The basic designs remain the same. The Zero S is still the brand's standard-bearer, from which is derived the very popular SR performance variant – think zero-to-60 in 3.3 seconds – and the dual sport interpretation, the DS. As well, the FX "Stealthfighter" hoon machine returns with its unique frame and swappable batteries. So, what's new? The riding dynamics. Everything that interfaces with the rider and the road has been upgraded. Absolutely everything.
Fully adjustable suspensions are now sourced from Showa and specifically tuned for each model, the reconfigured brakes boast Bosch ABS, and tires are proudly provided by Pirelli. All bikes get new mirrors, softer handlebar grips and a stouter throttle. The S, SR, and DS receive a resculpted seat, and cast alloy wheels around which to wrap their new-found Italian rubber. The FX also gets new, slightly wider wheels and everyone get lighter axles and beefier bearings.
What's that? You really wanted a bigger battery? Bam! You got it! Zero has managed to find ten percent more juice for its S-based machines for 2015. As before, you can choose between two different basic battery packages, now sized at 9.4 and 12.5 kilowatt-hours. Plus, you can still sign up for the 2.8-kWh Power Tank option and ride away with a total of 15.3 kWhs of energy.
For the S and SR, that maximized battery capacity gives you up to 185 city miles, using the Urban Dynamometer Driving Schedule (UDDS), 115 miles at a steady 55 miles per hour, and 94 miles at a constant 70 mph. Put another way, the bikes return 462 MPGe in the city, 236 MPGe on the highway. Now we're cooking
Of course, these sorts of improvements come at a cost. While the company managed to chop off $1,000 from the price tag last year, these upgrades will up the outlay in 2015 by $400. You can still think of it as a net savings of $600 over the 2013 invoice, though. You can find all the model-specific pricing, along with more details, in the press release below.
Besides its consumer products, Zero is also emphasizing its fleet vehicles this year. In addition to its military MMX, SP and DSP already offered, it's adding an FX-based police version appropriately badged as the FXP (pictured above). This should nicely fill the niche for slightly more-affordable machines, still capable of stealth and all the performance necessary to do the job.
If you're anxious to see, or maybe even try out, a 2015 Zero, you won't have to impatiently wait too long. The company tells us they should be finding their way to US dealers in December and European outlets by February. You can also get a little preview by scrolling below and perusing the videos of each consumer model doing its thing.
By all appearances, it seems that Zero has finally addressed most of the knocks it's previously taken from moto journalists in the past: mediocre brakes, unsophisticated suspension and tires that belie the price point. It will be most interesting to see how this new model year is received by them and, hopefully, by us. Despite past criticisms, the company's sales have improved markedly year-on-year and we suspect that, with these enhancements and the electric market mostly to themselves, that upward trend will continue.
PREMIUM SHOWA SUSPENSION, BOSCH ANTI-LOCK BRAKE SYSTEMS AND PIRELLI TIRES
New motorcycles travel up to 185 miles in the city and over 100 miles on the highway
SANTA CRUZ, Calif. (Sept. 30, 2014) – Zero Motorcycles, the global leader in the electric motorcycle industry, today announced its 2015 model line with premium new standard equipment including Showa suspension, Bosch anti-lock brake systems and Pirelli tires. The refinements are designed to transform the already exhilarating ride experience by offering incredibly smooth suspension, optimal braking responsiveness and unrivaled traction. To increase range, Zero introduced new battery cells with 10% greater capacity on the Zero S, Zero SR and Zero DS. When combined with the Power Tank accessory, this yields an industry leading range of up to 185 miles in the city, 94 miles on the highway at 70 mph or 115 miles at 55 mph.
"For 2015, we have further redefined the motorcycle experience by creating a lineup that delivers, quite possibly, the most seamless and pure ride of any motorcycle ever manufactured," said Richard Walker, CEO of Zero Motorcycles. "With no shifting, up to 106 ft-lbs of instant torque and a host of new technical improvements that offer premium comfort and control, we invite all consumers to go for a ride on these impressive new machines. The new lineup will arrive at North American dealerships in December and during late February for Europe."
Beyond improvements in suspension, brakes and batteries, the 2015 lineup features a host of new design elements and componentry. Freshly designed cast alloy wheels on the Zero S, Zero SR and Zero DS incorporate a carrier-less front rotor and hollow front axle to reduce unsprung weight. Riders will notice stylish new mirrors that provide excellent rearward visibility and reduce motorcycle width. Improved seat ergonomics and softer grips enhance comfort. A more robust throttle controls the Z-Force® motor's instantaneous torque.
The latest California-built electric motorcycles leverage proven Z-Force® technology. Following years of evolution and refinement, the powertrain has been instrumental in Zero being awarded "Best Electric Motorcycle" by multiple publications around the globe. After years of development, thousands of customers around the world and the announcement of an industry leading 5-year power pack warranty, Zero Motorcycles is the driving force of the electric motorcycle industry.
"Zero worked in close collaboration with Showa to develop suspension systems that are optimized for each specific model," said Abe Askenazi, CTO of Zero Motorcycles. "The resulting ride quality is fantastic. When combined with Bosch's carefully tuned ABS on newly engineered brake systems and Pirelli tires, every Zero has once again been transformed."
By staying focused on carefully selected motorcycle categories, Zero has kept its product line diverse enough to meet the needs of a wide variety of riders and lean enough to offer customers refinements without substantial increases to suggested retail pricing. As a result, the premium upgrades to the 2015 line will only cost riders around $400 more for very significant improvements.
About the Z-Force® Powertrain
The industry-leading Z-Force® powertrain embodies a philosophy of "sophisticated simplicity" by maximizing the exhilaration of riding and minimizing needless complexity. The Z-Force® motor and overall powertrain is completely air-cooled on account of its highly efficient and innovative design. With instant torque, a nearly silent belt-driven system and no shifting, riders need only focus on enjoying the ride. For the owner, there is no routine powertrain maintenance and the 'fuel' cost is only a penny a mile.
About Zero Motorcycles Fleet Products
Zero Motorcycles is releasing four fleet motorcycles for the 2015 model year. Updated models include the Zero SP, Zero DSP and Zero MMX. Zero is introducing the Zero FXP as a new model for 2015 to provide a more nimble, faster and lower cost option to patrol fleets. With the ability to ride both on and off-road, Zero's fleet motorcycles offer unique advantages over internal combustion driven machines. The 100% electric powertrain is nearly silent, exhaust free, produces minimal heat, has instant torque from zero rpm and is highly maneuverable. With a 'fuel' cost of a penny per mile and a maintenance-free powertrain, a Zero offers the ability for governments, agencies and organizations to save money while also giving them a tactical advantage. Download the press kit on Zero Motorcycles' press page for more information.
Pricing information: Each Zero Motorcycles model is 100% electric and, as a result, may qualify to receive government rebates or credits. Zero sells its motorcycles through authorized dealerships. Each motorcycle comes with a standard two-year warranty. In addition, Zero offers an industry best 5-year / 100,000-mile warranty* on the power pack of all 2014-2015 Zero S, Zero SR and Zero DS models and a 5-year / 50,000-mile warranty* on the power pack of the Zero FX. Dealers will begin receiving the new motorcycles in December for North America and in late February for Europe. Authorized dealers will begin accepting orders on September 30th from those who would like to secure a 2015 model. The pricing for each model is below.
Zero S MSRP: (ZF9.4) $13,345** | MSRP: (ZF12.5) $15,345**
Zero SR MSRP: (ZF9.4) N/A | MSRP: (ZF12.5) $17,345**
Zero DS MSRP: (ZF9.4) $13,345** | MSRP: (ZF12.5) $15,345**
Zero FX MSRP: (ZF2.8) $9,845** | MSRP: (ZF5.7) $12,340**
Z-Force® Power Tank MSRP: $2,495**
*Warranty covers manufacturer defects in the power pack and degradation beyond expected parameters. Details will be made available online.
**MSRP in USD. Prices vary by country and currency. Does not include local shipping, applicable taxes, PDI, or road registration fees. Please see international pricing at www.zeromotorcycles.com/shop.
About Zero Motorcycles: Zero Motorcycles is committed to transforming the motorcycling experience by bringing to market highly innovative electric motorcycles that offer exceptional value and performance. Zero is powered by innovation, driven by passion, guided by integrity, and measured by results. Through extensive research, insight and experience, Zero combines the art and science of motorcycle development to create and manufacture products that excite consumers and inspire brand loyalty. Every model is designed and built in California. Zero is determined to be the preeminent global electric motorcycle company.