It’s mind boggling to think that mass-produced street-legal electric motorcycles have only existed for 10 years. In 2009, Zero Motorcycles launched the Zero S and ushered in the electric age of two-wheeled street-legal transportation. During that model year, the S wasn’t just the only electric motorcycle in production, it was the only electric vehicle of any kind being mass-produced. To say that Zero was ahead of the curve is an understatement, but that early start has given the company the time – 13 years from its inception – to develop into its PR claim of being “the global leader in electric motorcycles and powertrains.” If your products created an entire category of vehicles, this is more than PR fluff. It is a demonstrable fact.
Zero Motorcycles is teasing a new SR/F model through its social media channels, promising full details to come on Feb. 25. While a new model is notable, the more important news is that the SR/F will introduce an entirely new platform that will eventually expand to include other future models.
The truly all-purpose do-everything electric motorcycle still hovers just out of range (due to lack of range), but for those fortunate enough to own more than one motorcycle, and a job with a non-ridiculous commute, an electric bike is a fantastic way to go. Plug it in when you clock in in the morning, plug it in again while you swizzle your martini when you arrive back at the estate. Ride right past gas stations and all the naysayers who bray that electricity production burns fuel too. In 2016, nearly 10% of California’s energy came from solar; the goal is 33% by 2020.
We’ve tested plenty of electric motorcycles over the years here at MO. In the process, we’ve been able to witness firsthand how rapidly e-bikes have evolved. Through it all, however, we get asked the same questions over and over: 1. How far will it go on a charge? and 2. How long will it take to recharge the batteries? There used to be a third question – how fast will it go? – but through our testing and experiences with the greater e-bike community, speed no longer seems to be a concern amongst the critics.
We say it every time we test one of these things, but electric motorcycle technology really is advancing at an astonishing pace. For proof of this, look towards the Isle of Man TT, where the fastest e-bikes are averaging more than 100-mph laps – something impossible just five years ago. In fact, it took gas bikes over 50 years to do a “ton up” lap. E-bikes? Four. How’s that for progress?
As fans of electric motorcycles, we were excited when late last year Zero announced a new model, the SR. A high performance version of the company’s flagship streetbike, the Zero S, the SR answered the call to those wanting more. More what, you ask? Try more power and significantly more torque. And with the optional $2495 Power Tank, which is essentially an additional 2.8kWh module, S, DS, and SR models have the ability to travel up to 171 miles in urban use.