DealerNews Talks to Zero CEO Richard Walker (w/video)


Zero CEO Richard Walker sits down with DealerNews’ Beth Dolgner for a little chat, wherein he discusses the motorcycle industry,

“… it gets down to execution. You’ve got to make sure that your motorcycles are in the right places at the right times when the season opens up, and you’ve got to make sure that you don’t overbuild, because then you end up with too many left at the end of the season, which is exactly the same as the technology business.”

…technology and the growth of electric motorcycles,

“I think now what’s happened is that the motorcycles have come of age and they are serious motorcycles, and so they deliver a phenomenal experience to people.”

…sales and service of electric motorcycles,

Zero CEO Richard Walker

Zero CEO Richard Walker

We’ve typically seen our business grow almost 100 percent year on year. In fact, if you just take our business this year, by the end of June of this year, we’d already surpassed our 2013 revenues, so that’s another good sign, as well. “

“…generally speaking, the service of the vehicle might result in a firmware update that they have to do, but we have the ability through an app for an owner today, that if they see something that’s appeared on the dash that’s not quite right and they call us, they can send the logs directly. The phone can connect to the bike via Bluetooth and they can send the logs directly to our customer support team.

So we are providing capabilities that are a little different from what you’ll typically see on a nice bike today. I think that’s also part and parcel of the electric bike experience, that you’ve got the ability to start now to put a bike on the network and get these logs back and diagnose, and also ultimately, hopefully, it’ll get to be more of a preemptive conversation: “Oh, it looks like something’s not quite right; bring it in,” and so forth.”


“Well I think that a dealer who wants to work with us has to believe that electric is part of the future…”

…and their unique relationship directly with riders.

“…generally speaking, the experience is so good, that even if people don’t buy, they’ll tell their friends, “Hey, guess what, I just rode a Zero and it was really, really good.” So that’s really what we’re trying to do.”

This, and a whole lot more at DealerNews’ INTERVIEW: Zero CEO Richard Walker on the rise of electric motorcycles

Also, don’t miss this presentation by Walker last year at the E-Mobility Conference in 2013 talking about the company, profits, investors and more:

Category: Bikes

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6 responses to "DealerNews Talks to Zero CEO Richard Walker (w/video)"
  1. mhpr262 says:

    They still don’t have a cruiser or a sportsbike. No idea why … those are by far the best selling types of motorcycles in the US. I think there is a pretty large segment of the cruiser market who are sick of the “loud pipes” lifestyle.

    1. Richard Gozinya says:

      They probably don’t see any point to it. Sportbikes especially are a highly competitive market. Most sportbike people will buy the most high performance bike they can, within a certain price point. Zero, quite simply, is incapable of competing in that market.

      As for cruisers, regardless of what anybody says, if they want a cruiser, what they really want is a Harley. Basically everything else in that segment is just a Harley clone. With the exception of Moto Guzzi’s California.

      1. mhpr262 says:

        That is mostly true, but my point is those two market niches are so big there is bound to be room for for subniches – people who want the dashing, cool, aggressive look of a sportbike but without the peaky engine and shifting hassle, or low-seat height cruisers without the loud noise and also without the shifting. Low maintenance is a factor too, especially for women.
        The number of people who have no idea how to operate a manual gearbox declines every year in the US. I am pretty sure that scares off a fair portion of potential riders.

        1. martinwinlow says:

          @ mhpr262 – I agree with you but I think Zero have a very up hill task making much headway in even a sub-niche market when the product is so comparatively expensive. A better fit might be to look at bigger bike platforms – sports bikes and cruisers – if it meant that they could use a cheaper, less exotic (less energy-dense) cell e.g. like Tesla is using – especially so when Tesla’s new cell making ‘Gigafactory’ is up and running as Zero will be able to purchase cells from Tesla at probably half the cost they are paying now, maybe even less.

          But from an investment POV, Mr Walker has left a good impression!

      2. Ted Dillard says:

        Glad you have such a dead bead on the what, over 8.5 million owners and riders out there? (…and that’s just the registered bikes.) 😉

        To answer the question, I suspect it’s a matter of focus. Their first bikes were a natural fit for an electric drivetrain at the time. The evolution of the line, to today’s SR, at it’s current performance numbers is a very organic progression, both of their bikes, but also of the technology.

        What I took from the interview and clip above is that they have a very measured, disciplined strategy, and are willing to take things a step at a time.

  2. Vinny says:

    If you like the idea of an electric cruiser take a look at the Brutus V9.

    At first glance it really does look like a H-D.