There has been a great deal of talk and excitement about the electrification of transportation that is expected to occur over the next few years. The Prius proved to everyone that electric technology can work as well as or better than only gas power. Now, companies such as Tesla and Mission Motors are proving that high-performance and electric not only belong in the same sentence but that these terms are increasingly becoming synonymous.
How far along are we? Its already common to see Teslas’ quietly cruising around many parts of California and partially electric bicycles are becoming an increasingly regular sighting.
Yesterday, while walking around a residential neighborhood in San Francisco, I noticed a motorcycle that had a slightly different appearance than most bikes and gravitated closer to confirm my initial impression. A sleek white battery casing with the words Zero Motorcycles had replaced the gas powered engine. This all-electric motorcycle, produced by a Santa Cruz, California company and built in Scotts Valley, California is called the Zero-S and is already available and selling for around $9,000.
According to the driver, the motorcycle is capable of two hours of city travel (about 50 miles) on a single charge. Not enough for a long-distance cruise but certainly good enough to get around town or to and from work. The motorcycle is a plug-in and can charge via a 110 volt electrical outlet common everywhere in the US. For a full recharge it takes about 4 hours. For a quicker charge, the motorcycle can also use a 220 volt outlet, the type of outlet commonly used for clothes dryers. Based on the cost of electricity across the US, a recharge will run about $0.40 which puts the cost per mile driven at less than $0.01. To see the full spec sheet, click here.
A quick conversation with the driver of the electric motorcycle revealed that he was new to electric motorcycles but that the ride was not so different from a gas powered bike.
“The power is great for the hills of San Francisco and the acceleration is comparable to what I would expect from a gas-powered bike.”
He also liked the experience of the silent ride where “all you hear is the sound of the tires on the pavement.” His main hang-up with the bike?
“I’ve been riding for a long time and for me, if a bike can’t exceed 150 miles per hour, it doesn’t perform up to my expectations.”
While the Zero S motorcycle does not meet this criteria, it tops out at closer to 55 miles per hour, it is meant to “take on urban environments and encourage the occasional detour.”
For city dwellers or those who do not travel via freeways to work or school, the Zero S will meet or exceed the legally allowable speed limit in just about every city area of the United States. Although some motorcyclists will echo the call for a higher top speed, those who want emission-free, low-cost transportation with a greatly reduced chance of speeding tickets will rejoice that one more option exists for two wheel enthusiasts and that option is available all across the US today.