Zero Motorcycles have announced a completely refreshed range for 2017, claiming up to 19% more torque, up to 11% more power and the longest range production electric motorcycle. The majority of the advancement comes from Zero’s Z-Force powertrain, which includes a new permanent magnet motor with an increased temperature threshold and higher amperage motor controllers. What does all that mean? Up to 108lbft of instant torque – more than any petrol-powered litre sportsbike on the market.
Prepare to energise
The new 2017 model range is a little complicated to get your head around – so stick with us. There’s the Zero S and SR, which are the more streetfighter-esque models. The S is available in three catchily-named configurations (take a breath): the S ZF6.5 11kW, the S ZF13.0 11kW and the S ZF13.0. The S ZF6.5 11kW is the entry level model, priced at £11,890. It’s fitted with a smaller battery pack, saving 43kg (at the cost of range), and has an 11kW power limit – which makes it A1 licence friendly. In a smart move, Zero have engineered the bike so that the space saved by the smaller battery doubles up as an additional storage compartment.
The S ZF13.0 11kW is pretty much the same but with a larger battery, while the S ZF13.0 has a larger battery and access to the full 40kW, which – thanks to a funny licencing loophole – is legal for A2 licence holders. Both S ZF13.0 models cost £14,990. Joining the S is the SR ZF13.0, sharing the same battery size as the standard S but with more torque (106lbft up from 67.8lbft) and more power (50kW up from 40kW). The SR is slightly pricier at £16,990.
Sitting alongside the S is the DS, which is the adventure styled model that is fitted with a high front mudguard and dual-sport tyres. The DS follows the same power/pricing convention as the S, so there’s a lower powered model, the standard model and the more powerful DSR. Unlike the S however there’s no 11kW version with the larger ZF13.0 battery.
Still with us? Finally comes the FX, which is like an electric dirt bike, and the FXS is the supermoto variant. Unlike the other models, the FX and FXS have a new integrated battery to save weight. The integrated battery also reduces the cost, as both models are priced at £11,390.
Going the distance
One of the big areas of resistance to electric motorcycles is the range, which is why Zero have introduced an optional Power Tank (£2,820), which increases the range from 85 to 104 miles. Why so low? Well Zero were at pains to point out that a recent EU directive has required them to alter their mileage estimates in-line with a new (harder) test, so while they used to claim 108 miles of mixed riding for a standard S ZF13.0 they can now only claim 85 miles. Zero say their estimates are more representative of realistic riding, but make of that what you will.
Regardless of the distance you can go in one charge, one thing Zero is keen for you to do is rack up the miles so all 2017 models will come with a five-year, unlimited mileage warranty on the battery. You don’t even have to top up the oil…
Belt and braces
All Zero Motorcycles use a belt drive and for 2017 the new models will receive a wider, stronger upgraded carbon fibre model. The Zero S, SR, DS and DSR models all now feature a lockable weather-resistant storage compartment in the ‘tank’ area too. Zero says this is big enough to stow gloves, sunglasses and a mobile phone but is no use for petrol, obviously.
Other new features for 2017 include an app that allows owners to customise the bike’s performance characteristics such as maximum torque, maximum speed and regenerative braking plus some practical features such as the ability to update the bike’s firmware, see the charge status and energy consumption.
That’s not all the changes either – for 2017 if you buy a Zero they’ll even paint it for you. Previous models had the colour moulded into the plastic but going forward the S, SR, DS and DSR models will all have a long-lasting paint finish.
The 2017 Zero range will be in dealers by mid-November.
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