Street Legal Production Electric Motorcycle

According to Wired, Zero Motocycles is getting read to release their street legal, all electric  Zero S motorcycle.  The bike weighs 225 pounds and has a 31 horsepower electric engine. The bike lists for just under $10,000 and is good for a federal 10% tax credit.

6 Responses

  1. 10 grand, for something that only goes 60 miles, and then takes 4 hours to recharge?


  2. You’re comparing an early model Indian to a modern Harley again. This is another case of private industry getting consumers willing to pay early adopter prices to get their products jump started.

    Early PCs cost two to three grand, had monochrome monitors and 9 pin dot matrix printers. Now you can get a system a photo capable ink jet printer for $500 bucks.

    This is also another example of how the lower end of the economic scale are going to hit hardest by increased energy prices. The people who can afford this, can afford a set of solar panels to charge it. When gas goes back over $4 a galleon, the Zero S owner in So Cal won’t be effected, but the small business owner with service van will.

  3. The problem all electric vehicles have is the batteries. They simply don’t have the energy density to really compete with internal combustion engines. For that to happen, you’d have to see an increase in power/volume, at least an order of magnitude better than what there is now, and have a significant decrease in cost – the best Li-Ion battery today, would weight 400lbs, and cost 1100 dollars to equal the same amount of energy in a gallon of gas.

    I’m sorry, but I don’t see electric vehicles overcoming this hurdle anytime soon.

  4. This bike is for inner city dwellers who can ride motorcycles most of the year. It is the first production street legal motorcycle, which alone makes it note worthy.

    You’ve brought up the battery problem before, and nobody is claiming that you are wrong about it. I’ve blogged about companies working on new battery tech as well. It is a problem, and I don’t think it is going to get solved until there is enough market pressure to drive more research with VC money. Market pressure that won’t exist until some VC looks at a bike like this one and says “Gee, if a company can do a better job on an electric vehicle than this POS, it’s going to make money hand over fist.”

    There is also the problem of were the electricity to charge all the batteries in all the predicted electric or hybrid electric vehicles. It’s not going to come from solar or wind power. That just isn’t efficient enough, and not reliable enough in many areas. The US needs to follow the example of the French and the Canadians, and build more Nuclear Power plants in order to provide the electrical energy needed in an environmentally safe manner.

  5. The battery problem isn’t going to be solved with “market pressure” – the problem is getting the energy density out of something that relies on a chemical reaction. And there’s plenty of market pressure on better battery technology – laptops, cellphones, etc.

    The problem isn’t so much the shortcomings of the electric car – it’s competing with the abilities of the IC engine. able to operate at extreme temperatures, short refilling times. cheap to operate. climate control with no effect on range to speak of. It just works so well, that anything that doesn’t come close to performance/price of your run of the mill gasoline automobile, is not going to stand a chance in the marketplace.

    Don’t get me wrong, electric vehicles are interesting(I even had an idea about building an electric Big wheel using a cheap 3.6HP DC motor from Surplus Center), but in the brutally competitive arena of the capitalist marketplace, getting a toehold is going to be a nightmare for something that’s both more expensive, and less convenient.

  6. You are right about the efficiency of the IC engine and of combustible liquid based fuels like gasoline.

    Electric vehicles are going be a niche market for a while. Watermelons claim that by making IC engines economically undesirable (by taxing gas to $4 or $5 a galleon for starters), electric vehicles will become more prevalent. Which is true in very limited cases.
    They ignore the technology & economic issues that will keep purely electric cars in niche markets

    Electric vehicles will do well in certain niche markets, even with the current technology.

    For example, I don’t see long haul trucking being done by electric vehicles anytime soon. Delivery trucks that run a set route in a city environment is another matter.

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