There is currently no distance record for electric motorcycle journeys recorded by Guinness World Records, but there will be soon and Terry Hershner will own it. The Florida resident set off for the Long Beach International Motorcycle Show in California with the dual purpose of attending the event and setting a world record. He appears to have accomplished both.

While most journeys begin with a single step, Terry began his epic expedition on the 21st of November with a 1,000-mile detour down to Miami for a Thanksgiving visit, his Zero S electric motorcycle loaded above the gunnels with all the imaginable gear one might need on this kind of adventure. Camping equipment? Check. Assorted electrical outlet adaptors? Check. Emergency stuck-in-the-middle-of-the-desert solar panel and spare battery pack? Double checkeroni.
As you may be able to tell from the photo above, his steed is not stock. Purchased last April, Terry started hacking his ride almost immediately and those changes, which include the addition of no less than four on-board chargers and a J1772 plug, have significantly increased its road-tripping capability. With the help of a fifth charger that he carries in a backpack he can fill the ZF9 battery (about 7.7 nominal kWhs) in about an hour given an outlet with enough juice. His improvised tailstock extension also helped increase the real estate available to accommodate all his stuff.

This is the very same Zero S that had a 4th-place finish at the 2012 TTXGP World Championship.

Not only is this bike good for going far, it's also good for going fast, should the need arise. With the addition of a 660 amp controller – which also increases its regenerative-braking abilities – this Zero S can top 100 miles per hour. In fact, this is the very same Zero S that his friend Jeremiah Johnson rode to a 4th-place finish at the 2012 TTXGP World Championship. Normally, one would think this kind of speed counter-productive for a long-distance trip, but during a phone interview, Terry told AutoblogGreen that it was really helpful in certain parts of Texas where the 85 mph signage seems to suggest a minimum speed to drivers, rather than the maximum.

Speaking of the Lone Star state, the record bid was going amazingly well until our pioneering protagonist reached its western hinterlands. Relying on several different EV charging station locator apps, he had been covering about 500 miles on most days. Sure, there was that one time when the bike had to be pushed for a mile after coming up a smidge short while attempting a particularly lengthy stretch between electricity sources, and another instance when reuniting a lost dog with its owner cost Terry a few hours, but these were minor setbacks compared to what was coming.

After covering 3,100 miles, the effort hit a brick wall.

After covering 3,100 miles, the effort hit a brick wall. Or, more accurately, a locked gate with a sign indicating no thru traffic and the mention of satellite-monitored video/audio surveillance. You see, while the different apps listed a series of Chargepoint stations necessary to bridge the gap to Arizona, they failed to mention they were not accessible to the public.

Unable to proceed, Terry called in the Marines his racer buddy Jeremiah, who flew in, rented a van, and brought the pair to LA. While that may seem an ignominious end to the trek, it is not. Though it's still unclear whether the Guinness folks will allow the bid to continue despite the 1,000-mile jump, the 3,100 miles traveled so far can stand. There is also the opportunity to add to or beat that distance on the ride back home to Orlando, FL.

Yep, that's right, he plans on riding the same bike back across the country. That is, after a slight detour that will see him shooting up north to San Francisco and include a stop at Zero Motorcycles headquarters, where engineers plan on giving his bike a good going over and discuss development of the 2014 models with him.

You can follow Terry's progress, ask questions or just cheer him on over at the Off The Grid Facebook page. We look forward to seeing what official number he finally puts up and suspect it will stand for some time. Until then, godspeed Mr. Hershner.


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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 12 Comments
      bluepongo1
      • 2 Years Ago
      In the second paragraph they mention the solar panels. In the third they get into modifications. I agree with @EZEE & @Dave R aero improvement is good, but also an aerodynamic trailer w/ solar, swap, and personal equipment rather than that rig on the back.
        2 wheeled menace
        • 2 Years Ago
        @bluepongo1
        2 watts is not going to do much for your range when you are pushing 2,000-10,000 watts continuous. In fact, the aerodynamic drag and weight of the panels will hurt you more than help you. A lot of people who don't understand the mathematics of energy and aerodynamic drag have tried to make solar vehicles. It's the teardrop shaped vehicles that manage to go. An upright bike has so much bad and so awful a cD that solar panels will actually not work for you at all..
          THEKPV
          • 2 Years Ago
          @2 wheeled menace
          A solar electric bike (SolarCross) operating on under 15 watts.. with a solar windshield... that contrary to popular belief improves my aero. video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nrZlINxBeag
          bluepongo1
          • 2 Years Ago
          @2 wheeled menace
          I agree, but if you read the story, he had an extra battery pack to swap. With an aerodynamic trailer you could carry more packs and equipment(and possibly one of those compact Honda generators) yet it would have less drag than the rig pictured. That was all I was sayin'. Happy Holidays/ Seasons Greetings. @EZEE & @ 2wm & everybody else too If I don't post again later.
        EZEE
        • 2 Years Ago
        @bluepongo1
        Actually, I would normally say it is weird to drag a trailer so you can go further - but in this case, since it is a motorcycle, storage is at a premium. A trailer, with wheel generators and solar panels would have the dual purpose of storage for his long trip, and extra mileage.
      • 2 Years Ago
      I would like to see something like a pusher that would carry the extra battery pack and get you about 75 miles of range. Kind of like the Ridekick Power Trailer found here (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_Z2Qg63Hhys) but with a better design for the motorcycle. Imagine using a trailer like the Can Am Spyder uses full of batteries and the Can Am being electric as well. I could see that combo being a 400 mile range vehicle at 55-65 mph. Now that is a mod I would love to be involved in and ride. Plus, Chademo capable and all the other things that Terry did to his with a good regen on the bike. Removeable battery packs inside the bike and the trailer is also Chademo. I can dream, right!!!
      • 1 Year Ago
      Terry, I was really hoping that you would comment on my idea here. I love all the innovations that you did to your Zero!! Yount
      • 2 Years Ago
      EZEE There were solar panels on the back!! You can see them on top of the duffle bags!
      aarrieta@vortalgroup.com
      Thanks for the information about police auctions very helpful. http://www.policeauctions.com/
      • 2 Years Ago
      The solar panels came in useful a few times and were an essential part of the gear. While I agree that the aero drag was increased, when the batteries would be drained between long distances at low speeds, the panels after a short distance of pushing would let the bike come back on again and be ridden slowly to the first available 120v plug. When charting an unknown route, the solar panels were the only thing that let me know I wouldn't be indefinitely stuck. At very low speed driving you can use less than a few hundred watts so the panels don't take too long to get you going again.
      EZEE
      • 2 Years Ago
      Why not throw a solar panel on that thing on the back? It might only extend the range a few miles, but if riding during the day, wtf? Then when you park where there is not outlet, a few more miles. I look at this thing and think, 'okay, yea, cool' but wonder about the engineering - I would think some sort of cowling, or cover, covered with solar panels, and (channeling my inner dan) also help with the aero. That said, if he was getting 500 miles a day - that is pretty good - how far does one want to ride a motorcycle in one day, anyway? Bet he slept well at night...
        Dave R
        • 2 Years Ago
        @EZEE
        He has one (4 actually). About 2 watts each if I heard him correctly on the video I watched. Pretty much a waste of effort, IMO. Working to improve aerodynamics would have been much more worth while given the huge amount of high way miles on his trip.