MCN recently interviewed Zero CEO Sam Paschel.   Paschel expressed confidence that his company is and will continue to be a major player in the electric motorcycle market.

Sam Paschel

Zero CEO Sam Paschel.

Zero undaunted

Although Paschel admits that other major manufacturers are entering the electric motorcycle market, he is undaunted and unphased by the new competition.  He thinks his company is the flag bearer for the electric motorcycle industry and will remain that way.

Zero SR/F

This bike is similar to the Zero SR/F we tested. Photo credit: Zero

Paschel said:

“We’ve been the brand that’s actually created this category and has been the flag-bearer and protagonist for electric motorcycles, so we knew that the market wouldn’t remain ours and ours alone.

From a competition standpoint, of course they’re going to become competitors, but we’ve got a 13-year head start and millions of miles of experience. These are very different and very challenging problems to solve. So, I’m confident that in a growing market, where we have other major brands stepping up and helping to push it forward, that we’ll get more than our fair share of whatever market is created, as we have a competitive edge.”

Zero DS

The Zero DS. Zero’s dual-sport machine. Photo credit: Zero

Impact of other manufacturers

But Paschel expressed some fear that the major manufacturers could potentially have a negative effect.  Unless the other manufacturers utilize their full resources, the electric motorcycle industry as a whole could be damaged.

My only hope is that they’re serious. The thing that could be detrimental is [manufacturers] figuring out some of the challenges, while running an existing petroleum motorcycle business that they’re fundamentally competing with.

Of they don’t see success right away or they run into technical challenges, or they slow down, or they quit, or they pull back, or they stuff the market with a bunch of electric bikes that are all discounted they could do a lot of harm. I hope they take it seriously and I hope they care about making the change.”

So Sam Paschel thinks that his company has a significant head start in this new largely uncrowded industry.  He thinks they have electric motorcycle know-how that other manufacturers do not and Zero has a big lead.

We recently tested the Zero SR/F and came away impressed.  It is different than an internal combustion machine.  But it’s well built and capable.

So what do you think of Paschel’s viewpoints?  Does Zero have enough of a head start to stay in the “lead”, or will the other bigger manufacturer’s capabilities and funding push Zero to the rear?  Can a “little” company like Zero beat the major manufacturers?

Let us know in the comments below.


All photos credit: Zero

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