Going Electric !! 2012 Zero DS Long Term Rider Report

Discussion in 'Thumpers' started by Wind_Rider, Mar 9, 2013.

  1. dman

    dman Been here awhile

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    Interesting report .... Zero is headquartered one town away from me, and I often see their test riders on local twisties. They can scoot! A few observations:
    - Sure, some parts are made in China? So is your iPhone and a lot of parts in GM cars. But the Zeros is assembled in the US and is providing jobs in my county.
    - Range and charge times ... a lot of ICE dual sports have less than 100 mile ranges (though I agree it's easier to install an IMS or Acerbis tank than an extra battery). I think the real breakthrough will be replaceable batteries, like swapping out propane tanks for your barbeque. Think about it ... every time we get gasoline we transfer several pounds (more than several for a car or a BMW GSA) of a hazardous substance, that contains a lot of potential energy, into our vehicles in a few minutes. All thanks to a developed and standardized infrastructure. There's no technical reason we couldn't have the same for EV batteries. With that in place, and a few years' battery and regen development to get a 125-200 mile range, and EV's will be far more practical.

    -dman
    #61
  2. Ricky Chuck

    Ricky Chuck Red Green Rulz!

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    :nodDman, that is a pretty interesting business model upon first glance...developing plug-in batteries that are swapped out at certain locations, and if you are on a trip you just pop in, arrange for the swap of your depleted battery with a full one, and go on. Would be a sizable infrastructure build, and I think it would be easier to spend maybe 5-15 minutes at a "pump" where your quick-chargable batt was filled up, but still, potential business models are out there.
    #62
  3. Wind_Rider

    Wind_Rider Been here awhile

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    The Zero XU and FX models have battery modules that can be quickly swapped out.

    If someone built a standard battery module that could be quick swapped and there was a battery swapping station every 50 miles it would be great but I doubt that will happen. The battery technology is different between different manufacturers and until a standard should emerge it will be difficult to do anything like this on a large scale.

    It is a great idea though.
    #63
  4. crypto666

    crypto666 Long timer

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    Ok, now that is just nuts. You want to exchange that battery you took such good care of, never over discharged it or otherwise abused, and exchange it for some battery that who knows who did what to?

    No way..

    Of course if the batteries were standardized and had protection/monitoring built in, it would be a cool way to go.
    #64
  5. dman

    dman Been here awhile

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    I agree there are some issues to solve. But today you take the fuel system you carefully maintain, changing fuel filters regularly and making sure you maintain surgical cleanliness when you re-jet your carbs, and then you dump who knows what into your tank. Sure the sign says Exxon and the pump says 95 octane, but even if that's true, who knows what fell in when they filled the tanker or filled the underground tanks? Just saying ....

    There are laws of physics which make it dangerous and/or expensive to recharge kilowatt-hours of energy into a battery in a short time. The only "laws" preventing standardizing on a few sizes of interchangeable batteries are supply/demand and government and industry collaboration.

    -dman
    #65
  6. Matified

    Matified been there done that

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    I do not have a problem with China made goods, I am on my way to Chinese factories right now, I work for a company that does business with them , that brings money to American families here as well. I only brought up the questions because I personally can buy the suspension ($200&$140), wheels($250), brakes($125), controls($45), seat($20), plastics($15), speedometer ($25) .
    I was trying to wrap my head around the other cost in the rest of it. $5000 $6000 would be a good deal $14,000 that is the question .
    I am not bagging on the bike as it is, Nice ride report and looks to be well written and fun.

    You do realize that more pollution is made producing electric vehicles , during the life and disposal than gas.

    http://dailycaller.com/2012/10/05/s...ause-as-much-or-more-pollution-than-gas-cars/

    http://recombu.com/cars/articles/news/electric-cars-pollute-more-than-petrol-models-says-study

    http://healthland.time.com/2012/02/...olluting-than-gas-guzzlers-at-least-in-china/
    #66
  7. dahlheim

    dahlheim n00b

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    there are lots of opinions out there, but the best analyses i've seen recently (a scarce few are quite comprehensive) reveal that the environmental "cost" of electric versus gas vehicles is very similar. it only makes sense to me that it is. in the end, you're moving a similar amount of weight a similar distance. that holds true for manufacture and operation.

    of course i have a 10kw solar system, so for me cose of operation is a no-brainer.

    this thread is worth reading (and following some great links) for more useful info:
    http://electricmotorcycleforum.com/boards/index.php?topic=2560.0


    #67
  8. Meter Man

    Meter Man Living on a prayer

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    Can you get aftermarket tanks for these things.






    :freaky





    :wink:




    :lol3
    #68
  9. crypto666

    crypto666 Long timer

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    Not only that, electric uses more scarce resources than IC.

    The environmental benefits of electric vehicles, currently, is a fantasy or out right lie.

    The reasoning to go electric for me would be to take advantage of the amazing power output ability of electrics; they won't go far, but they go quickly.

    Another advantage would be noise. Imagine hunting on one of these, sneaky sneaky.

    It would also be handy for sneaking around urban areas for any number of reasons, most of them illegal.
    #69
  10. Wind_Rider

    Wind_Rider Been here awhile

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    :rofl

    Yes, you can put as many tanks as you want on them but they actually DECREASE range.....
    #70
  11. Wind_Rider

    Wind_Rider Been here awhile

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    First of all, let me say I am not an environmental expert, nor am I an environmental activist.

    I am an old Idaho Farm boy who used to love to plow all day, sunup to sundown to celebrate Earth Day. I loved the smell of ether and diesel smoke early in the morning firing up the tractors.

    Later in life I lived for extended periods of time in the Netherlands, Germany and other parts of Europe with dense cities and populations. I have been on California freeways and seen and breathed the smog in LA.

    Everyone's life experiences and political viewpoints color the way that they view environmental issues.

    For my own 2 cents, I have a lot of environmental respect for people who plow their fields with horses, eat the food that they grow, and ride bicycles for transportation. Al Gore, sitting alone in his Jet plane, pondering global warming while tapping on his computer, scores low on my scale of environmental stewardship.

    Personally, I don't intend to save the world by riding the Zero to work, but at the same time I feel good about riding it because it is powered by clean, mostly renewable local energy, it is manufactured by a US company, and it produces Zero emissions. I also think that it will last a long time, but that is a theory and not yet proven.

    As far as manufacturing goes, an ebike is not that much different than a conventional bike in my view. Both vehicles have a frame, seat, suspension, controls, wheels, tires, etc. The main difference is the Electric motor vs an ICE and the battery pack. The Battery pack is all recyclable so I really don't see much of a difference in terms of environmental impact in the manufacture of an Electric Motorcycle vs an ICE bike.

    In terms of environmental impact from operation goes, most of that comes down to how your local power is made. Even if your local power is coal, it still works out to be cleaner than running an ICE motorcycle. If your local power is anything but coal it is way cleaner. On top of that power plants get cleaner into the future. Here in Idaho most of our power is produced by Hydro power which is Zero emission and renewable. The rest is natural gas and some wind.

    I think that the case for an Electric Car is much harder as they use 10X the energy of the Zero motorcycle to go the same distance. There is also a lot more materials of all types in a car. And that is just another reason why motorcycles are better than cars ! :clap

    Honestly, I don't understand why some people are offended by EVs. If I ride an EV for 8 months out of the year instead of commuting in my pickup to work that saves more gas for everyone else. Therefore, if you like to burn gas, my Zero is saving some for you. Be happy.

    Here is the Zero Motorcycles Environment page for their perspective:

    http://www.zeromotorcycles.com/environment/
    #71
  12. Wind_Rider

    Wind_Rider Been here awhile

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    Just a quick plug for my local BMW/Zero dealer. I know that a lot of ADVers ride the bimmers and if you ever find yourself traveling through Boise, ID and are in need of anything BMW or motorcycle in general I would highly recommend the folks at Big Twin. They are friendly, knowledgable, and they live and breath motorcycles.

    I spent the morning there today as they hosted a series of seminars on safety, first aid, riding techniques, and packing for trips.

    After riding Buells for years where the HD dealers did not even want you around it is refreshing to be welcomed at the local shop.

    Big Twin has just added the Husquavarna and Ural bikes to their inventory. Here is the new Husky Terra:

    [​IMG]

    I really liked the Terra and it made me think about burning gas again......

    Here is the Zero DS parked along with other wonderful and amazing motorcycles:

    [​IMG]

    And here is the "new" Ural. Technology from the 40s brought almost to the current day:

    [​IMG]
    #72
  13. Wind_Rider

    Wind_Rider Been here awhile

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    Twice this last week I have ridden more than 100 miles in a single day on the Zero to complete tasks for work. This is accomplished by keeping it charged in when it is not rolling. I am getting comfortable with the range now and find that the Zero DS is a great mount for urban riding. It really helps that I can plug in the bike while I am at the office.

    With a more upright seating position and high seat the DS offers a nice view of traffic. The mirrors could be better but I am adjusting to them.

    Since the bike is silent I hear things that I never heard before on an ICE motorcycle. With smooth power and clutch less, shift less, linear power delivery it seems easier to focus more on traffic and hazards around the bike.

    I am also used to sitting at red lights now with nothing happening and all of the ICE machines around me are starting to seem really dumb in contrast. What is all of this idling about? :rofl

    The only problem that I am having is lack of luggage. The Wolfman tank bag strapped to the tail is handy but just lacks capacity. I have been trying to get Zero to sell me a set of the Police bike panniers and racks but it seems that they only want to sell the soft luggage for some reason?

    The panniers that they put on the police version of the DS are Givi E21s. Hopefully Givi will soon sell a mounting solution for those to go on the DS.

    I have over 800 miles on the Zero now and the weather is good in the forecast so I will post the 1K PM next week. I think it will be a really fast PM compared to previous bikes. No valve checks, no oils or filters to replace, no clutch to adjust, etc. The drive belt is starting to loosen up a bit so I will probably need to tighten that up. That is typical of other belt final drives that I have ridden. On the Zero, final belt drive tension is adjusted by moving the motor forward, as the rear axle is fixed in the swing arm.
    #73
  14. Wind_Rider

    Wind_Rider Been here awhile

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    There was one thing missing from the Zero when I picked it up. It just arrived today and really sets the bike off. I installed it on the rear fender where it's reflective glow will be perfect.

    Now the bike is complete.

    [​IMG]
    #74
  15. wiswoodsguy

    wiswoodsguy Kmart shopper

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    Thanks for creating this thread.

    I am fully intrigued and fascinated with the idea of electric bikes. Keep the info flowing please

    Im hoping that the range increases in the near future, as that is the only hinderance for myself to purchase one (possibly one for the Mrs too)

    I have been following the KTM E bike (I kinda bleed orange) and I believe that they too will have a street legal bike on the market in the very near future. Just today, pulled a pic of it on the net - but only to force me to have to clean my laptop, both from drool :huh and heavy sobs :cry as its not yet available.

    Enjoy your Zero, it looks to be quite enjoyable.
    #75
  16. Wind_Rider

    Wind_Rider Been here awhile

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    The weather was so perfect here on Easter today that it was pleasant to be out wrenching on things.

    Between a few other tasks I decided to just start on the 1,000 Mile PM for the Zero DS. I pulled up the manual and looked at the really small list of things to do.... No valves to check, no fluids or filters to replace, no clutch or cables...

    I adjusted the belt tension using a belt tension tool. After almost 1K miles of rain, snow, mud, etc it was barely out of spec. On the 2012 models the motor is locked in place with 3 screws and the rear axle is fixed in the swing arm. I loosened the 3 bolts, adjusted it, and torqued everything back. It took all of 15 minutes. I then checked air pressures and put in a little more air in the tires.

    There were only a couple of wear items of note: the rear tire is disappearing really quickly and there are some rub marks around the rear shock body where the spring has contacted it during compression. That may have been from dirt caked on the shock. The rear tire is a stupid 110/90-16 size so replacement tire choices are going to be severely limited. The 2013 Zeros use more standard wheel sizes. I am not sure why Zero chose such an odd and limited size for this bike but I will not be really happy when it is time to look at options for new rubber as the choices will be small.

    I looked around for other things to do on the bike... but there is not much there. When I ran the Buells it was important to carefully check wiring for rubs from vibration so I started down this road on the Zero and quickly saw that it was a waste of time. For one thing, there is no vibration and then the wiring harness is pretty simple and very well dressed and protected from the factory.

    So there you have it:

    - Total cost of $1,000 mile PM for a Zero DS: $0
    - Total time investment about 30 minutes
    - Tools required are very basic with some allen head sockets and a belt tension tool. I did use a torque wrench on the motor bolts.

    Simplicity of maintenance and low cost of maintenance are a big score for the Zero!!

    Cost of ownership to roll one of these bikes is super low once you pay the big price to get it out of the dealership.

    :clap
    #76
  17. Wind_Rider

    Wind_Rider Been here awhile

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    Wiswoodsguy,

    I don't think that we are going to see big increases in range from E Bikes in the near future. I will do some more range tests from this bike including some trail loops here in the near future once the snow leaves the higher loops of the trails. I think that it will pretty well and I predict some great 50-80 mile loop rides from my door that involve a little pavement, dirt, and some twisties.

    Bleeding Orange is a fun disease to have if you can afford it! I love the orange ones as well but I have never owned one yet, only ridden friends for a few happy miles and taken some demo rides.
    #77
  18. 100mpg

    100mpg Self Imposed Exile

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    I am loving the updates you are posting! Please, if you can, keep them up. I wish the bike was not 14K. I am 5.5 miles from my job and this bike would be perfect for me! I could even charge it at my job so the company could boast how they are environmentally conscious!
    #78
  19. wiswoodsguy

    wiswoodsguy Kmart shopper

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    Id be more apt to pull the trigger if they were closer to the 100 mile mark. Slighty over that and were running to the bank. So in my head, I think its within reason with the forward progression of technology. A few yrs ago, a bike of this stature was unheard of, now your shreding the tarmac in blissful quietness
    #79
  20. BrianTRice

    BrianTRice Nerdy adventurer

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    My 2013 Zero has a total range of 120 miles; the sport model says 130 miles and I imagine a lot of that difference amounts to tire choice and dual sport drag factors. I'll be converting to street tires after my first set of treads wear out to see.

    Anyway, that won't provide a 200-mile round loop without one of the upgraded chargers, but for everyday riding it's been just fine, and freed up my ADV bike for better maintenance/babying.
    #80