Electric Motorcycle Review - Zero SR
The Future is Electric by Steve Eagle
The turbo like whine of a high powered electric motor will be the new sound of speed.
Over recent years we have seen many pushes from different industries trying to do things greener. The Auto industry is often turned to as a focal point when the conversation comes up as everyone can readily relate to traffic jams, loud engines and exhaust smoke along with the highway clogging inefficiency of the “one car per person” mentality that a lot of countries have. As a result of the public pressure and increased social awareness many Auto manufacturers have been trying their hands at electric or hybrid powertrains such as the Nissan Leaf, Toyota Prius and more recently the new player Tesla motors who’s all electric sports cars are increasingly successful in their niche. However no matter how hard the Auto companies try it feels like they are already being left behind somewhat before they even began... by what you may ask?
Well my friends… By Bikes. Juiced up, well designed, excellent handling all electric motorbike’s. With torque stats that leave MotoGP bikes whimpering, comparable range to their oil guzzling counterparts, next to no ongoing maintenance requirement and fast product development cycles electric motorbikes are fast becoming the golden child of the EV revolution. One company in particular seems to be at the pointy end of this technological shift and what they have managed to achieve in a few short years is nothing other than mind blowing.
Now if you’re a red blooded throttle jockey such as myself it can be hard to convince you that an electric bike would offer more than a bit of a giggle between you and your friends and maybe make a nice gift for your daughter’s college graduation. We let me calibrate you; Zero Motorcycles have been chipping away at the flaws of electric bikes and they did so by approaching the problem backwards by leading with a philosophy that comes from “Bike First” thinking. Their goal to build bikes that excite and inspire their customers lead them to explore what was possible with electric motors - not the usual path of “how do we build a green product” and the outcomes by all reports are nothing short of bloody amazing. Still doubting… I know… I was too… so let’s look at the numbers (brace yourself):
The 2015 Zero SR is a middle weight beast. Capable of 0-100kph in 3.3 seconds, a top speed of over 160kph, 106 ft-lb of torque (read that again, it’s not a typo… 106 ft-lb’s of knuckle whitening madness!) and a range of 240km on a charge (~30% more in city riding) already the bike is holding its own. But what’s more impressive is the package that all of this sits in. The air-cooled motor is designed to negate any need for regular maintenance and when slowing down acts as a generator to channel electricity back into the power pack to help extend ride times. The SR is also equipped with Bosch ABS and Showa suspension as standard to ensure the ultimate in handling performance. There is also an app available for download that lets you customize the bikes performance such as max speed, max torque, percentage of regenerative braking (think engine braking) build a customized dash display and review real time info about the bikes performance.
In a few short years from now, Electric bikes performance and cost will be so competitive as to make Gasoline bikes obsolete.
Its a game changer, In a few short years from now (experts are suggesting fewer than 10 years) Electric bikes performance and cost will be so competitive as to make gasoline bikes obsolete. And its hard to argue. Battery technology and cost are the two main roadblocks for that to happen and the Zero SR has already cracked the equation. Others will definitely follow. Speed will no longer sound like the screaming of a motor being pushed to its mechanical limits. Instead the turbo like whine of a high powered electric motor will be the new sound of speed. Motorbikes are about to go a fundamental shift and will pave the way for electric vehicles to learn from the development and technology that they discover. Many in the field would say that Electric Vehicles are coming! I would argue that they are already here! The rest of Zero’s range is also impressive. The super-motard styling of the FX (the baby of the range) looks to be the business and the power specs are equally appealing. It’s an exciting space and one worth watching!
Now all we have to do is encourage them to ship a few to Thailand so I can have my sweet way with them in the Bangkok traffic, all in the name of science of course. Check out the Zero website and the reviews on YouTube. Its hard not to be impressed.
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