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.
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.
“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.”
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.
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:
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.
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.
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.