Zero Electric Motorcycle

Zero electric motorcycleJust one month ago, the Enertia electric motorcycle from Brammo Motorsports looked liked a winner from the price / performance perspective and now following close behind is the Zero electric motorcycle, an electric motocross bike being adapted for road use which promises to push the price even lower. Zero has been selling the dirt bike for some time at a price of $6900. With the addition of lights and turn signals and a bit of paperwork, they expect the bike to be on the road in a few months.

The road version of the Zero X dirt bike will be a little larger and more powerful but the price of $6900 should remain the same. Range is 40 miles and recharge time is 3 hours. Compared to the Enertia's 45 mile range, 3 hour recharge and $11,995 price tag, the Zero may appeal to even more green riders. Zero doesn't cite specific top speed or performance numbers other than to say "fastest acceleration in its class" and "outperforms comparable gas bikes" which should mean acceptable for anyone looking at one of these. The bike only weighs 120 pounds! If you were riding this to work and back, a recharge at either end would give you a good commuter bike if your commute does not involve high speeds and even without the recharge, many could make the round trip.

This is certainly a basic motorcycle and the dirt bike design may not appeal to everyone, the Enertia looks a lot more finished but what's important is the price point. If they keep on this track, expect to see more of these, soon.

Link: Zero Motorcycles via AutoblogGreen

Lightning Lithium


  1. Ry says

    It states ” best acceleration in its class”, What class is that ?
    I viewed the U tube videos, looks awesome .

  2. todd says

    What’s the point of giving something a 40 mile range when it can’t reach high speeds? My commute is 32 miles each way which is right in line but doing it all on surface streets would take quite a long time, add more miles, and shorten its range. This still isn’t a contender

    If only my 32 mile commute was along some windy two lane back road out in the middle of nowhere.


    p.s. Tesla motors is currently looking for a Battery Tech if you want a dream job

  3. GenWaylaid says

    Here’s a clue to what the company considers the bike’s “class” to be, taken from their website:
    “The Zero ZDrive™ electric engine delivers over 20 horsepower and similar performance to a 250cc gas powered off-road motorcycle.”

    I’ve seen the off-road version in person and I’ve talked to the builders. It’s my impression that the on-road version will essentially be a supermoto conversion.

    One feature that wasn’t mentioned is the quick-change battery pack. The whole 35 lb pack can be popped out and replaced so you don’t have to wait for a recharge. If you fit a cargo rack to the bike, you could even double the range by carrying a spare battery along.

    They do offer different gearing ratios, and it’s my understanding that with tall enough gearing the top speed can be 60 mph. Of course, the faster you go the less the range.

  4. GenWaylaid says

    I agree that the design is purely functional. I’d like to see what these guys could do if they designed a road bike from the ground up.

  5. Stefan says

    I’ve been kinda looking at one of these for a while. (The company used to be

    I think the street legal version is only street legal because in California it’s technically considered an electric bicycle (restricting you to 25mph). So for commuting purposes it only makes sense on surface streets.

    I live and work in San Francisco, so it’s been tempting me as something I can use for my daily commute, and also take out for some dirt riding or supermoto action on the weekends.

  6. todd says

    Stefan, there may be more to the registration thing. Remember all those Corbin Sparrows we used to see riding (driving) around? They are all considered motorcycles and are highway legal. It must be based on how the manufacturer classifies it. It does seem to be a very grey area in the Vehicle Code, I doubt there is any urgency to better define it.

    Current code is based on engine capacity except in the case of mopeds (motorized bicycles) which also considers HP (no more than 2) or Watts (no more than 1kW but 2HP = 1.5kW so electrics get the short end of the stick). If this thing is 20HP, that’s 15kW, 10X times that allowed a motorized bicycle. I’d say it was a motorcycle.


  7. Bebo says

    I thought I should provide feedback since I’ve actually ridden the zero.

    The Zero is not perfect but it is dang close for a 1st generation machine. It is well engineered and well thought out.

    The bike excels in its performance and handling. It is well balanced and has pretty impressive braking and suspension.

    And… it is an acceleration junkies dream! Since, electric motors have near instantaneous access to their full powerband, the Zero is the quickest 0 to 40 mph bike I’ve ever ridden. I nearly looped the bike twice trying to hit wide open throttle from a stand still. Eventually I got the knack.

    Several performance characteristics such as throttle responsiveness and top speed are user programmable via a PC. You can really customize the bike to suit your riding preferences. One thing I realized right away was that you could alter the bike to suit a whole family’s riding needs without needing multiple bikes.

    There’s a lot more I could write, but I was blown away by the performance. I just started racing mini gp bikes here in Texas and they are “turtles” off the line compared to the Zero. I’d love to race it against the gas bikes. Even if I had to dial the motor down to a slower top speed I’d still be able to come out of the corners so much faster than anyone else and I’d lose no time to shifting. My concern would be how much the actual range when you’re riding it hard.

    I’m convinced that electric is the future and if you appreciate performance you should give it a look.

    Most new 250 cc dirt bikes have an MSRP (about $6500) a little less than the Zero but there really is a lot less maintenance involved. No carb to worry about getting gummed up. No oil changes. I’m willing to pay a little more just for that. Less wrenching. More riding.

    The battery packs are expensive but I believe these are designed so you can replace the individual cells when they go bad rather than chuck the entire battery. And like all things, technology and usage will drive the price of batteries down. And as battery technology improves you’ll probably be able to upgrade.

    And yes. I am saving up my money for a Zero. 😉

  8. Spartandude says

    Be careful with replacing individual cells. Mismatched performance characteristics in battery cells in a pack will cause excessive strain on individual cells dramatically decreasing their life expectancy. If one cell is “bad” the chances that any of the other cells are salvageable is low. It is recommended to recycle the used pack and replace in one unit. Budget for this in your consideration of the expense of electricity for the equivalent fuel cost. Expect most packs to have between 800 and 2000 charge cycles depending heavily on the demand placed on the battery vs. its components. Looks like fun, but would not suite my 110mile/day commute in Houston Freeway traffic.