Wednesday, February 09, 2011

2011 Zero S announced, still isn’t convincing enough

The new Zero S is interesting from a purely technological point of view, but when it comes to actually plonking down your hard-earned money for a motorcycle, we don't know if you'd want one

Zero Motorcycles have announced their new lineup of electric motorcycles for 2011. The Zero S, DS, X and MX models have all been tweaked and improved for 2011. Of these, we find the Zero S most interesting, so we’ll only talk about that. The bike is fitted with Zero’s proprietary ‘Z-Force’ powerpack, twin-spar aluminium alloy frame, a new, maintenance-free belt drive system and clutchless, single-speed transmission. Zero have also given the bike what they claim is a “complete systems upgrade,” which includes a quick-charge option that cuts charging time in half.

The Zero S’ powerpack includes a compact electric motor that produces enough juice to propel the bike to a top speed of 108km/h. Charging time for the S’ lithium-ion battery pack is four hours, though a 90% charge takes only two hours. Also, the batteries can be fully charged in just 2.3 hours using the optional quick charge feature. Maximum range, with the batteries fully charged, is 93km. Estimated life for the batteries is 112,000km.

The 2011 Zero S rides on 17-inch wheels shod with 110/70 (front) and 130/70 (rear) rubber. Disc brakes are fitted at both ends, with a 310mm disc at the front and 220mm disc at the back. The rear shock is adjustable for preload and the bike’s kerb weight is just 135 kilos.

Priced at US$10,000, the 2011 Zero S still isn’t for everybody. On a cost-versus-performance basis, the Zero S doesn’t have anything going for it. And while electric bikes don’t emit any noxious gasses (definitely a good thing for the planet), we believe the large-scale production of batteries and electric motors would still have a significant (and mostly negative) impact on the environment, and that impact remains to be studied and fully understood.

For more details of the complete Zero motorcycles lineup for 2011, including the DS, X and MX models, visit their website here

The 2011 Zero S costs US$10,000 and has a top speed of 108km/h

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