Three Country Tour on an Electric Motorcycle – Prep

JUN 12 2015 BY BEN RICH 18

The Bike

The Bike

Three Country Tour on an Electric Motorcycle – The Prep

For the past three summers I have been riding my electric motorcycle on a road trip spanning more than 4,500 miles. In part to show that electric motorcycles can already be used for road trips, but also because I love riding the open road. Especially when riding is using the latest technology in the form of a Zero SR electric motorcycle. The torque is amazing, the handling is great and riding without noise or vibration is like being on Aladdin’s magic carpet!

In 2013 I rode my 2012 Zero S across the country with the Ride the Future Tour going 100 miles each day. It was amazing. It was so amazing that I decided to take my own trip in 2014 on the same bike, except this time I could go between 250-400 miles each day.

*Editor’s Note: InsideEVs welcomes Ben Rich to our ever-growing team of electric transportation writers. Ben is friends and ridding buddies with our everyday electric motorcycle writer Ted Dillard.  A close knit community we are. That’s for sure!

I’m not the only person traveling hundreds of miles per day on an electric motorcycle. Terry Hershner has been setting records and creating awareness by riding great distances. We became friends when he joined us on the Ride the Future Tour for the final week as we rode up California.

The Bike

The Bike

However, even though we are friends, that doesn’t preclude a little friendly competition. While he clearly travels farther and faster than I do (with a highly modified bike), I have been to more states than him! (Thank you New England!) Part of my plan for this trip is to notch a few more states into my belt to make my lead even greater.

Additionally I plan to ride in Mexico and Canada, and I believe I’ll beat him to Mexico. My plan is to travel down the east coast via Skyline Drive in the Shenandoahs, then to Asheville down the Blue Ridge parkway followed by a visit to Charleston, SC and Titusville, FL where my parents live. After that I’ll go over to San Antonio Texas, take a day trip to Mexico, then head up to visit friends in Ohio and finally back to my home in New Jersey near NYC.

While on this journey I hope to help people gain a greater understanding of what it’s like to travel using an electric vehicle right now. It isn’t impossible, but it isn’t easy either. Through articles and videos I hope to convey the state of the electric vehicle road trip and will answer any questions you are interested in knowing the answer to.

This first video goes through my preparations for an electric motorcycle road trip. My motorcycle is a 2014 Zero SR with a Power Tank that gives me a total range of 171 miles on side roads and about 100 miles of range on the highway.

Video description: Prepping my 2014 Zero SR electric motorcycle for a 5,000 mile road trip.

The onboard charging system on the motorcycle gains only 1.3kW of electrical power, but I have a secret weapon. The good folks at Hollywood Electrics make a charging system for Zero Motorcycles using Elcon 2.5kW chargers (http://hollywoodelectrics.com/product/elcon-quick-charger/). With 2 Elcons plus the onboard charger I will be able to charge at 6.3kW (close to the charging rate of a Nissan Leaf).

I find those charging stations using the PlugShare app (www.PlugShare.com) either on a computer or on my smartphone.

My journey begins June 12 and concludes on July 5th or 6th. If you would like to meet in any of these locations, or somewhere between, let me know and I’ll try to find a place to get together. I love meeting electric vehicle enthusiasts!

  • June 12-13 – Centreville, VA
  • June 14: Roanoke, VA
  • June 15-16: Asheville, NC
  • June 17: Charleston, SC (swing dance that night)
  • June 18-19: Titusville, FL (mostly with Family, but could have lunch on the 19th with EV drivers/riders)
  • June 20: Tallahassee, FL
  • June 21-22: Zachary, LA
  • June 23: Houston, TX (Free in the evening and looking for a place to stay)
  • June 24-25: San Antonio, TX
  • June 26: Houston, TX (Free in the evening and looking for a place to stay)
  • June 27: Zachary, LA
  • June 28: Ackerman, MS (Free in the evening and looking for a place to stay)
  • June 29-30: Nashville, TN
  • July 1-2: Dublin, OH (near Columbus)
  • July 3-4: Cleveland, OH
  • July 5: Travel across PA on route 80 back home to NJ.

Categories: Bikes

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18 Comments on "Three Country Tour on an Electric Motorcycle – Prep"

newest oldest most voted

Thanks for the video, Ben!

It looks like some of your legs are 300-500 miles. A lot longer than last year 🙂

Do you think you’ll be able to complete those in a single day? Seems like you’d need about 8 hours of charging for a 500 mile day, not counting the actual ride time!

How often do you find it’s convenient to stop (distance / charge time), and what do you do to occupy time while charging?

Does charging in the rain cause any complications?

Are you able to get everything you need for the month in your tailbox, or do you strap additional gear behind your riding position?

Benswing

Last year I could go up to 400 miles in a (very long) day. With longer range and faster charging I hope to extend that to 500 miles this summer. We’ll see… It could be an adventure!

All of my stuff fits in the top box (including a small tool kit for emergencies). Since I’m staying with friends and family I will be doing laundry along the way.

On the SR I can count on 100 miles on the highway, and I have summer reading (for work) books to occupy my time. There will definitely be video for this later.

Rain has not had any impact on charging , and I have charged in some downpours!

Steven Day

Ben, I’m envious of your setup! I just bought my first EV Friday (2015 Zero SR). If I’d seen this page earlier, I’d have tried to meet up to see your setup in person.

The Hollywood Electrics chargers are waterproof? They don’t look like it.

Stay safe!

Steven

Airton

Good luck and have fun Ben! Keep it rubber side down!

Warren

Ben,

Will you be near Charlottesville, or Afton today? I’d love to see your bike.

http://www.evalbum.com/4525

Benswing

The closest I get to Charlottesville will be at Sigora Solar in Waynesboro in the afternoon on June 14th.

Warren

Sweet! I’ll be there. Thanks.

Gareth

Sooo, when are you coming to Canada? Don’t see it on the schedule.

Benswing

Good point. The ride to Canada will be a bit later this summer. I have a work obligation in CT at the end of this part of the tour, and I’ll either go from there or after the Mt Washington Alt Energy Summit on July 25.

Best of luck on your ride, Ben.

Terry will be appearing on a Google Hangout today at 3 Pacific time, you’re welcome to call in and let us know how your trip is going. I’ll post the URL here just before 3.

Your charger brackets look good but seem to have sharp edges. Take care.

Here is the link for the Live Video Chat with “Electric Terry” Hershner, Chase Gregory and myself on Google Hangouts. The conversations start at 6pm EST. https://lnkd.in/eReVYPM

G2

Benswing; if you make it as far north to Victoria BC we can put you up and provide the BBQ/beer.
G2

Ben

Thanks for the offer, I’d love to visit. As soon as I can find a sponsor to do this full time, I will be there!

G2

Roger!

But, you’re rich ;-p

Ken

Thanks for stopping by this morning Ben. It was nice to see you again. I wish i could have talked longer and showed you the rest of my EVs but i had to get to work. Stop by to charge anytime. Let me know and ill always try to have water, magazines, and a place to sit for you. Charge on!

Ben

Thank you, buddy! Glad we had a few minutes to chat, and I appreciate the charge and ice water on this hot, hot day!

Ben, stop on by my place in Jacksonville, FL on your way to Titusville for a cold mineral water and to check out my Chevy Volt and V-Strom. Former Jersey guy that moved south to get more EV range for my Volt.

Stay safe.