Terry Hershner First To Win Iron Butt Award Aboard Electric Motorcycle

Troy Siahaan
by Troy Siahaan

EV enthusiasts should be well aware of the name Terry Hershner by now. Aboard his 2012 Zero S, Hershner has traveled from coast to coast (twice), through Canada, and racked up over 66,000 electric miles. Now we can add one more accomplishment to his growing list: Iron Butt Award winner. That’s right, Hershner and his heavily modified Zero S, traveled 1000 in under 24 hours, marking the first time the feat has been successfully accomplished aboard an electric motorcycle.

Hershner would begin and end his ride at the Chargepoint Headquarters in San Jose, California. Chargepoint proved to be a fitting location, as the company heads the largest infrastructure of EV charging stations in the country. In addition, Chargepoint charging stations record data received from the vehicle during each stop. This would be important in the documentation of Hershner’s ride, as this is one of the items the Iron Butt committee would use to verify his mileage.

The ride route was something Hershner spent considerable time planning beforehand, as he’d head south to the Mexican border, turn around and come back. He estimated the trip would take 23 hours, 38 minutes. His actual time: 22 hours, 57 minutes. He could have done better, too, if he hadn’t taken some wrong turns in Los Angeles. Of course, rider fatigue is a big concern during challenges like this and Terry attributed this as the reason he misread his directions.

When all is said and done, Terry reports back “Official numbers many have been waiting for: 1046.7 miles, 22 hours 57 minutes, 126.883 kWh electricity to carry 950 pounds at speeds of 70-80 mph that distance, or 121 Wh per mile (including charger losses) at 75 mph average. Not too shabby!” What he forgot to mention is the trip only cost him $21.43 in electricity!

Chargers, chargers and more chargers!

It’s worth noting that Hershner’s 2012 Zero S is far from a stock motorcycle. Apart from the extremely streamlined bodywork designed and fitted with the help of none other than Craig Vetter, Terry’s bike is fitted with numerous chargers crammed underneath all that bodywork, netting him the ability to draw up to 24kW of juice, should he be plugged in to four Level 2 plugs.

So fast can he charge that he didn’t even have time to eat during his ride. All he consumed during his 1000-mile ride was a bottle of water and a banana!

Setting records aboard his Zero S is nothing new for Hershner, as just a few short weeks ago, he won the Vetter Fuel Economy Challenge aboard the same bike used during the Iron Butt.

Troy Siahaan
Troy Siahaan

Troy's been riding motorcycles and writing about them since 2006, getting his start at Rider Magazine. From there, he moved to Sport Rider Magazine before finally landing at Motorcycle.com in 2011. A lifelong gearhead who didn't fully immerse himself in motorcycles until his teenage years, Troy's interests have always been in technology, performance, and going fast. Naturally, racing was the perfect avenue to combine all three. Troy has been racing nearly as long as he's been riding and has competed at the AMA national level. He's also won multiple club races throughout the country, culminating in a Utah Sport Bike Association championship in 2011. He has been invited as a guest instructor for the Yamaha Champions Riding School, and when he's not out riding, he's either wrenching on bikes or watching MotoGP.

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