Zero Welcomes Harley, Polaris to Electric Motorcycle Market (w/video)


In a story in the LA Times, both Zero’s CEO Richard Walker and CTO Abe Askenazi welcomed the expanding electric motorcycle market, along with the “big boys” that Polaris and Harley represent.

California pride

California pride

For Walker, it’s about more validation and buzz: “We were thrilled by Harley’s LiveWire, and Polaris coming in is good too,” Walker is quoted in the story. “This validates what we’re doing. When the big boys come in, it helps.”  For Askenazi it’s about getting top-name parts from companies like Bosch and Pirelli:  “It took us a while to get these companies on board,” he said. “There was a time when no one returned our calls. Now, we lead the space. They know we’re going to be around.”

Zero has responded by doubling it’s staff to about 130, adding VPs of quality and product development, and doubling its production capacity.

The story goes on to talk about a major difference between electric car sales and electric motorcycles – for many, an electric bike is an addition to the collection of two-wheeled fun-machines.

Those who can afford them, like Zero fan Perry King, can love the electric bikes without giving up the gas-powered ones.  “It’s like motorboats and sailboats,” King, the film and TV actor, said. “You don’t have to quit loving one to love the other.”

Zero SRs ready to ship

Zero SRs ready to ship

…further supported by a comment by Scot Harden, VP of Global Marketing, who doesn’t lead with the practicality of the purchase: “The first thing everyone says is ‘power’.  That’s why we don’t lead with the green issue or the lower cost-of-maintenance issue. We market the magic carpet ride.”

Read the whole story here: Zero Motorcycles, suddenly dwarfed, responds with some bigger numbers

For a taste of the perspective from a seasoned rider, check out Richard Harmon’s video.  His 2012 Zero is bike #41 in his garage:

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6 Comments on "Zero Welcomes Harley, Polaris to Electric Motorcycle Market (w/video)"

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Zero needs to come out w/a cruiser style before I buy one. Prices are a bit high also for something I can only use 6 months of the year in Michigan.

And that’s exactly what I’ve been saying, not everyone wants a motorbike. As far as I know there’s only one cruiser in the eBike market and that’s the Brutus V9. Now speaking as a Harley owner, it’s a bit rich for my blood.

What I want to see is an eBike version of the Sportster with a 100 mile range, with all the other things we’ve come to demand in an electric car.

I really want an electric bike and I can use it almost year-round here in Silicon Valley. I went to test ride a Zero last year and got a quote, which came out to about $20K out-the-door (this included the options of heated grips, windscreen and top case). As much as I like EVs (I have two Volts), $20K is a lot of money out front for something the size of a Ninja 250.

“As much as I like EVs (I have two Volts), $20K is a lot of money out front for something the size of a Ninja 250.”

Sounds like either the 54 hp Zero S with a power tank for extended range or the 67 hp Zero SR, plus a couple thousand in accessories and taxes. I don’t follow the comparison to the ~30 hp Ninja 250, unless you mean that the Zero felt small when you sat on it?

Note: the video linked is from about two years ago. Richard has since given his 2012 Zero to his daughter (who is riding the wheels off of it) and is riding a 2014 Zero S with power tank now.

Note that I said “…something the size of a Ninja 250”. That meant I was comparing the size of the two bikes. Thought that would have been obvious.

I just sold my 2013 Zero S to a friend. Why? To buy a 2015 Zero SR of course. I’ve worked at a motorcycle dealership for last twenty years. Ive owned plenty of motorcycles. But the Zero is hands down my favorite. Needless to say the place i worked at wasnt very happy i bought a Zero( they only sell gas bikes) but everyone who has ridden it is pleasantly suprised. The about 100 mile range works fine for me. Working 48+ hours a week, i dont have any delusions of taking 300 mile trips with my bike. It may only get ridden 100 miles at a time but it gets ridden more than any of my other bikes. The Zero gets used almost as much as my Leaf.