Today, Zero Motorcycles announced its 2018 model line, and while the lineup remains unchanged from a model name standpoint, that doesn’t mean the electric motorcycle company has been sitting still.

Zero’s battery packs have typically been amongst the most power dense in the EV industry, and the 2018 batteries have been boosted by an additional 10% capacity. Three new batteries will be available for the 2018 Zero models: the ZF14.4, ZF7.2, and ZF3.6 batteries. The ZF3.6 battery is contained within the optional, range-extending Power Tank (and the Zero FX/FXS platform), while the ZF14.4 and ZF7.2 are the built-in battery packs on the S/DS and SR/DSR models. When the ZF3.6 is combined with the ZF14.4, the combo delivers 18 KWh of energy for “the longest range of any two wheel EV on the market with a city range of up to 223 miles,” according to Zero. The company offers a five-year, unlimited-mileage warranty for its lithium-ion batteries.

2018 Zero Motorcycles

As charging stations become more common, the ability to charge a Zero Motorcycle while out on the road is a potential game changer.

While all Zero Motorcycles come equipped with an onboard charger that connects to standard household 110-volt outlets, the newly announced 6kW Charge Tank allows equipped bikes to charge up to six times faster than with the standard wall outlet. The Charge Tank features the J1772 EV connector found at the increasingly common Level 2 charging stations across the United states. For the fastest possible charge, the Charge Tank and the standard charger can be used simultaneously. The Charge Tank, a factory-installed option ($2,295), can charge the ZF7.2 models in one hour (0–95%) and drops the charge time of the ZF14.4 models to about two hours – when combined with the standard charger.

2018 Zero Motorcycles

Plugging a J1772 EV connector into the Charge Tank.

“Zero’s new 6kW Charge Tank allows riders to charge at speeds of up to 103 miles per hour of charging at any of the growing number of over 14,000 Level 2 charging stations in the U.S. or around the world,” said Zero Motorcycles CTO Abe Askenazi. “This means riders can add 30 miles of ‘fuel’ in the time it takes to stop for a cup of coffee or fully recharge over lunch. This completely changes the utility of electric motorcycles by eliminating long recharging times.”

2018 Zero Motorcycles

The Zero motor: more powerful for 2018 and still maintenance-free.

Additionally, Zero models utilizing ZF7.2 batteries deliver 11% more rear-wheel torque than before, benefitting from new gearing and a higher maximum motor rpm. Zero S and Zero DS models featuring the ZF13.0 will experience an even larger performance increase at highway speeds thanks to new tuning that delivers 30% more torque in those situations.

To make sure that Zero owners can benefit from the company’s constant firmware refinement, over-the-air updates have been enabled in the latest Zero Motorcycles mobile app to allow 2017 and 2018 models to be upgraded at home, similar to what Tesla does with its electric cars. No longer will owners of these models be required to visit a dealer to install firmware updates and make sure they maintain the current levels of peak performance available from their Zero motorcycles.

2018 Zero Motorcycles

The ability to change a Zero Motorcycle’s operating parameters has been available for several years. Now, Zero adds over-the-air firmware updates to the app’s capabilities.

In a recent meeting with MO, Zero CEO, Sam Paschel, noted that these limited changes to the model line are a sign of the growing maturity of Zero’s EV motorcycle technology. He also said that the company is now looking beyond just the tech-focused early adopters from the existing motorcycle community and was beginning a push to attract new riders with the fun, practicality, and simplicity of owning a Zero. An example he cited was the lack of any appreciable maintenance on Zeros, with the primary maintenance items being tires and brake pads since the entire powertrain (including the belt, which should last the life of the motorcycle) is maintenance free.

Pricing for the top-of-the-line Zero SR and Zero DSR increases by $500, but the remainder of the 2018 model line will return with the aforementioned improvements with no change in retail pricing. To see the new Zeros and their 2018 colors, go to Zero’s website today, or you can visit your local Zero dealership later this month.

For a breakdown of what 2018 holds for each Zero model, read on:

Zero S/DS

The Zero S and Zero DS models return with a larger base battery in the form of the ZF7.2 ($10,995) and retain the 2017 expanded battery capacity in the ZF13.0 ($13,995). Both versions can accept the Power Tank and Charge Tank options.

Zero SR/DSR

The Zero SR’s and DSR’s power capacity grows by 10% in the form of the ZF14.4. This results in a claimed range of 223 city miles in a single charge with the Power Tank in place. The Zero SR will accept the Power Tank and Charge Tank options and carries a base retail price of $16,495.

Zero FX/FXS

The Zero FX and Zero FXS continue to offer their swappable batteries in the ZF3.6 ($8,495) configuration. The FX and FXS receive the new ZF7.2 battery in their larger configuration and retail for $10,495.

  • SerSamsquamsh

    Gold wheels really work on me. I looked. Still more expensive than a Super Duke GT!

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    • Jon Jones

      Funny, I rattle-canned the wheels on my GS1000EN gold years ago.

      Thought I was the coolest cat in town. It did look pretty good.

  • Phil W

    Still expensive for what is a local ride machine. I’m not going to buy a $2300 option so I can only hang out for an hour or so on the road.

    • RMP52

      $2300 on top of a $11000 to $16500 base price -Yikes! Even the base FX without the charge tank option is $8500. I really like the idea of a quiet electric bike, but unless I come into an unexpected windfall, don’t think I’ll ever have one.

  • Matt O

    I road one of these earlier this year, I can see the appeal and it rips around the city streets but I didn’t like it. Hard to put my finger on it but it was less engaging and I didn’t feel connected to the machine. It would make an excellent commuter but as a sporting ride? No thanks.

    • Kenneth

      The lack of the need to think about repeatedly operating a clutch and shifting gears to stay within a powerband is probably the reason for feeling it to be “less engaging.”

      • Matt O

        It’s more than just that, you’re not wrong its also the way the regenerative braking works with the throttle means that you don’t really need to use the brake lever nearly at all in casual riding. Plus the near silence.

        • Kenneth

          After driving a Chevy Bolt for the first time, last weekend, I can easily see buying an electric car, next time around, for those very features (quiet, smooth, and strong powertrain, and 1-pedal acceleration and braking). But yeah, riding a bike is (usually) intended to be a more sporting kind of activity.

        • Sayyed Bashir

          You miss the noise, vibration and heat of an engine, like a living thing. Instead you are riding a electric drill.

  • Mark Vizcarra

    Sport touring version please with bigger capacity.

  • michael32853hutson@yahoo.com

    alright i can’t deny it it is a good looking bike! but i feel like you’ll have to carry a PA and a recording of a piston engined bike with you,to let folks know you’re coming! still the possibility of off road use as a stealth vehicle(hunting,military) is promising;they’d be great around town& in areas where charging ports exist

  • hipsabad

    i hope the MO staff aren’t losing their short-term memory in their golden years; not more than a few months ago they reported on the limits to the claimed range of Zero in an article about the appropriateness of a Zero DS as a courier bike in LA.

    http://www.motorcycle.com/features/is-an-electric-bike-perfect-for-courier-duty.html

    I’m a fan of lectric bike potential, the faster charging is sweet but 10% more on not near enough isn’t much news. Call me when it’s a 50 or 100 percent improvement 😉

  • Mad4TheCrest

    Still waiting for a guaranteed 100 mile minimum range over a mixed freeway mountain twisties city street run. They are nearly there, but not quite.