Zero Motorcycles is reporting a very serious defect with its 2012 model year bikes, specifically affecting the Zero S, Zero DS, and Zero DSP (Police) models.
The recall concerns Zero’s battery architecture for the 2012 model year, which may cause cells to fail, and thus create a runaway “thermal event” (read: catches on fire) within the battery pack.
In total, this recall affects 218 motorcycle units – the entire volume of Zero S, Zero DS, and Zero DPS motorcycles that were sold for the 2012 model year.
In its recall documents, Zero cites three instances (one in Hong Kong, and two in the USA) where the battery packs on the affected 2012 model bikes have failed and lead to a thermal event.
The issue with the battery packs seems to be two-fold, and pertains to how Zero’s battery pack is designed, and how its cells are held within the pack.
According to Zero’s filings with NHTSA, the cell pouches on the affected bikes are allowed to move inside their holders, which can cause their surfaces to eventually wear against the holder, and thus create an electrical short within the battery pack.
Additionally, the battery packs are not completely sealed, which allows atmosphere to enter the battery pack, and possibly corrode the cells with humidity.
However, because of the way that the battery packs are designed, it is not possible for Zero Motorcycles to remedy the problem with a simple replacement.
As such, Zero Motorcycles will buy-back all of the Zero S, Zero DS, and Zero DPS electric motorcycles that it sold for the 2012 model year. Affected owners also have the option of trading their bikes in for a new Zero.
Affected Zero owners are advised not to ride or charge their bikes, effective immediately, and Zero dealers will arrange transport of the bikes from the customer to Zero Motorcycles, at no charge to the bike’s owner.
Zero Motorcycles hopes to notify its dealer network of this recall no later than the week of April 16, 2018, and to notify affected owners no later than the week of April 30, 2018.
Concerned Zero owners may contact Zero Motorcycles customer service at 1-888-841-8085. Zero’s number for this recall is SV-ZMC-018-383. As always, the NHTSA is also available at 1-888-327-4236 and safercar.gov