Zero Motorcycles unveils 2015 model year – up to 185 miles electric riding range

Zero Motorcycles announced today specifications and pricing for their 2015 lineup of electric motorcycles.  The Scotts Valley, CA, based company has been building electric motorcycles since 2006, and its’ market leadership is demonstrated through multiple models addressing both off-road and on-road motorcycling.  The improvements for the 2015 model year are iterative, rather than revolutionary, and bump the top end range to 185 miles (city) or 94 miles (highway) riding range.

Zero’s lineup covers four bikes:  S (street), SR (race-ready), DS (Dual Sport), FX (street fighter) and Police (a Zero DS kitted out with police gear).

The Zero S is attuned to street riding and has a top speed of 95 miles/hr, and 0-60 times as fast as 4.8 seconds.  The 420 amp controller means that for the Zero S, the company is sticking with the SEVCON Gen4 Size4 controller.  Coupled with Zero’s custom-designed radial flux permanent magnet electric motor, it delivers 68 ft-lb of torque and 54 horsepower.  The battery pack size ranges from 9.4 kilowatt-hours up to 15.3 kilowatt-hours of on-board storage.  The latter is accomplished by adding the “Power Tank” option to the 12.5 kilowatt-hour model.  The on-board charger is a pathetic 1.3 kilowatt model that is useless for charging away from home.

Across Zero’s model line they’ve switched to Showa suspension parts front and rear, and an ABS braking system from Bosch.

MSRP ranges from $13,345 for the base model up to $17,840, with pricing differences based on the battery capacity.

The Zero SR is attuned for those who want more performance.  It was developed from the company’s experiences on the race track.  The most common modification done by those who take Zero’s to the races is to replace the stock Size4 controller with a Size6 controller.  That’s what the Zero SR is, a Zero S with a larger controller and other modifications required for racing performance.

For example, studying the specifications closely I see that both bikes appear to have the same motor (Z-Force 75-7) but on the SR the motor has heat-resistant magnets.

Zero’s motor design is passively air cooled with the heat-producing parts located on the outer rim of the motor where the heat sink has an easier time removing the heat.  But the racers riding Zero’s bikes with a Size 6 controller have had extra problems with heat.  Heat resistant magnets should help, and the spec sheet says the SR has significantly higher performance – 106 ft-lb of torque, a 0-60 time as fast as 3.3 seconds, 64 horsepower, and a top speed a bit over 100 miles/hr.

The minimum battery pack size on the SR is 12.5 kilowatt-hours, delivering 151 miles city range or 77 miles highway range.  Price ranges from $17,345 to $19,840 if you add the Power Tank.

The Zero DS looks to me like a Zero S with a different rake, suspension setup, and beefier suspension.  As a dual sport bike it’s attuned for both on-road and off-road riding.  Other than suspension differences, the specs, performance, and pricing are the same as the Zero S.  Well, the fastest 0-60 time drops to 5.3 seconds.

The differences between the DS and S are apparent if you closely study the spec sheets.  The DS has more suspension travel and different rake angles and other details in the bike setup.

The Zero FX is a very different beast that more closely resembles bikes Zero used to make – the X and MX.  It’s an all terrain motorcycle, legal on the streets or capable of being taken off-road.  It is a lot lighter than the Zero S, SR or DS thanks to a much smaller battery pack.  That also means a much shorter riding range.  It has the same motor as the other bikes, along with the 420 amp Size 4 controller, but with a much lighter bike they’ve turned the power up considerably.  It delivers 70 ft-lbs of torque and a 0-60 time as fast as 4 seconds.

Price is $9,845 for the Zero FX with a 2.8 kilowatt-hour battery pack, or $12,340 with a 5.7 kilowatt-hour battery pack.

Zero Motorcycles also sells police versions of each of these bikes – the Zero SP, DSP and FXP.  These bikes are kitted out with police-specific gear like a siren and flashy police lights.  The Zero MMX is a militarized version of the Zero FX.  They don’t say whether that model comes with laser canons or what.

I don’t see availability information in Zero’s press release.  If the company holds true to form, deliveries will begin in January 2015.

Learn more at http://www.zeromotorcycles.com/

About David Herron

David Herron is a writer and software engineer living in Silicon Valley. He primarily writes about electric vehicles, clean energy systems, climate change, peak oil and related issues. When not writing he indulges in software projects and is sometimes employed as a software engineer. David has written for sites like PlugInCars and TorqueNews, and worked for companies like Sun Microsystems and Yahoo.

About David Herron

David Herron is a writer and software engineer living in Silicon Valley. He primarily writes about electric vehicles, clean energy systems, climate change, peak oil and related issues. When not writing he indulges in software projects and is sometimes employed as a software engineer. David has written for sites like PlugInCars and TorqueNews, and worked for companies like Sun Microsystems and Yahoo.

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