A few weeks ago I traded my first motorcycle (Buell Blast) for something crazy different.... 2011 Zero S, electric motorcycle. Not only have I been referred to as a crazy hippie but I also have a motorcycle enthusiast husband that loves new technology. So it's no suprise that after a year of studying and test driving electric bikes and motorcycles that we finally went for it.
Our local Zero dealer (Schlossman Power Sports) had a beautiful year old black with metallic red rims greatly reduced. The 2012 models get much greater range but were double the price (80-100 vs my 2011 with 40-50). It was a big decision, but in the end I loved the way the 2011 looked way better. Plus, I already do not travel outside my 5 mile radius of home to work very often. I think my previous longest trip on the last motorcycle was 20-some miles (my butt gets sore and again I don't really go far anyway!).
I get lots of questions out on the road, and a few stares and even "what is that!?". The motorcycle has no clutch and makes no noise! I have scared a few birds on some suburban highways. There is no engine, just a motor and a giant battery. Under the battery is a short cord. Under my seat is a cylinder that holds a folded up longer extension cord that plugs into the battery which in turn plugs into a standard 3 prong 120 volt outlet. Also, the only liquid onboard is break fluid.
Charging time is about 2.5-3 hours, but I rarely run the battery down that low. For me I'm usually at 3/4-5/8 power and a charge to full is about an hour. They saw the cost to fully charge this bike is 95 cents. The city of Milwaukee has installed some ChargePoint stations, but they are not ideal (most are 220 not the 120 I need, one my cord doesn't reach the plug and another is in a reserved parking lot). I found better luck just asking businesses that I see an outside outlet. They are so intrigued they agree to let me plug in while I visit their establishment. Or I find friends along my way and ask to use an outlet in their garage.
I know it's not a vehicle for everyone but for me, it's perfect. Besides cheap to run, it's lots of fun to drive this stealth dirt bike-ish ride! My husband even enjoys taking this out for a spin and maybe will eventually trade his gas guzzling Harley or Yamaha in! ;)
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