Zero Motorcycles

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Zero Motorcycles, Inc.
Industry Vehicle Manufacturing
Founded Santa Cruz, California (2006 (2006))
Founder Neal Saiki
Headquarters Scotts Valley, California, United States
Area served
Key people
  • Samuel Paschel (CEO)
  • Abe Askenazi (CTO)
  • Curt Sacks (CFO)
Products Electric motorcycles
Subsidiaries Zero Motorcycles B.V.
A 2014 Zero S
Zero Z-force

Zero Motorcycles Inc. is an American manufacturer of electric motorcycles. Formerly called Electricross, it was started in 2006 by Neal Saiki, a former NASA engineer, in Santa Cruz, California. The company is now located nearby in Scotts Valley.

Zero Motorcycles makes a line of 100% electric motorcycles including the Zero S, SR, and FXS (street), and the Zero DS, DSR, and FX (dual-sport).

A new model has been added to the Model Year 2018, particularly for the European market: DSR Black Forest Edition. Equipped for electric touring and adventure with premium accessories: black aluminium top case and side panniers, touring screen, distinctly designed bodywork, touring seat, drop bars, hand guards, headlight grill, aggressive foot pegs and LED auxiliary lights.[1]

Model history[edit]

The Zero S began shipping in volume in 2010, the first model year to include the Agni Motor,[2][3] at which time the DS, a dual-sport model based on the S chassis became available. The XU, a smaller street bike with a removable battery, based on the same chassis as the Zero dirtbikes was produced from 2011 to 2013.

In 2012, Zero introduced the ZF9 Power Pack with the Zero S & DS models making them the first production electric motorcycles that can exceed an EPA-estimated 100 miles on a single charge.

In 2013 the Zero S and DS were completely redesigned.[4] The battery capacity was increased to 11.4kWh, and a new brushless permanent magnet AC motor was introduced. In 2013 the Zero FX dual-sport model with modular removable power packs was introduced. CHAdeMO fast charging was also available on 2013 models.[5][6][7]

In 2014 the optional 2.8kWh "Power Tank" became available.[8][9][10] 2014 also saw the addition of the Zero SR to the range, a higher performance version of the Zero S, incorporating more powerful controller electrics and a motor with higher temperature magnets.[11]

The 2015 models had battery pack size increased to 12.5kWh, for a total possible maximum capacity of 15.3kWh including the optional Power Tank. Also introduced in 2015 were standard ABS brakes and Showa suspension. CHAdeMO fast charging was eliminated as an option, leaving instead an optional quick charger accessory at added cost.

In 2016, Zero announced the DSR and FXS models. The DSR is based on the DS, but with the more powerful motor from the SR. The FXS is a supermoto version of the FX. Additional changes for the model year include the availability of a "Charge Tank" accessory, which is an on-board Level 2 charging system compatible with the J1772 plug. Battery pack size improved again to 13.0kWh (3.3kWh per FX power pack), for a total possible maximum capacity of 15.9kWh including the optional Power Tank. The air-cooled motors on the SR, DSR, and FXS were revised to reduce heat produced during high output.[12][13][14][15]

For 2017, all models have the interior-permanent-magnet (IPM) motor. All models also received a larger capacity controller which provides an increase in maximum torque and horsepower output, up to 116 ft/lbs on the SR and DSR models. All models but the S ZF13.0 (Already Installed) receive a wider, high-torque carbon fiber reinforced belt. Other changes for 2017 include a locking tank box and more durable paint on S/DS/SR/DSR models, and the ability for owners to update their bike's firmware through the mobile app.

In 2018, the Charge-Tank technology is revolutionizing Zero Motorcycles as a market leader.

Zero Motorcycles also produces a line of electric motorcycles for police, authority, and military use.[16] The fleet motorcycles are based upon the company’s standard models but outfitted with equipment such as police lights, sirens, crash bars, and storage accessories.

The company recently published a history on its website to celebrate its 10th anniversary.


Zero's Lithium-ion power packs and motors were developed in-house, and are branded under the names "Z-Force" and "ZF". The power pack uses a cell configuration that operates at 102 volts. The motorcycles' propulsion is provided by a single electric, air-cooled, brushless, permanent-magnet 3-phase AC motor.[17][18][19] The motor is directly coupled to the rear wheel by a belt or – optionally on the Zero FX – a chain. A controller manages the power delivery and comes in 420-amp, 550-amp, 660-amp, and 775-amp sizes depending on the year and model.

Racing Use[edit]

Zero Motorcycles has had success racing at Pikes Peak. Zero has won the production electric motorcycle class in 2013, 2014, and 2015.[20][21] In 2014 a Zero FX was the first production electric motorcycle to break the 12 minute mark.[22]

In 2012, Brandon Miller set a Bonneville Land Speed Record on a Zero S ZF6 model.[23] He achieved an average speed of 101.652 mph over a one-mile course. This beat the previous record for modified production motorcycles weighing less than 150 kilograms by over 23 mph.

Zero Motorcycles hosted an endurance racing event for electric motorcycles on April 4–5, 2009, called the 24 Hours of Electricross. This event was the largest electric motorcycle race to date.[24] The 10 teams competed on Zero X electric motocross bikes.[25] Team HotChalk set a Guinness world record for the furthest distance traveled on an all-electric off-road motorcycle in 24 hours at just over 500 miles.[26]

Racers have used Zero Motorcycles against gasoline motorcycles in a number of other forms of racing, including flat-track,[27] hare scrambles,[28] supermoto,[29] and supercross.[30]


Zero's main competitor was the now defunct[31] Victory Empulse[32][33][34] (formerly Brammo),[35] but current and upcoming models from Lightning, Energica, and Alta Motors will compete with Zero's product lineup as well.[36][37][38] Some of the larger OEMs have also released electric concepts and prototypes such as the Harley-Davidson LiveWire electric concept,[39][40] and Yamaha's PES1 and PED1 (recently updated to the PES2 and PED2 concepts).[41][42]


Zero Motorcycles have the same inherent advantages and disadvantages as most electric vehicles, but in particular have been criticized for lack of range and slow charging capabilities[43][44][45] - which make long-distance touring use difficult compared to their combustion engine counterparts.[46] Detractors also point out a comparatively high price compared to equivalent conventional motorcycles.[47][48]


  1. ^ "Zero Motorcycles (Europe) || Zero Motorcycles DSR Black Forest Edition". Retrieved 2018-07-11. 
  2. ^ "2011 Zero XU Review". 30 June 2011. Retrieved 14 January 2015. 
  3. ^ "TTXGP Zero/Agni || ZERO MOTORCYCLES". Retrieved 2015-09-01. 
  4. ^ "Ride Review: 2013 Zero S Electric Motorcycle". Retrieved 2015-09-01. 
  5. ^ Yoney, Domenick. "2013 Zero Motorcycles lineup goes faster and farther, charges with CHAdeMO". Autoblog. Retrieved 2015-09-01. 
  6. ^ Tibu, Florin. "2013 Zero S Bike Gets CHAdeMO Charging - Photo Gallery". Retrieved 2015-09-01. 
  7. ^ "2013 Zero Motorcycles Double HP, Fast Charge - Motorcycle USA". Retrieved 2015-09-01. 
  8. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2015-04-02. Retrieved 2015-03-06. 
  9. ^ Yoney, Domenick. "Zero Motorcycles reveals 2014 lineup with SR variant, Power Tank range extender [w/videos]". Autoblog. Retrieved 2015-09-01. 
  10. ^ "2014 Zero S". Top Speed. Retrieved 2015-09-01. 
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  12. ^ "2016 ZERO MOTORCYCLES – FIRST LOOK REVIEW". Cycle World. Retrieved 2015-12-05. 
  13. ^ "Zero motorcycles announces improved 2016 models". Gizmag. Retrieved 2015-12-05. 
  14. ^ "2016 Zero Electric Motorcycles FIRST LOOK Review, Photos, Pricing | Cycle World". Retrieved 2016-06-26. 
  15. ^ "Zero Motorcycles' Ryan Biffard Explains New Z-Force IPM Motor - Motorcycle USA". Retrieved 2016-06-26. 
  16. ^ "Zero Motorcycles - Fleet Programs". Retrieved 2016-06-26. 
  17. ^ "ON THE RECORD: Abe Askenazi Zero Motorcycles' CTO explains everything you ever wanted to know about EVs—and then some". Cycle World. Retrieved 2015-09-01. 
  18. ^ "Going Electric Technology || ZERO MOTORCYCLES". Retrieved 2015-09-01. 
  19. ^ "2015 Zero SR". Top Speed. Retrieved 2015-09-01. 
  20. ^ Wire, The. "Pikes Peak: Zero Motorcycles Race Report (Video)". Cycle World. Retrieved 2015-09-01. 
  21. ^ "Zero Motorcycles Run Fast up Pikes Peak 2013". Retrieved 2015-12-17. 
  22. ^ "Jeff Clark Breaks 12-Minutes On Zero FX At Pikes Peak". Gas 2. Retrieved 2015-09-01. 
  23. ^ "Zero Sets LSR Records at Bonneville". Motorcycle USA. Retrieved 2015-12-17. 
  24. ^ "Zero Motorcycles Sets World Record This Weekend at 24 Hours of Electricross". Retrieved 2015-12-01. 
  25. ^ "Zero Motorcycles and The Electric Revolution". Retrieved 2015-12-01. 
  26. ^ "Scotts Valley company hosts record-setting electric dirt bike race". Retrieved 2015-12-01. 
  27. ^ "The Life Electric: Preston Petty". Retrieved 2015-09-01. 
  28. ^ "Zero Smashes Gassers". Retrieved 2015-09-01. 
  29. ^ "Zero FX Supermoto Racing Against Gas Bikes + Video - News". Retrieved 2015-09-01. 
  30. ^ "Zero Motorcycles Dominates at Minimoto SX - Motorcycle USA". Retrieved 2015-09-01. 
  31. ^ "Polaris Industries to Wind Down Victory Motorcycles Operations Strengthening its Position in the Powersports Industry". Business Wire. Retrieved 2017-05-06. 
  32. ^ "Brammo Empulse R vs. Zero S – Electric Motorcycle Comparison Test Electric bikes come of age. If you could ignore the price, you'd buy one... really". Cycle World. Retrieved 2015-09-01. 
  33. ^ "2014 Brammo Empulse R vs Zero S and SR - Motorcycle USA". Retrieved 2015-09-01. 
  34. ^ "2013 Brammo Empulse R vs Zero S ZF11.4 - Video". Retrieved 2015-09-01. 
  35. ^ "Victory Empulse TT -- A Rebadged Brammo Empulse R". Retrieved 2015-09-01. 
  36. ^ Cameron, Kevin. "AIMExpo: Thinking Electric New Alta and Zero motorcycles jolt the imagination". Cycle World. Retrieved 2015-09-01. 
  37. ^ "6 Electric Motorcycles Ready to Battle Any Gas Bike". Retrieved 2015-09-01. 
  38. ^ "Electric motorcycle market: The OEMs ante up | Dealernews". Retrieved 2015-09-01. 
  39. ^ "Project LiveWire™ Experience Tour | Harley-Davidson® USA". Retrieved 2015-09-01. 
  40. ^ "Harley-Davidson Livewire Electric Motorcycle Concept: Test Ride". Retrieved 2015-09-01. 
  41. ^ "Yamaha's Exquisite Electric Motorcycles Will Soon Hit the Streets". Retrieved 2015-09-01. 
  42. ^ Bruce, Chris. "Yamaha PES1 and PED1 electric motorcycles headed for production". Autoblog. Retrieved 2015-09-01. 
  43. ^ The Shocking Truth About Electric Motorcycles - /RideApart, May 7, 2012, retrieved 2015-09-01 
  44. ^ "Charging Time, Not Range, Is the Biggest EV Issue". Retrieved 2015-09-01. 
  45. ^ "The state of electric motorcycles". Retrieved 2015-09-01. 
  46. ^ "Zero Electric Motorcycles: Quiet, Efficient and Fun - Consumer Reports News". Retrieved 2015-09-01. 
  47. ^ "Do Electric Motorcycles Have A U.S. Future? One View Says No". Retrieved 2015-09-01. 
  48. ^ Tibu, Florin. "Why Are Electric Motorcycles So Damn Expensive?". Retrieved 2015-09-01. 


External links[edit]