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Zero electric impresses with range

2012-01-13 10:18

MORE THAN JUST A COMMUTER: The new Zero range is available with an extended-distance battery good for 160km.

JD van ZYL

An electric motorcycle capable of trotting more than 150km on a single charge has long been on the cards but Zero is the first to actually deliver on the promise.

The company’s 2012 model range has seen a number of improvements, including much edgier styling, but most impressive is the specifications of the Zero S. According to its maker, this is the first mass-produced battery two-wheeler capable of exceeding 150km on a single charge.


To be exact the Zero S can now manage a truly impressive 183km on one charge. The increase in range is thanks to a new power train as well as a new battery pack which, the company claims, will last as long as the motorcycle itself, promising a 500 000km battery life.

“The 2012 model line is truly game-changing,” said Scott Harden, vice-president of the company. “It marks the first time in history that riders can actually own an electric motorcycle capable of exceeding 100 miles [161km] of range on a single charge.

“Every model in the line-up goes faster, further and is more fun than before.”

Harden goes on to stress that these are not just concepts but production-ready models which will be available for delivery early in 2012.

BIKES TO GO THE DISTANCE: At last, says Zero, you can own a battery bike with a decent range in its power pack.

Despite its impressive increase in range the Zero models are by no means perfect and will still only appeal to a small number of dedicated riders who don’t need the bike for more than a short commute.

An even bigger drawback, however, is the cost.

The new, improved-range battery is optional and demands a significant premium over the standard battery pack - to the tune of R21 000. That hike increases the US-price of the relatively affordable S model from R94 000 to a significantly pricier R115 000.

While the company’s improvements are certainly commendable, it will clearly take another while before such technology is accessible to more than just a handful of privileged riders.

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