-wide reliability studies in recent years, so it’s hard to measure the reliability of their products and compare them with other industry standards. Luckily, we can take a look at another interesting metric to get a rough idea of the manufacturing and engineering standards that Zero owners can look forward to.
Since 2009, Zero has issued a total of 13 recalls affecting their motorcycles. The most significant recall was issued in 2013 and affected 667 models from the XU, S, DS, and FX range thanks to a controller firmware problems that could potentially shut off power to the motor without warning. Fortunately, Zero became aware of the problem early on and replaced the faulty parts. The second most serious recall was not as serious in the grand scheme of things. In 2012, Zero recalled 450 models from the S, XU, DS, MXD and XD ranges due to a fault with the brake light system, with the brake light only illuminating after excessive travel – again, this was fixed promptly, without any serious problems. 2012 also saw another major recall from Zero thanks to a faulty motor encoder signal that could cause some of Zero’s S and DS models to lose power unexpectedly.
One of the most recent recalls of Zero Motorcycles is one of the most ironic. In 2018, 36 Zero Motorcycles from the S, SR, DS, DSR, and FX range were recalled because they failed to comply with emissions laws…on paper. Some models were equipped with the wrong Vehicle Emissions Control Information label, which signified the wrong model year, which meant they failed in the “Certification” department. Fortunately, this only required a new label to fix. While 13 recall numbers might seem like a lot in a short space of time, it’s considerably less than the likes of BMW Motorrad, who have issued a total of 60 recalls in the United States since 2004, or Triumph’s 39 recalls since 2005. Besides, recalls should be viewed as a good thing, as it proves when a manufacturer is willing to own up to their mistakes and go the extra mile to remedy them. Generally, Zero Motorcycles should be viewed as reliable motorcycles.
Zero Motorcycles: Technology
Ever since the company was founded, Zero Motorcycles has been at the forefront of innovation in the electric motorcycle industry, continually developing new and exciting technologies that increase the range, the speed, and the appeal of their electric motorcycle range. One of the major concerns that many motorcyclists have about electric motorcycles is the lack of usable range – fortunately, Zero have worked extra hard to deliver the furthest range available without compromising on your ride experience. But there’s more to the company than impressive battery life and charge times. Zero Motorcycles have also developed new electric motor systems, innovative rider-motorcycle connection applications, and impressive security systems. There’s more to their motorcycles than two wheels.
The Z-Force Motor
At the heart of Zero’s contemporary motorcycles is their sophisticated Z-Force Motor, an in-house developed motor that has been optimized for the best power output without compromising size and weight. In fact, the Z-Force Motor is claimed to produce more that 130% more power and 150% more torque than other brushless motors of a similar size. It’s a straightforward motor that features an interior permanent magnet designed to improve performance and reach higher top speeds. This advanced electric technology doesn’t need any liquid or air-cooling, and it requires absolutely nothing in the way of routine maintenance either.
When working alongside Zero’s other technological marvels such as their Z-Force Battery, the motor can deliver power instantaneously, allowing for thrilling acceleration and 100% torque deliver from a straight standstill. With outrageous performance and little to no maintenance, the Z-Force Motor is one of the most advanced electric motors in the motorcycle industry.
The Z-Force Battery
The Z-Force Battery has been an integral part of Zero’s operation since the first mass-produced Zero models became available. Essentially, the success or failure of Zero’s entire operation has depended on the quality of their battery systems, and luckily, their batteries are fantastic. Utilizing the latest lithium-ion cell chemistry and innovative battery management systems, Zero have managed to evolve their battery pack and are constantly increasing the battery life, the overall range, and the amount of power each battery can deliver. Each battery also has an incredibly long life span too, with Zero reporting that each battery is capable of traveling over 200,000 miles whilst retaining over 80% of their original capacity, which is an impressive feat. What’s more, the new Z-Force Battery packs from Zero are modular, and designed to be removed and replaced in a matter of seconds. Battery pack upgrades are also available for those who need more range than the standard packs offer. Like the Z-Force Motor, the battery system is effectively maintenance free.
Battery life is one thing, but effectively charging it is another. To make life as easy as possible, Zero have developed a hassle free charging method that requires no extra or specialist equipment – you simply plug it in to your nearest electricity outlet, plug it in, and wait. Fast charging services are also available, and there are two ways of doing this. The “Charge Tank” option offers a 6x faster charging rate at Level 2 stations, or you use a “Quick Charger” accessory which plugs your Zero into two electrical outlets at the same time, reducing charging times by up to 60%. Zero’s charging systems claim to take you further per hour of charging than any other electric vehicle in the world, and very few owners even require their fast charging services. However, for those who like to charge on the go, it roughly takes the length of time to drink a cup of coffee to add an extra 30 miles of range to your battery “tank.”
The Zero Motorcycles App
Like many modern motorcycle manufacturers, Zero offers a comprehensive Bluetooth enabled app that connects their motorcycles to their riders, in both iPhone and Android form, to help riders tailor their ride experience. The app allows riders to adjust their motorcycles performance, either enabling sportier or more economical riding modes to help increase range or adjust power delivery. The app also has a number of smart features, such as the ability to display the state of a battery’s life in real-time, calculating range and indicating how long a charge time will take. For owners of newer Zero models (from 2017 onward), the app can also update their motorcycle’s firmware, saving precious time and money, and increasing the gap between service intervals.
Intelligent Anti-Theft Systems
Zero Motorcycles recently teamed up with British security brand Datatool to test a new anti-theft device for electric motorcycles. Datatool has a long of supplying quality GPS tracking systems to the motorcycle industry, but their products are usually designed for 12-volt motorcycle batteries, rather than the unique battery arrangements found on Zero’s advanced electric bikes. The unique technical requirements were no problem for Datatool, and their new product has been found to work with amazing accuracy, and is able to track down a missing motorcycle within minutes of being reported stolen, and within a meter radius of the missing bikes location.
Are Zero Motorcycles Really Eco-Friendly?
Many critics of electric vehicles have questioned their “zero emissions” claims. While it’s true that no vehicle is currently truly emission-free due to the fact that they’re powered by energy harvested from the burning of fossil fuels or other polluting methods, technically Zero Motorcycles can be charged with solar power or wind turbines – but that’s not exactly practical. Despite not really being emissions-free, there is still a good reason to get involved in the electric revolution.
More than 50 independent studies and investigations have agreed that motorists driving electric vehicles produce fewer emissions than those driving conventional internal combustion engine vehicles. By going electric, plug-ins would provide huge carbon emissions for 49 states across the country, particularly in the regions that are heavily dependent on coal power. If everyone switched to electric vehicles, it’s predicted that emissions could be reduced by up to 90%.
It’s a figure that will only get better and better in the future too, as the wider electrical grid gets cleaner and more efficient. Cleaner energy makes any electric vehicle cleaner to run, and with more people switching to electric vehicles, densely populated areas will get cleaner and less polluted. It’s better for everyone. And it’s also economically attractive too, according to this 2005 survey from the US Census Bureau’s American Community Survey Data:
“Americans spend in excess of 100 hours commuting to work each year. For the nation as one, the average daily commute to work lasted about 24.3 minutes in 2003. A motorcycle or a scooter does not offer a lot of passenger room or storage space, but most get far better mileage than even a hybrid car and at a far cheaper price. Moreover, two wheelers have the added advantage of maneuverability to beat the rush hour traffic. With fuel prices skyrocketing, motorcycles and scooters can be a practical fuel-economy transportation option for the typical half hour drive to work.”
The Current Zero Line-Up
The Zero S & Zero SR
Zero’s most popular road motorcycles are their naked street models, the S and SR. Both models feature fierce acceleration, sports inspired ergonomics, and aggressive, sharp lines. The models differ in their power outputs, but both come in different flavors with optional battery extras that increase range and power, top speeds, and charge times. The top model in this range is the Zero SR ZF14.4 with a Power Tank battery add-on, which offers a stunning 223 miles of city riding range, 112 miles of highway riding, 116 lb-ft of peak torque, and a top speed of 102 mph.
The Zero DS & DSR
Riders looking for a more versatile platform will be interested in the Zero DS and DSR models. The “DS” designation stands for Dual Sport, and as such these models can overcome a wide range of challenging terrains whilst performing exceptionally well on sealed roads at the same time. Boating long-travel suspension, dual-purpose tires, and bold, upright riding stance, the DS and DSR are ideal motorcycles for those who like to explore the roads less traveled. The Zero DSR ZF14.4 equipped with a Power Tank add-on can enjoy up to 204 miles of city riding, or 97 at highway speeds, boasts 116 lb-ft of peak torque, and can hit top speeds of 102 mph.
The Zero FX
The Zero FX is as close to Zero’s original electric motorcycle possible as you can currently get: it’s a versatile dual-purpose motorcycle that takes its inspiration straight from Zero’s off-road roots, but with a touch of modern luxury that makes it an ideal two-wheeled weapon for navigating the busy city streets at the same time. It’s a light and nimble machine that can dodge traffic and weave through overgrown trails, putting a smile on the riders face whatever the terrain. The FX currently comes in two configurations: the base model FX with a modular battery pack, or the top level FX that comes with a more advanced, hard-wired battery system. The top of the range model boasts a usable city range of 91 miles, or 31 miles at highway speeds, 78 lb-ft of peak torque, 46 horsepower, and a top speed of 85 mph.
The Zero FXS
For more road-focused hooligans, Zero have the FXS on offer: an electric supermoto motorcycle that can maneuver with pinpoint precision, handle with extreme ease, and shred with the best of them, all in a rugged supermoto package. The top level FSX comes with Pirelli Diablo Rosso II tires, and a potent motor that can produce 78 lb-ft of peak torque, 46 horsepower, top speeds of 85 mph, and can endure up to 100 miles of city riding, 40 miles of highway riding, or 57 miles in a combination of the two.
The Zero Company
In a relatively short time Zero Motorcycles has managed to evolve from a small one-man operation into a global company and a much revered industry leader. The secret to Zero’s fast success is the company’s ability to amass funding. Being an eco-friendly company makes it an appealing option for investors, and within years of its founding, Zero managed to secure a tidy $900,000 funding from the California Energy Commission, a sum that was matched by the city of Santa Cruz. Before that, Zero was able to raise funding courtesy of the Invus Group, and that partnership exists to the present day. Thanks to Invus’s funding, Zero Motorcycles has managed to stay afloat, even after being faced with a disastrous global financial crisis.
Today, Zero Motorcycles has transformed into a bold global company with dealers and model owners around the world. The company boasts a commanding presence in 15 countries, including Andorra, Australia, Austria, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Portugal, Spain, Switzerland, the United Kingdom, and of course, the United States. Though the company has regional offices and distribution centers, all of Zero’s products are manufactured at the Zero factory in Scotts Valley, California. It only takes 240 minutes to completely assemble an entire Zero electric motorcycle, starting from the installation of the battery cell module, working outwards to the chassis and exterior components.
Zero Motorcycle Dealerships
Currently, Zero Motorcycles operates more than 40 dealerships and sellers in the USA alone. The number of dealers is small but Zero is continually expanding and more dealerships are promised in the near future to help cope with the growing demand for their electric products. Zero’s current dealerships oversee the sales and service of Zero’s motorcycles, as well as acting as charging stations and accessories sellers. Since Zero’s motorcycles require little home maintenance, owners are advised to bring their motorcycle in for a full diagnostic check-up at pre-determined intervals so that their motorcycles keep running smoothly and efficiently.
Pied Piper Dealership Rankings
Zero’s dealerships have been included in the last two Pied Piper Prospect Satisfaction Index surveys and scored rather well. Pied Piper is a marketing company that specializes in mystery shopper assessments of brands, ranking their performance. The study ranks sales and service staff at dealerships from a wide range of manufacturers operating the length and breadth of the country. In 2016, Zero Motorcycles scored in an impressive 7th out of 18 manufacturers. In 2017, Zero slipped down three places, but still remained near the industry average. The study found that Zero’s staff were less likely to ask for a sale, request contact information, or sell their dealership compared to 2016. However, Zero Motorcycles were still counted as some of the most likely to offer a test ride to potential customers. Zero also ranked much higher than the likes of Kawasaki, Yamaha, KTM, and Husqvarna, who were in the bottom four places.
Additional Customer Service
Zero Motorcycles also provides a wealth of information online for those who can’t reach their dealerships or who have questions that dealers can’t answer. Full manuals for all of their models are available online, along with recall notifications, warranty and ownership transfer services, and important customer service numbers and postal addresses.
Zero Motorcycles: Finance
Going green is a difficult decision. Their models and strange and exotic, and the price points can be incredibly high, but thanks to Zero’s partnership with commercial financing gurus FreedomRoad Financial, going electric has never been easier. And there’s more than good financial plans too: there are government incentives and tax breaks in place in some states, making your electric dream a viable option.
Customers who qualify for FreedomRoad Financial’s financing scheme can enjoy low-APR rates, no down payment offers, and monthly repayments as low as $133 per month on current year models. Naturally these deals vary depending on a range of factors, from your financial situation to what model you’re looking at buying. In any case, check in with your nearest Zero Motorcycles dealer for the most up to date information.
Different states, regions, and cities in the USA offer a wide range of incentives to help persuade riders onto electric motorcycles. Zero is actively working with many organizations and governing bodies to help make electric motorcycles as accessible as possible to the riding public. As such, many governments have responded and now offer tax breaks and credits, special parking zones, free public charging station, and clean air grants to potential Zero Motorcycles customers. These incentives appear and disappear at lightning pace, so check with your state and region to get the most up-to-date information. These deals are currently in place:
California: In California, Zero owners can enjoy a statewide $900 rebate, while riders in the San Joaquin Valley can enjoy a $1000 rebate, and riders from Monterey, San Benito, and Santa Cruz Counties can enjoy a $900 rebate.
Massachusetts: Massachusetts residents can receive tax rebates of up to $750.
Maryland: Maryland riders can claim up to $100/kWh excise tax credit for using electric transport.
Arizona: Arizona’s government provides a reduced vehicle license tax for Zero Motorcycles owners.
Illinois: Zero Motorcycles owners from Illinois can benefit from a reduced vehicle registration fee.
Federal Tax Credits
Zero motorcycles bought in 2017 are eligible for a 10% E-motorcycle Federal Tax Credit valued at up to $2,500. This credit can only be claimed retro-actively and currently only applies to the 2017 calendar year, with models purchased in 2018 not yet available for eligibility. This is a tax credit and not a tax deduction, and its value is determined by the final bill of sale price including all extras bought on the same invoice, and the credit only applied to new electric motorcycles or ex-demonstration motorcycles.
Partnership With Curtiss Motorcycles
Aside from racing partnerships and teaming up with military and law enforcement agencies from around the world, Zero has also entered into an unusual partnership with Curtiss Motorcycles, supplying their electric powertrains for the company’s new models. If you’re not familiar with Curtiss Motorcycles, you might better recognize them from their old name: Confederate Motors. In 2017, Confederate Motors made a shocking announcement that they were going to retire their Confederate name and stop producing motorcycles powered by internal combustion engines. Instead, they announced that they were going to build luxury electric motorcycles instead, using powertrains supplied by Zero. The new venture was christened Curtiss Motorcycles, a tribute to the great aviator and land speed record breaker Glenn Curtiss.
Zero Motorcycles Racing
Like the above mentioned Glenn Curtiss, the team at Zero Motorcycles have a passion for speed and putting their machinery to the test. Though Zero has enjoyed forays into a number of racing series, the company has enjoyed the best success at the Pikes Peak International Hill Climb, where it has frequently entered into the electric motorcycle class for the iconic race to the clouds. Zero has managed to win their event in the years 2013, 2014, and 2014. In the 2014 race, a Zero FX motorcycles rode into the Pikes Peak record books after crossing the line in under 12 minutes – an industry first for an electric motorcycle.
Zero has managed to chalk quite a few records up over the last few years. In 2012, Brandon Miller managed to set a Bonneville Land Speed Record when he piloted his Zero S ZF6 across the flats with an average speed of 101.652 mph over a one mile course, beating the previous record for modified production motorcycles with a weight of less than 150 kilos by an incredible 23 mph. And of course, don’t forget Zero’s pioneering Electricross event from 2009 that saw Team Hotchalk set a Guinness World Record for clocking up the furthest distance traveled by an electric of-road motorcycle in 24 hours, with a final mileage of over 500 miles.
Die-hard Zero riders have also set numerous records from crossing the USA in record times on their electric Zero machines too. To make things even more interesting, Zero has also battled against gasoline motorcycles in a number of racing competitions, such as flat-track, hare scrambles, supermoto, and supercross races.
The Zero Factory Tour
Occasionally, Zero Motorcycles offers factory tours at its Scotts Valley facility. These factory tours are generally held in conjunction with a large-scale promotional event that attracts motorcyclists to take part in test rides, learn about how Zero Motorcycles work, and how much they can save by going electric. On top of that, a short factory tour is often offered. Unfortunately, this seems to be the only way to get involved in a factory tour. However, there are reports that small tours can be organized by inquiring at your nearest Zero Motorcycles dealership.
5 Things You Didn’t Know About Zero Motorcycles
#01. Zero Motorcycles has come a long way since it first began as Electricross back in 2006. Not only is it a high-flying motorcycle manufacturer in its own right, but by 2014, more than 25 police departments in the US were using Zero Motorcycles for their regular patrols – and that is pretty impressive!
#02. In 2013, “Electric Terry” Hershner successfully managed to become the first person in history to ride an electric motorcycle from one side of the United States of America to the other. Terry left from Sand Diego in California and ended his trip in Jacksonville, Florida, completing the feat in five days, or 135 hours in the saddle, using only pre-existing charging infrastructure. Since then, Terry has become a product tested for Zero, clocking up even more miles on electric motorcycles!
#03. In 2008, Zero Motorcycles was paid a visit by comedian and self-confessed gearhead Jay Leno. After studying the Zero X and taking it for a thorough test drive, Leno described the Zero X as the “future of motorcycling” describing the experience “you could go through a bird preserve and not even bother anybody.”
#04. Thanks to the excellent review from Jay Leno and after the amazing feats that Zero had accomplished became public knowledge, when Zero launched the Zero S in 2009, there was so much interest that the Zero company website crashed.
#05. Though Zero Motorcycles was originally founded by Neal Saiki, he suddenly left the company in 2011 to enter into the Igor I. Sikorski Human Powered Helicopter Competition, an event he had previously entered in 1989 whilst studying at Cal Poly. There are plenty of critics of this story, with many suggesting that he was forced out of his own company instead, which is a more plausible story than the official line of entering an obscure aviation competition…
Zero Motorcycles: FAQ
#01. How Much Do Zero Motorcycles Cost? Zero Motorcycles range between a modest $8,495 for the lowest spec version of the entry-level Zero FX, to the far more expensive $19,390 for the top specification Zero SR or DSR models. They are expensive, but many owners insist that the high buying price is easily offset by the money saved by saying goodbye to gasoline.
#02. Where Are Zero Motorcycles Made? All of Zero’s motorcycles and components are manufactured and assembled at the company’s factory in Scotts Valley, California. Complete motorcycles are then shipped to regional distribution centers, before being transported to local dealerships for final sale.
#03. Are Zero Motorcycles Automatic? Yes. Given that electric motors can successfully deliver power without the hassle of a gearbox, there’s no need for gear selection or a clutch. At present, all major production electric motorcycles are equipped with automatic transmission, except for models from the Italian manufacturer Tacita, who are actively fitting “gearboxes” in a bid to appeal to traditional motorcyclists.
#04. How Fast Do Zero Motorcycles Go? Depending on what model is purchased and what power pack option is installed, Zero Motorcycles can hit top speeds of approximately 102 mph, with the lowest reported top speeds being 85 mph. The top speeds might not be impressive, but the acceleration speeds certainly are.
#05. Do Zero Motorcycles Make Noise? While electric motorcycles are quieter than their internal combustion engine counterparts, they aren’t as quiet as many advertisements lead you to believe. They do make a “whining” noise, but it’s hard to give an accurate decibel reading of their actual volume, since they only make noise whilst in motion – and when in motion, other noise factors come into play.