Going Electric !! 2012 Zero DS Long Term Rider Report

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

  1. Foot dragger

    Foot dragger singletracker

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    Batteries running 2500.00 or what ever they cost would make this tricky I would think?

    Has anybody figured out how to wheelie one of these things?
    Going through the woods and creeks would be tricky if the ft tire wont leave the ground.
    #81
  2. sledrydr

    sledrydr Adventurer

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    Nice read. Even makes my two 4 stroke single 200cc DS bikes look bad! Never thought I'd say that.. Wish these were widespread and available at a slightly more reasonable price. I'd be looking for sure.
    #82
  3. Wind_Rider

    Wind_Rider Been here awhile

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    Hey BrianRice,

    Thanks for showing up on the thread. Feel free to post anything about the 2013 model in comparison. The 2013s are even more amazing. Our local dealer has some in now and I was really impressed with the new motor and all of the little improvements.
    #83
  4. Wind_Rider

    Wind_Rider Been here awhile

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    My Buell Ulysses would loft the front wheel with ease on pure torque. My 2012 Zero DS, with the largest battery pack option and a longer wheelbase will not.

    However, check out the one wheel action in the 2013 Zero FX Promo Video here:

    http://www.zeromotorcycles.com/zero-fx/
    #84
  5. Wind_Rider

    Wind_Rider Been here awhile

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    Nothing makes a 200 DS bike look bad! I still love thumpers.
    #85
  6. wiswoodsguy

    wiswoodsguy Kmart shopper

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    Sorry to thread steal WR

    Brian, is yours a DS as well ??

    Thats the style Im interested in - most likely the FX or if KTM brings sumthin to the table.

    For those interested in doing wheelies on an E bike - check out the vid for the KTM E Freeride. I know its not going to make my buds fear me on the moto X track, but for playing with my nephews on the smaller tracks, it would be a riot (just too expensive for a part time play bike thou) I'll stick to the DS models - suits my needs for now

    Id really like to get my wife on one. Ive bought her dirt bikes, a Ninja 250, and even a Harley 883 - none of which she enjoyed due to having to shift. She rode them fine, and would get used to them, just was annoyed with shifting for some reason. I almost went the Ridley route - but then totally got away from cruiser style bikes and went DS myself. I think she would really love to ride the DS on the fire roads we have by our cabin - cant get her off my automatic ATV's - so I think the spark is there.

    Id really love to hear if someone has ridden their DS on some technical trails and what their thoughts were. I know it will never be my 520 EXC - but Id love to quietly play in the woods if I could too.

    Party On
    #86
  7. Wind_Rider

    Wind_Rider Been here awhile

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    Stay tuned.... I ride a lot of trails in the summer months here in Idaho so there will be a lot of updates on how my DS works in those environments and how it holds up as the season wears on.

    I should mention that I live 3 miles off the highway on a steep, rough dirt road so every ride has 6 miles of dirt for me that is comparable to many fire roads. The linear power delivery and no clutch/transmission makes it really easy to ride in certain situations.
    #87
  8. Movinfr8

    Movinfr8 n00b

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    Ok, this may sound nutty, but can you charge while you ride? Sailboaters often charge batteries with a small, not too expensive honda ex1000 or similar generator. Could you strap one on and charge while you ride? Im sure it wouldnt provide all the power you need to run indefinitly, but it may be an interesting hybrid
    #88
  9. wiswoodsguy

    wiswoodsguy Kmart shopper

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    Oh, Im in !!!

    Just patiently wait'n for updates

    Thats the kind of technology that Im depending on to make this purchase sooner.

    Unfortunately the gubbermint will probably make that kind of technological advances against the law - cuz they wont be able to profit from it :lol3
    #89
  10. Wind_Rider

    Wind_Rider Been here awhile

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    Yes, that is an interesting idea. To break even you would probably need somewhere around a 5KW generator so that is going to pretty much double the weight of the bike and add all of the systems that EVs don't have so the math just doesn't work out to try and generate the power that the bike uses while it rolls down the road. The energy density of gasoline is really hard to match with batteries.

    Ultimately, if you want to translate fuel to motion it is better to just buy a gas bike.
    #90
  11. Wind_Rider

    Wind_Rider Been here awhile

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    The stock location for the charge cord to connect to the 2012 Zeros is in the front of the bike, right where a proper skid plate would be.

    Over on the Electric Motorcycle Forum I saw a post of adding a Power Plug permanently to the bike and running it out up higher, under where a "normal" motorcycle's gas tank would be.

    I installed that power cord and this makes plugging in much nicer and a lot less fuss as long as there is an extension cord handy at the charge locations. I leave an extension cord out at work and at home where I charge so now it just takes 2 seconds of my time to recharge. Here is a pic of the new charge plug installed on the bike:

    [​IMG]
    #91
  12. Wind_Rider

    Wind_Rider Been here awhile

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    Lucky for me, I work at a company that is friendly to EVs.

    Here is a picture of the Zero getting fueled up at work. I even found a spot to park in the shade.

    [​IMG]

    We have a 25KW solar roof on the building here which you can see a little piece of in the background of the picture.
    #92
  13. Wind_Rider

    Wind_Rider Been here awhile

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    Plug in Electric Vehicles like the Zero motorcycle face a really big challenge when compared to traditional Internal Combustion Engined vehicles. That problem boils down to the incredible energy density that gasoline has.

    One Gallon of Gasoline, in a mere 6 lbs and about 230 cubic inches of volume, contains the equivalent of about 36KWh of electrical energy.

    Compare that to the battery box on my Zero DS. It contains about 8-9KWh of electrical energy, it is most of the volume of the motorcycle, and it weighs about 135 lbs or 15lbs/KWh of storage.

    The entire battery box on my Zero DS represents the equivalent energy of about 1/4 gallon (or one liter) of gasoline.

    Given those harsh numbers the only way that the Zero can be practical at all is if it is incredibly efficient with the energy that it has available and Zero engineers have worked hard to make the most out of the energy that is in those batteries to translate that into forward motion with the utmost efficiency. The equivalent MPG rating for the Zero DS is 480MPGe City and 267MPGe Highway to give you an idea of efficiency of the Zero Design verses ICE.

    Today I rode 58 miles from the office to home with a work related errand "on the way" and arrived with 2 bars of energy left on the meter. The route was mixed with in town, a little 70 MPH freeway, and the rest was 2 lane highway, up a big hill and into a headwind.

    I don't know any ICE bike that could have made the same route on a paltry liter of gas... and the Zero still had some to spare.

    :clap
    #93
  14. a1fa

    a1fa Throttle Jockey™

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    Very nice! I just cant wait to prices go down... sub $5k, and I would be in the market for one.
    #94
  15. dman

    dman Been here awhile

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    I'm really enjoying this thread. Thanks, Wind_Rider and the others who have contributed. As Wind_Rider eloquently wrote in a recent post, there are a lot of opinions and perspectives on EV's.

    Last night I attended a presentation at Stanford University by Carlos Ghosn, CEO of Renault-Nissan, which has made a major commitment to EV with the Leaf and presumably, follow-ons. I don't know all the facts, and I suspect there's a lot of mis-information out there as well, regarding environmental impact of the materials and manufacturing of an EV with its batteries, vs an ICE car. But Ghosn made a pretty compelling pitch for the environmental, economic and quality of life benefits of powering the finished vehicle, from electricity that is generated and distributed by a local utility, versus fuel which is often imported or refined from imported oil, and then transported in bulk to distributed gas stations. Many countries import a huge amount of oil, which results in huge trade deficits .... with electricity, that potentially goes away. And, it's more likely and certainly more feasible for the electricity to be generated with renewable and/or clean sources like hydro, solar, wind or natural gas.

    So he believes that it's in many countries' best interests to facilitate (you could call it subsidize) an electric vehicle charging infrastructure to kickstart greater adoption, just as countries did 100 years ago and still do to facilitate fuel production and distribution. Just remember, that tanker delivering fuel used public highways, and may cause more ongoing public expense than a high voltage power distribution network delivering the same amount of energy ....

    -dman
    #95
  16. Wind_Rider

    Wind_Rider Been here awhile

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    Thanks for adding to the discussion dman.

    I also think that as a nation we should focus our energy future on more local solutions adding renewables to the mix where it makes sense from an economic and supply perspective.

    Public fast charging stations for vehicles are really interesting but also really challenging from a power supply side. Cars (and motorcycles) will be pulling huge amounts of energy from the grid during peak load times. It is a high current load at the wrong time of day.

    Commuting by motorcycle, on the other hand, makes a lot of sense. In my case half of my commuting power comes from Idaho Power from 9 PM to 6 AM when they have excess capacity. The other half comes during peak hours, but with the onboard charger sipping at the grid with a max of 1KW draw, this is like powering up a few computers at work. And the load is distributed over a long period of time so it is easier for the grid to supply it.

    If a large portion of the population would commute by electric motorcycle it would make a huge difference in gas consumption very quickly and gas prices would fall.

    Just one more reason why motorcycles are better than cars..... :rofl
    #96
  17. edmoto

    edmoto Adventurer

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    As a fellow Rocky Mountain rider:

    How much do you think cold weather decreases the energy of the battery? For example, 20'F means range decreased 10%? 20% versus 60'F weather? Or if the temperature is 0'F, energy is decreased more? Is the power reduction (meaning range capability) a linear decrease? As in every 5'F is 5% decrease, etc? Or does a certain colder temperature make the power decline precipitously?

    What if you forgot to, or couldn't for whatever reason, plug in your bike to recharge overnight or at work. How fast does the battery discharge from just sitting still, power off? Meaning, you had it topped off, unplugged for 4 weeks. Will it still be at 100% a month later?

    Does the battery behave similar to the (much debated) LiPo batteries where if you recharge at say 40% repeatedly, you decrease the life of the battery versus letting it drain down to 5% and then recharge to 100%?

    Do you feel the Zero can handle water safely? As in, you wipe out in a snow drift, get moving again and the heat from the motor melts snow into water in places it normally never gets wet (think of a snowmobile getting packed with snow from boondocking)? Or you go to cross a stream and your tires deflect off a submerged rock and over you go... dropping the bike (power on) into the water for a swim?

    Does Zero let you reprogram the controller just like the aftermarket lets ICE owners do with FI fueling maps? Like you could make the power hit harder at beginning throttle openings, and then get softer at cruising speeds?

    You say you might consider an ICE after owning the Zero. What are your feelings on the resale of the bike? Do you think you could sell it again where you live (which might be ok with a local Zero dealer). But what if you lived in BFE Wyoming for example? Are you basically faced with issues selling it second hand unless you transport it to a major city or California, where these bikes are more popular/common place?

    Thanks for any input.
    #97
  18. edmoto

    edmoto Adventurer

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    Oh, and also...

    Do you think you'd enjoy the bike more with a 6 speed tranny like the Brammo's have? Or are you developing a fondness for one ratio gearing?
    #98
  19. Wind_Rider

    Wind_Rider Been here awhile

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    .
    #99
  20. Wind_Rider

    Wind_Rider Been here awhile

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    I like Zeros approach to the electric motorcycle better than the Brammo approach personally. Zero is simpler and more efficient. The lack of transmission fits that philosophy. Zero has an air cooled motor, Brammo is liquid cooled.

    I have always liked shifting gears. My Toyota Pickup has a 6 speed stick and I would not even test drive the auto version even though the salesman tried really hard to convince me that an auto tranny was better in every way. I am famous amongst my friends for my proclamation that every vehicle should have a 6 speed transmission.

    However, I think the Zero direct drive belt final drive is perfect for an electric motorcycle and I would not want a 6 speed tranny in my Zero. 6 speeds is really silly for the powerband of an electric motor in my opinion. Shifting gears on an ebike would be completely different as well. You could just pick a gear and ride off. No need to ever slip the clutch either.

    It is odd for me to say but I like no gears and just one ratio from the motor to the rear wheel on the Zero.