Three Country Tour on an Electric Motorcycle – South Carolina

JUN 19 2015 BY BEN RICH 9

Electric Motorcycle Tour

Electric Motorcycle Tour

Electric Motorcycle Tour

Electric Motorcycle Tour

It was the best of times, it was the worst of times. Then it was the best of times again!

Leaving Asheville I needed an external hard drive because my computer was full. I couldn’t copy photos or videos (videos will return soon…), but I start my day at 7am and they don’t open until 10am! So no luck to start the day. I went to Spartanburg to charge and found a Best Buy near there and picked up a hard drive there.

Then I noticed that Union, SC was nearby and I had been there before. Two years ago I went across the country on the Ride the Future Tour and we made the movie Kick Gas. The tour started in Charleston and ended at Google HQ in Mountain View, CA. Well, our first stops were at Orangeburg Nissan and Union, SC. We even met the mayor of Union!

I went to see if I could get an audience with the mayor, but he happened to have stepped out just before I got there. However, the receptionist remembered me and we caught up on the happenings of the past two years.

Then I went to Orangeburg, little did I know that i would have great difficulty leaving. I left my motorcycle charging at the Nissan dealership and ate at Fatz restaurant. During that time the bike stopped charging at 52%! When I plugged it back in the circuit would trip and restart.

Since that charger wasn’t working I went next door to the Chevy dealer to try my luck with their charger. Chevy dealers use a less powerful charger since Volts can only charge at 3.3kW and Nissan LEAFs can charge at 6.6kW. The charger wasn’t working so I found a nearby RV Park. However, when I turned the throttle to leave, the bike didn’t move.

Electric Motorcycle Tour

Electric Motorcycle Tour

After about 3 hours of trying different charging and restarting the bike and talking with Zero support, we finally figured it out. I had to let it slowly charge to full so the 2 different battery packs in the bike (the main battery and the power tank) could equalize. Somehow their voltages got out of whack. I’m pretty sure I understand why, but it doesn’t bear repeating here. I can avoid that in the future pretty easily.

Electric Motorcycle Tour

Electric Motorcycle Tour

After that adventure I finally made it to my destination, the Prohibition Lounge in Charleston for some live music, craft drinks and dancing! Had a great time dancing with the locals and made it to my hosts house at midnight. Time to get some shuteye and go big tomorrow. Tomorrow is a 400+ mile day!

Map Of Today's Trip

Map Of Today’s Trip

Categories: Bikes

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9 Comments on "Three Country Tour on an Electric Motorcycle – South Carolina"

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I enjoy reading your updates Ben. Hope you’ll post the details on technical issues that come up, for the benefit of any that follow in your trail. That might be me soon, I am eyeing a new motorcycle for adventure riding.

Thanks for the updates Ben! I’m really interested in your experiences on the Zero SR as I am contemplating replacing my current 2004 BMW R1150R (130K miles) with a new SR. Please provide more info on having to slowly charge the two battery packs. I would like to know what kinds of problems I may encounter in the future.


Some Eatons can charge your SR at 6.3kw. I have done it many times. But you are correct in that some can’t. Vinny