High voltage, plan your charges
Battery life is the biggest consideration. Zero say the battery is good for about 250km, but I found it really depends on how hard you ride. If you spend some time in Eco mode, taking it a little easier, you would definitely get close to that 250km mark. If you ride it like you stole it and have a bit more fun, I think you would be looking at about the 200km mark or less.
I didn’t fully test it out, because I was aware I might leave myself in the lurch, but if I owned one it would be the first thing I’d play with.
Which brings me to charge times. To fully charge the Zero SR’s battery it takes 8 hours – and I found the analogy of it being like any other electric device to be fairly true. You come home and put it on charge. It’s a habit you develop, but you definitely have to think ahead.
The Zero SR requires 240v mains power with a normal ‘kettle’ type plug.
If you’re short on patience, Zero has fast charge packs available which chops that time to almost 2 hours, and you can get an accessory battery pack to extend the range to over 300km, which is getting where it needs to be. The only downside is that the power pack weighs about 20kg.
Zero one, one Zero?
When you read all this it’s starting to sound like I could be a convert.
The sound – the looks – the Zero SR builds a very strong case.
In the city there is no doubt it is a fun machine, and I really got used to the simplicity of no noise in the morning going to work. It just feels good. Ah, the serenity.
Twist the throttle and it’s a weapon.
Maintenance is also an attraction – because of its lack thereof. There are hardly any internal moving parts and it is belt drive – no oils are required, there’s no air filter, no spark plugs, fuel hoses… the list goes on. The carrot is huge savings right there, but there is a stick.
There is one major letdown, and that is the price.
I spoke to so many people on the street, and most were guessing the price to be around $12,000-$15,000, and I think at that price point there would be a lot of demand. At an actual retail price of more than $26,000 I think it unfortunately limits the Zero to the most committed early adopters, or the financially astute who see it a long term financial benefit, which is a shame considering the build quality.
For my money, the Zero SR needs to be that little bit better across the board to get me seriously looking at it. But as it is, it is pretty close, this is the future.
Now, if you are that unstoppable early adopter, or committed to the environment, go and have a ride and see what you think. Even if you’re not, it’s worth a test ride to see what the future might look like.