The new Zero DS is one of five revamped production electric motorcycle models in the 2012 lineup of Zero Motorcycles. The Zero DS is an all-new model for 2012—a dual-sport bike with a high ground clearance for off road riding, incorporating the latest in electric motorcycle technology. The bike is built on a rigid and lightweight twin spar frame and has a much greater riding range than its predecessor. The old four kilowatt-hour battery is now replaced with either the ZF6 (6 kW/h) or ZF9 (9 kW/h) battery.
According to the company, the version with lithium-ion battery pack with nine kilowatt-hours has a maximum riding range of 112 miles in ideal conditions. In a typical city and highway riding this falls to 62 miles driving range. The maximum driving range for the model with the six kilowatt-hour battery is 75 miles. The price: $13,995 for bikes with ZF9 (9 kW/h) battery and $11,495 for those with ZF6 (6 kW/h.
It’s estimated that the cost per charge in the United States is $0.63 The bike’s Miles Per Gallon equivalent (MPGe) is 480 mpg in the city and 267 mpg on highway (yes, more in the city because of the extra power from the regenerative brakes.)
I’ve read a number of mixed reviews about Zero DS. From the perspective of an average motorcycle buyer and not a fan of electric bikes or environmentalist, its good features include good design/appearance, good power, relatively quick acceleration from a stop and on highway, good performance as a dirt and highway bike. It’s main drawbacks are long charging time, and still insufficient riding range.
Professional motorcycle reviewer for nytimes.com, Daniel McDermon, says that the new Zero DS feels like a real production motorcycle while its earlier version was more like a bike built in a garage. He says that the extra height provides better visibility on the road and that the bike is not for those seeking thrills. See the full article here.
Troy Siahaan from Motorcycle.com likes the Sport mode: “The fun lies in Sport mode, where twisting the throttle actually equates to rapid acceleration on par, if not better than, a stout 250cc equivalent gas counterpart. With all of its torque available at zero rpm, the DS leaps from a stop, and with its broad torque curve, there’s always power available when you need it.” He loves the Zero DS and thinks believes that the bike “is a glimpse into the future of motorcycling.”
Wes Siler, in an article for wired.com, says that the tires on Zero DS are cheap. He also notes that even with the quick charger (which is too heavy to carry with you anyway), it will take you 5 hours to recharge the Zero DS.
Finally, watch this video by Hell for Leather called “The Shocking Truth About Electric Motorcycles – RideApart.”