Friday, 11 November 2011

When we first took the Zero S electric motorcycle for a spin our verdict was that while great fun to ride, impending advances in battery technology will mean that this - and other electric bikes - will only to get better from here ... and they are. Zero Motorcycles has announced a complete overhaul of every model in its 2012 range of electric two-wheelers with new powertrains and upgraded power packs that promise greater longevity, speeds of up to 88 mph (142 km/h) and a significantly improved range in excess of 100 miles (160 km) for the street-oriented models.
Zero says its new Z-Force™ power pack is up to 95% more energy dense and is rated to 3,000 complete charge cycles before hitting 80% capacity, giving the Zero S a battery lifespan of as much as 308,000 miles - meaning the bike itself will probably wear out before the battery pack does.
All of the street models feature regenerative braking and the Zero S supermoto and Zero DS dual sport will be available in 6 or 9 kWh configuration (ZF6 and ZF9). Range-wise, for the Zero S this translates to 76 or 114 miles (122-183 km) on a single charge for city riding and 43 miles (69 km) and 63 miles (101 km) respectively when traveling at highway speeds. This is up from a 50 mile city range on the earlier the model and in our time spent with the outgoing Zero S we found that the city riding range figures hold true. If the same applies for the new addition, it will be a very practical urban commuting option and according to Zero Motorcycles, the improvements make the S the world's first available mass-produced electric motorcycle capable of exceeding 100 miles on the EPA's UDDS range test.
Top speed for the S is specced at 88 mph (142 km/h) while the Zero DS can hit 80 mph (129 km/h).
Recharging time for the 6 kwh Zero S is quoted at 6 hours (100% charged) and 5.3 hours (95% charged) through a standard outlet, while the 9 kwh model takes 9 hours (100% charged) / 8.0 hours (95% charged). There are also quick-charge options available that can cut recharge times by up to 75 percent. 
Revised frame geometry and a new bodywork (which gives the S model in particular a noticeably meaner streetfighter appearance) complete the transformation of street models along with the welcome addition a larger front brake master cylinder.


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