2011 Zero Motorcycles Get Quick-Charge Option and More

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Fresh off its latest $2 million fundraiser, we get more news from Zero Motorcycles, as the Santa Cruz, CA company has released its 2011 line of electric motorcycles. Immediately noticeable is new livery and color schemes, but we think it’s the technical changes that will get people truly excited. Most prominant in the model year unveiling is the fact that every bike in Zero’s 2011 line-up can have a quick-charge option installed.

A major highlight, the quick-charge system will allow Zero Motorcycles with the add-on feature to be charged in nearly half the time of the standard version. Also a part of this technology’s allure is the ability for Zero Motorcycles to be charged off the J1772 public charging stations, which municipalities are starting to install in public parking spots.

“During the past year, our Engineering and Manufacturing teams have benefitted from experienced new leadership and the results are clear. In close coordination, they have been working overtime to design and build the world’s finest collection of electric motorcycles,” said CEO of Zero Motorcycles Gene Banman. “Our 2011 model line is composed of exceptionally high quality electric motorcycles that balance performance, range, weight, affordability and availability. We are excited to announce such major changes across the entire model line and to also be setting new industry standards in the way we report on our motorcycles’ performance specifications.”

Taking a cursory look at the 2011 models, we see a number of aesthetic changes, including chin and instrument cluster fairings, new paint schemes, colored wheels, and bevy of finer changes to the overall aesthetic of Zero’s product line (most notably on the Zero S and Zero DS). Some of the changes seem to be for the better — the Zero S for instance now looks more like a naked street bike than the unpolished supermotard it was before, yet we think some people might be put off by the cherry red “stuntah wheels’ we see here (you’re either going to love them or hate them).

Other more technical changes come in the form of things like a more refined charge status indicator, upgraded brakes, and upgraded suspension. One of the major criticisms of Zero’s offering has been the “bicycle-like” componentry in these areas, and the Californian company has clearly listened to these complaints, making the appropriate changes here in 2011.

Another noticeable change is the belt drive system being sported on the Zero S and Zero DS. Zero is touting the trouble-free maintenance of the belt drive system, which will surely entice new riders, but experienced two-wheelers might see the move as making electrics seem more toy-like to their petrol-based counterparts. This is the part were logical engineering butts heads with passion and rider connection in motorcycling, and what is best for the customer and what the customer wants are two very different things sometimes. Time will tell on how this one plays out.

Lastly, Zero Motorcycles has announced that street legal versions of the Zero X and Zero MX will be available. While Zero has traditionally let the DS model serve as its dual-sport offering, the company has clearly gotten feedback that motorcyclists would like to be able to ride their Zero X and Zero MX bikes around town, and to their final destination. The street legal options for these bikes include: headlights, taillights, sidestands, dashes, sensors, and different gearing.

All of the 2011 models from Zero Motorcycles will be shipping in March 2011…likely in Mexico as well.

2011 Zero Motorcycles Zero S:

2011 Zero Motorcycles Zero DS:

2011 Zero Motorcycles Zero MX:

2011 Zero Motorcycles Zero X:

Source: Zero Motorcycles