Former NASA aeronautical engineer, Neal Saiki, designed these battery-powered machines after coming up with the idea during a think tank project that analysed United States transportation solutions. The California-based company was then founded in 2006 and has grown by a stunning 240% in the first quarter of 2012. Some of the success is due to the fact the company has hired top executives from around the industry and taken advantage of positive media coverage, however, Zero’s growth has largely come down to the quality of their product.
These electric two-wheelers are every bit a motorcycle without the added noise, pollution or vibrations. Unlike the bowels of plumbing in a gas-powered bike, these electric models are all wiring, controls and batteries. With no clutch or gear lever, all that accompanies the swift acceleration is a few whirrs and whispers. These pure torque machines can quietly achieve a top speed of 56 mph in only four seconds!
In late 2011, the company claimed that its 2012 models include a battery that operates on a single charge for more than 110 miles in the city or more than 60 miles on the highway. Full charge takes approximately four hours via a domestic 13-amp socket.
Typically, drawbacks to electric motorcycles have been their battery weight, which Saiki remedied with the lightweight, aircraft-grade aluminium frame and Lithium-Ion power pack. Although comparable in performance to a petrol-powered dirt bike, the 2010 Zero X weighs a stunning 161 pounds, only 40 of which are the batteries. The battery pack on the 2012 models now lasts the life of the motorcycle and has the ability to travel close to 103,000 miles while still retaining 80% capacity. Also, the battery is 100% recyclable, nontoxic and landfill approved.
Additionally, a Zero motorcycle produces less than 1/8th of the CO2 pollution and 1/100th of the smog causing nitrous oxide per mile than its gas-powered counterpart. In a statement, Scot Harden, VP of Marketing, said, “These are motorcycles that protect the environment, are socially responsible in areas of noise restriction and support domestic energy sources and our need for independence from foreign oil.”
Zero Motorcycles is on course to becoming a recognised name in the relatively recent electric motorcycle market, with a performance envelope that deliberately threatens its gas-powered rivals.
Prices for Zero’s 2012 models range from $7,695 to $13,995. For more information, visit www.zeromotorcycles.com