Ask anyone who lives near a MotoX park for one word to describe it, and that word is most likely going to be "noisy." There is one track in the U.S. which is very neighbor-friendly in that respect, however. On the face of it, the Dark Green Motorsports track in Penrose, North Carolina might seem like any other, with all the thrills of hops, table tops, camel backs and doubles, but there's no volumous clattering from a two-stroke engine to be heard at this 1,400 meter (0.869 of a mile) dirt bike park – all of the Zero MX bikes available for rental at Dark Green are 100 percent electric.
When we first took the Zero S electric motorcycle for a spin
our verdict was that while great fun to ride, impending advances in battery technology will mean that this - and other electric bikes - will only to get better from here ... and they are. Zero Motorcycles has announced a complete overhaul of every model in its 2012 range of electric two-wheelers with new powertrains and upgraded power packs that promise greater longevity, speeds of up to 88 mph (142 km/h) and a significantly improved range in excess of 100 miles (160 km) for the street-oriented models.
The latest in our series of video road tests
is America's leading electric motorcycle: the Zero S, from California's Zero Motorcycles
. Seventy-five miles per hour and 60 miles between charges are the big numbers here – but how does that translate to real life use? Also, since electricity costs so much less than petrol, can an electric motorcycle be viewed as an economical option? And what about the environment? When the carbon cost of electricity generation is taken into account, how green are electric vehicles? These questions and more, answered after the jump!
If you're going to be an early adopter and get yourself an electric motorcycle
, one thing you'll need to get used to is charging the bike more or less whenever you're not riding it. If there's power outlets where you park, or the boss lets you bring the bike into the office, that's no problem – but if not, you might struggle to find an accessible spot to plug in. Which is where the latest addition to the Zero Motorcycles
2011 lineup could come in very handy; the Zero XU is the first Zero streetbike (and one of the only electric commuters we've seen) that allows you to quickly remove the battery and charge it away from the bike. Great idea, but we wonder how it will work in practice.
Things seem to be going well for US-based electric motorcycle company Zero Motorcycles which has debuted its 2010 lineup consisting of four new bikes at Daytona Bike Week. The new Zero S, DS, X and MX are equipped with performance enhancements that allow for higher top speeds and greater acceleration than earlier models
and feature enhanced power pack technology.
The running of the first ever clean emissions Grand Prix
at the Isle of Man in June made 2009 a landmark year in the history of two-wheeled motorsport. Next year is shaping up to be even bigger. A series of races will be run throughout 2010 beginning with TXGP North America Championship at Infineon in Sonoma, California in May. The latest competitor to throw its hat into the ring is US-based Zero Motorcycles, which will make its road racing debut on home turf with a bike that's expected to be based on the Zero S model
Electric motorcycle manufacturer Zero
has followed up the success of its X and S ranges with the Zero DS – a combination dirt/street machine the company says can “handle any surface you can throw at it.” This new option for those looking to ditch their noise-polluting, emission-spewing internal combustion bikes looks very similar to the S model
, but has a bigger front wheel (17 inch), chunkier tread on the back tire and a nobby on the front, specially-designed wheels and suspension and a distinctive naked round headlamp without the windshield found on the S.
was a surprise hit in 2008, selling out its stock of 'X' battery-electric motocross bikes much faster than expected and proving in the process that customers are well and truly ready to slap down the dollars for a quality electric off-roader. Now the company has announced the Zero S - a street-legal electric supermotard capable of 60mph and with a 60-mile range off a full 4-hour battery charge. At under USD$10,000 - before you get your 10% Federal plug-in vehicle credit - the Zero S joins the Vectrix electric maxi-scooter
in the list of truly practical electric bikes capable of freeway speeds. And with a power-to-weight ratio almost identical to Suzuki's DR-Z400SM, it should be a bag of laughs to ride. If consumers liked the X, we reckon they'll go crazy to be the first on the block to ride this street-legal, lean, green giggle machine.
When the flag drops, the bullsh*t stops, as they say in racing, and few sectors in the auto market have as much to prove as electric motorcycles. The performance potential of electric bikes is almost unbounded, with massive advantages over petrol bikes in so many areas - and battery technology is starting to catch up
with the market's needs - but until recently, there's been no international competitive showcase for the top level of electric motorcycles. Just this week, the FIM announced a zero-emissions TT Grand Prix
on the Isle of Man in June - and paved the way for electric bikes to compete in the future against top-level petrol bikes. Now, off-road specialists Zero Motorcycles are gearing up for the world's first all-electric 24-hour endurance motocross race in California on April 4. The flag has dropped on electric racing. Time to see who's got the goods, and who's been telling porkies.