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Intermot2012: Zero Motorcycles - Making Electric Go Faster

4
October
2012
  Posted at 08:00:00 AM
  File under  Electrical Exhibitions Zero Motorcycles
  Author: Mike Werner
  Location: Normandy, France

Intermot logo
Zero logo
Although the Zero Open link in a new window press conference was on Wednesday, the day I couldn't be at Intermot Open link in a new window thanks to the Belgian railroads who decided to have an all-out strike, I still managed to visit the Zero stand on Tuesday.

Reports were already out that Zero had successfully updated their main electric motorcycle, their new flagship, to not only look like a real motorcycle, but have the performance and range that would make this electric bike acceptable for general use.

Click for bigger version of Zero S
Open image in a new window

The new Zero S has doubled the range of their bikes, under ideal riding conditions you can ride a good 220 kilometers (137 miles) on a single charge. And if you have the "S" configured with the rapid charging option (CHAdeMO - something you can always bolt on afterwards), the 95% full charge can be done within an hour.

Click for bigger version of Zero S
Open image in a new window

The top speed of the Zero electric motorcycle is far above the maximum authorized in most European countries, namely 153 kph. With its 52 horsepowers (40 kW) you get 92 Nm torque, enough to drag race most sportscars. You have a toggle switch that allows you by simply pressing a button on the dashboard go into Sports or Eco mode. Don't need to range but need to race that Porsche? Switch to Sports and go for it!

Electric motorcycles aren't "measured" in engine size, but in the battery power output, and in the case of Zero, you can easily "upgrade" to a bigger size if you notice you need more performance and range. You can go from 2.8 kWh to 11.4 kWh.

Click for bigger version of Zero S
Open image in a new window

Another really nice technology addition to the Zero is the ability to hookup (wireless) your smartphone (iPhone or Android) to your bike. Hooked up via Bluetooth allows you to not only monitor the performance of your motorcycles on your smartphone, but also to configure it. Need more or less torque? Need to increase the speed? How much further can you ride at the current speed and battery level? Configure how much power goes from the brakes to the battery (regenerative braking)? It's all on the smartphone in front of you.

As for design, the Zero S has gotten itself a real motorcycle frame design. From a distance, even closeup, you'll not be able to tell if it's electric. You can make the seating a solo configuration or a dual seat one.

Looks like a winner to me. The new technology used will make electric motorcycles more and more accepted by the general riding public. The only factor holding the sales of electric bikes down is the price, but that should become more interesting over time.





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