Zero Motorcycles

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Zero Motorcycles, Inc.
FoundedSanta Cruz, California (2006 (2006))
FounderNeal Saiki
United States
Area served
Key people
  • Samuel Paschel (CEO)
  • Abe Askenazi (CTO)
  • Curt Sacks (CFO)
ProductsElectric motorcycles
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 makes a line of 100% electric motorcycles including the Zero S (street), SR (street racing), and FXS (supermoto), and the Zero DS (dual-sport) DSR (dual-sport racing), FX (motocross), and the new for 2020 SR/F.

Model history[edit]

The Zero S began shipping in volume in 2010, the first model year to include the Agni Motor,[1][2] 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.[3] 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.[4][5][6]

In 2014 the optional 2.8kWh "Power Tank" became available.[7][8][9] 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.[10]

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.[11][12][13][14]

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 lbs/ft 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.

For 2018 Zero introduced the ZF14.4 battery, available for the S and D models (alongside the ZF7.2 battery) and the SR and DSR models (where it is the only available option).[15] Until the introduction of the 2020 SR/F, traction control was absent across the lineup.

For 2020, new trellis-framed motorcycles were introduced, the SR/f and the faired SR/s, with higher performance, as well as 6 kW and 12 kW onboard charging options.[16]

Zero Motorcycles also produces a line of electric motorcycles for police, authority, and military use.[17] 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.[18][19][20] The motor is 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. Zero has made their electric powertrain systems available to commercial partners.[21]

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.[22][23] In 2014 a Zero FX was the first production electric motorcycle to break the 12 minute mark.[24]

In 2012, Brandon Miller set a Bonneville Land Speed Record on a Zero S ZF6 model.[25] 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.[26] The 10 teams competed on Zero X electric motocross bikes.[27] 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.[28]

Racers have used Zero Motorcycles against gasoline motorcycles in a number of other forms of racing, including flat-track,[29] hare scrambles,[30] supermoto,[31] and supercross.[32]


Zero's main competitors were the now defunct[33] Victory Empulse[34][35][36] (formerly Brammo),[37] and halted[38] Alta Motors, but current and upcoming models from Evoke, Lightning, and Energica compete with Zero's product lineup.[39][40][41] Some of the larger OEMs have also released electric motorcycles and prototypes such as the Harley-Davidson LiveWire motorcycle and Yamaha's PES2 and PED2 concepts.[42][43]

Quality and service issues[edit]

All Zero Motorcycles models had a large number of recalls compared to Zero Motorcycles volumes (some years, up to 50% of the 2000 motorcycles sold have been subject to recalls) as well as many quality issues.[44][45][46][47] Press articles also mentioned service issues and management turnover,[48] as well as injuries leading to lawsuits.[49]


  1. ^ "2011 Zero XU Review". 30 June 2011. Retrieved 14 January 2015.
  2. ^ "TTXGP Zero/Agni || ZERO MOTORCYCLES". Retrieved 2015-09-01.
  3. ^ "Ride Review: 2013 Zero S Electric Motorcycle". Retrieved 2015-09-01.
  4. ^ Yoney, Domenick. "2013 Zero Motorcycles lineup goes faster and farther, charges with CHAdeMO". Autoblog. Retrieved 2015-09-01.
  5. ^ Tibu, Florin (2012-10-04). "2013 Zero S Bike Gets CHAdeMO Charging - Photo Gallery". Retrieved 2015-09-01.
  6. ^ "2013 Zero Motorcycles Double HP, Fast Charge - Motorcycle USA". Retrieved 2015-09-01.
  7. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2015-04-02. Retrieved 2015-03-06.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  8. ^ Yoney, Domenick. "Zero Motorcycles reveals 2014 lineup with SR variant, Power Tank range extender [w/videos]". Autoblog. Retrieved 2015-09-01.
  9. ^ "2014 Zero S". Top Speed. Retrieved 2015-09-01.
  10. ^ "2014 ZERO SR- First Look Review- Photos- Electric Motorcycles".
  11. ^ "2016 ZERO MOTORCYCLES – FIRST LOOK REVIEW". Cycle World. Retrieved 2015-12-05.
  12. ^ "Zero motorcycles announces improved 2016 models". Gizmag. 2015-10-15. Retrieved 2015-12-05.
  13. ^ "2016 Zero Electric Motorcycles FIRST LOOK Review, Photos, Pricing | Cycle World". Retrieved 2016-06-26.
  14. ^ "Zero Motorcycles' Ryan Biffard Explains New Z-Force IPM Motor - Motorcycle USA". Retrieved 2016-06-26.
  15. ^ "Zero S Electric Motorcycle || ZERO MOTORCYCLES".
  16. ^ Jake, Bright (February 19, 2020). "Zero Motorcycles unveils new SR/S — a full-fairing 124-mph sport EV". TechCrunch. Retrieved 2020-08-31.
  17. ^ "Zero Motorcycles - Fleet Programs". Retrieved 2016-06-26.
  18. ^ "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.
  19. ^ "Going Electric Technology || ZERO MOTORCYCLES". Retrieved 2015-09-01.
  20. ^ "2015 Zero SR". Top Speed. Retrieved 2015-09-01.
  21. ^ "Zero is the leader in electric motorcycles". Retrieved 2020-09-01.
  22. ^ Wire, The. "Pikes Peak: Zero Motorcycles Race Report (Video)". Cycle World. Retrieved 2015-09-01.
  23. ^ "Zero Motorcycles Run Fast up Pikes Peak 2013". Retrieved 2015-12-17.
  24. ^ "Jeff Clark Breaks 12-Minutes On Zero FX At Pikes Peak". Gas 2. Retrieved 2015-09-01.
  25. ^ "Zero Sets LSR Records at Bonneville". Motorcycle USA. Retrieved 2015-12-17.
  26. ^ "Zero Motorcycles Sets World Record This Weekend at 24 Hours of Electricross". Retrieved 2015-12-01.
  27. ^ "Zero Motorcycles and The Electric Revolution". 2009-04-12. Retrieved 2015-12-01.
  28. ^ "Scotts Valley company hosts record-setting electric dirt bike race". Retrieved 2015-12-01.
  29. ^ "The Life Electric: Preston Petty". 2015-04-18. Retrieved 2015-09-01.
  30. ^ "Zero Smashes Gassers". 2012-03-22. Retrieved 2015-09-01.
  31. ^ "Zero FX Supermoto Racing Against Gas Bikes + Video - News". 2014-05-15. Retrieved 2015-09-01.
  32. ^ "Zero Motorcycles Dominates at Minimoto SX - Motorcycle USA". Retrieved 2015-09-01.
  33. ^ "Polaris Industries to Wind Down Victory Motorcycles Operations Strengthening its Position in the Powersports Industry". Business Wire. 2017-01-09. Retrieved 2017-05-06.
  34. ^ "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.
  35. ^ "2014 Brammo Empulse R vs Zero S and SR - Motorcycle USA". Retrieved 2015-09-01.
  36. ^ "2013 Brammo Empulse R vs Zero S ZF11.4 - Video". Retrieved 2015-09-01.
  37. ^ "Victory Empulse TT -- A Rebadged Brammo Empulse R". 2015-07-29. Retrieved 2015-09-01.
  38. ^ "Electric Motorcycle Manufacturer Alta Motors Ceases Operations". Cycle News. Retrieved 2019-02-01.
  39. ^ Cameron, Kevin. "AIMExpo: Thinking Electric New Alta and Zero motorcycles jolt the imagination". Cycle World. Retrieved 2015-09-01.
  40. ^ "6 Electric Motorcycles Ready to Battle Any Gas Bike". 2014-05-19. Retrieved 2015-09-01.
  41. ^ "Electric motorcycle market: The OEMs ante up | Dealernews". Retrieved 2015-09-01.
  42. ^ "Yamaha's Exquisite Electric Motorcycles Will Soon Hit the Streets". Wired. 2014-04-25. Retrieved 2015-09-01.
  43. ^ Bruce, Chris. "Yamaha PES1 and PED1 electric motorcycles headed for production". Autoblog. Retrieved 2015-09-01.
  44. ^ "Recalls - Unofficial Zero Manual". Retrieved 2018-12-15.
  45. ^ "fast charging quality issues". Retrieved 2018-12-19.
  46. ^ "ABS brake problems". 2017-03-17. Retrieved 2018-12-19.
  47. ^ "Electric motorcycles belonging to Hong Kong police catch fire, prompting other 50 in fleet to be pulled". South China Morning Post. Alibaba Group. 2016-07-22. Retrieved 2018-12-19.
  48. ^ "The Real Reason I Will Never Buy a Zero". Asphalt & Rubber. 2018-07-25. Retrieved 2018-12-15.
  49. ^ "Stuntwoman sues for injuries suffered during Marvel Universe Live show". Chicago Sun-Times. 2017-07-20. Retrieved 2018-12-15.

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