August 2, 2007 4:00 AM PDT

A motorcycle that's fast, silent and green

The orange safety bracelet that connects a driver's wrist to the ignition key on the Zero X motorcycle resulted from customer feedback, Zero Motorcycles founder Neal Saiki explained.

The Zero runs on lithium-ion batteries rather than gas. As a result, the engine doesn't make any noise. Before the safety bracelet, riders would dismount, forget they left the engine running, and send the bike on a ghost ride after accidentally twisting the throttle. The bracelet flips the key to the off position.

I handled the throttle with extreme caution on my test ride. I almost ran over Saiki, but that was due to driver incompetence. More on that later.

The Scotts Valley, Calif.-based company hopes to ride the growing interest in green vehicles with a line of electric two-wheelers. The company's first model, the Zero X for dirt bikes, can already be bought directly from the company for around $6,900. Google co-founder Larry Page bought one.

Click here to Play

Video: Battery-run motorcycle speeds to 60 mph
CNET's Michael Kanellos stops by to take a look at one of Zero Motorcycles' bikes and take it for a test drive.

In the next few months, Zero Motorcycles will try to come out with a street-legal commuter motorcycle that will be slightly larger and more powerful than the Zero X (along with having the lights and turn signals necessary for street riding). Later, it will follow with a scooter.

Several companies--including Tesla Motors, Zap, Phoenix Motorcars and Wrightspeed--have laid plans to deliver all-electric cars to the market. Tesla's is due later this fall.

But Motorcycles have drawn fewer entrants. Vectrix has released an all-electric scooter with nickel batteries that costs $11,000, and a few other companies have touted newer versions of the electric bike. Major manufacturers and venture capitalists, however, have not yet flocked to the field.

Zero executives, though, assert that motorcycles may be a better fit when it comes to battery-powered vehicles. At $6,900, the bike will be comparable with many 250cc gas-burning motorcycles.

"We're selling a bike that outperforms the ones with gas engines at the same price, and the price is going down," said acting CEO Damon Danielson.

The Zero X will only go 40 miles on a single charge, far less than a gas bike and less than the 70-mile Vectrix. Still, that's enough for most motocross drivers and street-bike commuters, and the street version will go farther. The average U.S. driver only goes about 25 miles to 30 miles a day, according to several studies.

Motorbikes go green

The battery can be recharged in two hours. Motocross professionals also can buy a spare battery for $2,500.

Compare that to the commuter car coming from Think. The car will go about 100 miles on a charge, but it is expected to cost around $35,000 before the battery lease. Tesla will have a sedan in 2009 that will go about 200 miles, but these will cost probably close to $70,000. Electric cars take about three to five hours to fully charge.

Will a 40-mile motorcycle be accepted by consumers while $35,000 cars that have trouble doing a quick San Jose-San Francisco loop be rejected? No one knows, but Zero can at least claim it is eroding the price delta more rapidly than other electric vehicle vendors.

Approximately 1.1 million motorcycles are shipped to U.S. customers annually, according to the Motorcycle Industry Council. Worldwide, motorcycle sales account for $45 billion in sales, according to Danielson.

Getting a bike certified for street riding is somewhat simple, Danielson added. For Zero to convert a motocross bike into a street machine only requires a few modifications, such as adding turn signals and lights. Safety certification and testing takes about 9 to 12 months and costs about $100,000, he said.

Testing a new car involves several crash tests and prototype testing, a process that can consume years and millions of dollars.

Transportation agency officials "figure with motorcycles, you are on your own," Saiki said.

Helicopters to cycles
Saiki has worked on various transportation problems for years. Among other projects, he headed up a group that built the DaVinci IV, a human-powered helicopter and a prop plane for NASA that reached 80,000 feet. He's also designed mountain bikes for, among others, Trek and Santa Cruz Cycles.

Like other electric vehicles, the key to the Zero is the battery pack. The lithium-ion cells in the battery come from a third-party manufacturer, which sells the same cells to the power tools industry. Zero, though, arranges the cells in a particular way to prevent runaway thermal reactions, the phenomenon that causes notebooks to explode. Saiki would not go into technical detail, but said patents are pending on the battery pack. If major manufacturers like Honda get into the market, Saiki said, Zero will likely try to market its battery to them.

CONTINUED: Taking it out for a test-drive…
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What, exactly, is green about Li-Ion batteries?
Those things are an environmental nightmare when it comes to disposal. You're doing more harm by going "green" than if you would have just stuck to the smaller ICE and focused on better particulate removal and chemical scrubbing.

What I see is the perception of being green. And like so many other things, there's little to no reality to back it up.
Posted by Christopher Hall (1205 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Batteries can be recycled. In fact Tesla aims to include the cost of recycling in the original price.

Plus over the lifespan of the battery it does not produce any emmissions. The power generation to charge it remains centralised, thus the pollution is easier to control.
Posted by adasha76 (250 comments )
Link Flag
Uhhh, no.
Nope, LiIon batteries are NOT an environmental hazard. Lithium is a fairly common element in nature, and LiIon batteries, once disassembled and their components mixed with other elements in normal trash, are no more toxic than most other parts in a vehicle. So please stop spreading FUD. Unless you are being paid by the oil cartels, in that case, good job.
Posted by herby67 (144 comments )
Link Flag
Actually you are both right and wrong. Yes the batteries will be recyclable although today it is not well done. But when the Prius series gets close to expiration you will see more/better. However, lithium when mined is a nightmare, just Google lithium Canada mines, what you will see is a moonscape.

My opinion is that there are always trade offs and like coal mines the localized destruction can be reclaimed if the cost of this is made a mandatory set aside for later expense. In the end, the two biggest environmental issues today are warming, electric helps, and wasteful use of petroleum for consumption when it is a vital ingredient for industrial production, again electric helps. So, an electric bike is great, all I ask is take off the damn governor - full speed ahead.
Posted by RedSkelton (8 comments )
Link Flag
Electric Vehicles Are Not "Green".
Electricity does not flow from rivers and streams, it is generated by huge, smoke belching, coal fired power plants for the most part. All electric vehicles do is move the smoke to a distant location. It should also be pointed out that ranges for electric vehicles are figured with calculators, not from real world driving. Yes, a rinkydink $7000 excuse for a minibike may go 40 miles, but add hills, stop and go driving and a rider that weighs over 100 pounds and you'll be lucky to get 20 miles. Being stranded in the street on an electric bike is not going to be fun. You'll have to push it until you find someone kind enough to let you plug it in while you wait around for 3 hours. Oh joy.
Posted by richardhaskins (5 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Clean coal new tech
True enough electricity must be generated. But do you honestly think the green movement goingon in this country is going to stop with our rides. clean coal, nuclear , wind , solar all will be used all will get better. Take A look at our past to see where todays tech has evolved to. You would'nt happen to be A Republican would you now.
Posted by jhance11 (18 comments )
Link Flag
1) I find it hard to believe that they would give a vehicle range without a rider. That would be severely false advertising and could get them sued very quickly.

2) Electric motors aren't effected by stop-and-go driving like gas engines. They don't idle and they draw virtually the same amount of electricity to start/stop as to go.

3) Steep hills are a concern, but from what I understand they have to be really extensive. Tesla warns about trying to take one of their cars into the Rockies, but that's about it. Normal small hills don't impact the range significantly.

4) I doubt the recharge time is 3 hours. If a significantly heavier, significantly longer range car like the Tesla can be charged in 4-5 hours, then I can't imagine this bike would be over 2 hours max. That's just speculation though. Kinda wish the article had said.
Posted by No_Man (77 comments )
Link Flag
so go nuclear
You're right that most electricity is produced by polluting means. if all our power came from nuclear and other non-polluting sources, then electric vehicles would be truly green.
Posted by gatornuke (27 comments )
Link Flag
Couple of points
1. Charge time is two hours. It's in the article.

2. 40 miles includes a passenger. Obviously this varies with how you drive, but it is also a number that will go up, either through better cells or larger batteries.

3. In general, electrics are cleaner than gas burners in source-to-tailpipe emissions. In rare circumstances-- electricity generated 100 percetn by coal in an old plant--the two will be close, although electricity still wins out. But in most circumstances, it is a lot less.

Coal, by the way, is 52 percent of U.S. electricity. So for "the most part" as you say, it doesn't come from belching factories. Half does.
Thanks for reading.
Posted by michael kanellos (65 comments )
Link Flag
Actually, it does...
It's called hydroelectric power, it also rains electricity every day, it's called solar power.
Our world is changing thanks to innovators, creative thinkers and visionary investors. How are you contributing to the world?
Posted by tonycecala (3 comments )
Link Flag
First, existing is not green. Anything you do affects the environemnt, so claiming that some technology is not green because it produces some impact in the environment is just plain stupid. Greenness is relative.
In that sense, electric vehicles are way greener than any of the alternatives (probably, though not certainly, other than bicycles). Yes, electricity takes some pollution to generate, but even the dirtiest coal based generators are more efficient in terms of pollution and energy efficiency than the most efficient car. It's a fact, go look up the numbers.
And IC powered cars, in real world conditions, are rarely as efficient as when new. Gas quality, bad tuning, irregular working conditions and wear and tear make them less efficient with time. Not so for electric vehicles, which remain exactly as highly efficient for the duration of the vehicle.
In addition to that, your argument about efficiency being calculated, not measured is precisely an argument in FAVOR of EVs. EVs are very little affected by things like hills (due to regenerative braking and constant engine efficiency), braking, environment or cargo weight. In particular, they are orders of magnitue more constant in efficiency than IC engines, which drop significantly in efficienty in anything other than ideal conditions.
And your point about being stranded on the street with an electric bike is irrelevant. It is exactly the same as being stranded with a gas powered bike.
Posted by herby67 (144 comments )
Link Flag
What's the point?
Why would a city commuter want to plug in his/her bike every night? One of the great things about motorcycles is the lack of necessary maintenance -- just hit it and go. Plugging in a cord every night is this guy for real? Most people who live in urban areas (like SF) and rely on motorcycles as their main mode of transport park on the street, not an indoor garage. This is not feasible with street parking.

What problems are we really solving here? Motorcycles already get 35-40 MPG in the city and 65+ MPG on the highway. All of this just so Canadians can race indoors with really toxic batteries that must be recycled? Solution in search of a problem.

Oh and the reporter obviously doesn't ride. Riders love the engine & exhaust noises that their bikes make. Riders would never consider a silent whirring bike to be a plus.
Posted by scurvy_b (3 comments )
Reply Link Flag
High cost!
Ridiculous! ... If you want economy, you got to pay for it. If I wanted to spend $7000 to ride to work, I could get a rickshaw and a coolie to pull it for less money!
Posted by hassan_bin_sober (102 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Judge slowly
Those who ignore history etc etc. This is the beginning stage. How many times must industry go through this cycle for people to recognize it for what it is. First cars on the road. Expensive, underpowered, high maintenance. Computers, expensive slow took A battery of phd's to run before the microchip. This is the beginning and it will get better from here.
Posted by jhance11 (18 comments )
Reply Link Flag
No Vision
Once again the naysayers speak. The point of it all is to get the majority of vehicle to stop burning gasoline. The improved tech will come from cars and bikes. As far as recharging. There is some merit to what you say, but people have adapted to hard things they will find A way. again I say look to the future. These same bikes like todays computers will one day go 5 times as far 3 times as fast and take no time to recharge. As far as loving the sound and feel of gas motors at somepoint you have to proritise. when gas is at $4 .00 gal or more maybe then you will get it. We do this not for today but for tomorrow. If it calls for sacrafice so be it
Posted by jhance11 (18 comments )
Reply Link Flag
gas can go to $10/gallon and I won't care
I'll still only need to fill-up once every two weeks.

This is a problem in search of a solution. Seriously. This company exists so that greenies can buy one, pat themselves on the back about the purchase, then never ride the thing. I bet half the people that buy these bikes don't even ride. I seriously doubt that Larry Page rides at all. I've never seen him at Alice's on the weekend.

The computer and automobile were revolutionary changes that shaped our world, yes. However, the electric motorcycle is not revolutionary -- it's evolutionary (if that). I could see how this would be somewhat, minimally useful for scooters. For a decently powered motorcyle? No way. Who needs a bike that is 3x as fast? Seriously! Most bikes can go 0-60 MPH in the sub 3-4 second range. You don't need to go much faster than that in urban environments.

The money that funded this company would have been better spent finding a cure for cancer....or even a brothel. At least a brothel is of some use to members of society.
Posted by scurvy_b (3 comments )
Link Flag
Interesting subject but the photos are horrible
Who ever took the photos should be shot. An interesting article but the photos never even give a decent view of the bike. Cycle Mag Photographers have nothing to worry about :)
Posted by mssoot (169 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Gasoline Motorcycles Sales are Gonna Go Up !!!
Think about it: 60mpg for a normal cheap motorcycle. All for under 6K new. This is what people are gonna buy when gas goes to $6/gallon..
Posted by SiXiam (69 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Cost per mile deceptive
They say it costs $.01 per mile. I'm guessing it's more like $.10 per mile. You have to replace the battery in 3 to 5 years (they should list how many charges the battery will take). The battery costs $2,500. Assuming five years, that's $500 per year plus electricity costs. A 60 mpg gasoline engine would likely come in at less than $.10 per mile. So, while it may leave a smaller "carbon footprint", it's not cheap. The silent acceleration would be fun, though. :)
Posted by havetosay (3 comments )
Reply Link Flag
More like over 5 years with these batteries
That's if your lucky enough (or sorry enough) to ride it EVERY
day to work (roughly 250 days/year). These batteries are rated at
over 1000 charges. No lie. A related company using similar nano
technology has rated their batteries for use in a Canadian car at
over 10 years.

And get real: At $3.00 a gallon, 60 miles per gallon already puts
you at .05 cents per mile. Add to that ALL the maintenance
you'll do on that car over 5 years, not to mention the HUGE
footprint of creating gas from oil, transporting it to your station
(more gas spent, eh?), and the pollution even the best hybrids
spew into the air. Buried yet?

Electric vehicles use far less energy than ICEs because PM
electric motors are nearly 300% more efficient than internal
combustion engines, applying force to the pavement with full
torque from a dead-stop. They can use far smaller engines for
the same power effect, and have far fewer parts than ICEs, that
last much, much longer.

And, as soon as we wake up and start using renewable energy
technologies to recharge batteries, instead of dirty oil company
wares, EVs can be completely clean, with recycling of battery and
motor raw materials being the ONLY carbon footprint left.
Posted by johnnydfred (63 comments )
Link Flag
Electric scooters at a reasonable price
Electric scooters are available at a much lower price from In fact some of their products are rated as bicycles and come with pedals.
Posted by farokh (15 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Re: Scooters
It is pretty clear that you are affiliated with the site (Mr. Gordon World from BC?), so I will give you a tip: include prices.

The no-name electric Chinese scooters you see for Sale on Ebay are mostly throw away products.

People are so secretive with pricing on them because they are selling them to people that are selling them like some kind of pyramid thing.

You are not manufacturing the bikes and you don't even list the brand because you don't want people to go to the source and undercut you.

Your website inspires all the buyer confidence I get from buying a $400 Rolex from a homeless guy on the street with gold teeth.
Posted by Dachi (797 comments )
Link Flag
Orange safety bracelet because of an idling electric motor...?!?!
Only internal combustion engines need to remain idling while a
vehicle is standing still, when an electric powered vehicle is not
moving it's engine stops as well. There is NO need for an electric
engine to be turning while the vehicle is stationary..!!
Posted by imacpwr (456 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Idle eletric motors don't spin.
Only internal combustion engines need to rotate when idle to remain responsive. Electric engines stop moving when idle - but they are still responsive. "Idling" means "not performing work," it doesn't mean "spinning."

In other words, in the electric version, nothing is moving, and it seems like it's "off," but if you accidentally tweak the throttle while mounting or dismounting (bear in mind the throttle is also the handlebar), the thing will shoot out from under you.

The safety bracelet is perfectly appropriate.
Posted by MentalNomad (1 comment )
Link Flag
Reply to Thermo-Man
OK. Entropy and all that. How much farther inside a box can you
crawl, though? Didn't they teach you anything in engineering
school? Where's your creative spirit? Hook up to the Sun, the wind,
a wave, man. There's sooooo much energy in this universe that's
totally wasted (I'm betting your mind can be added to the total)
that harnessing even a small fraction of it converts into more
mechanical energy than we can ever use. Entropy, right? Maybe you
should have become an accountant...
Posted by johnnydfred (63 comments )
Reply Link Flag
right on
nuff said
Posted by dondarko (261 comments )
Link Flag
Please don't misunderstand!
I am as much or more of an environmentalist then nearly anyone I know.

But it is ultimately important to know what you are talking about. Otherwise you are likely to become nothing more than a pawn for those with hidden agendas who would misuse your idealism for their own vested interests.

When you loudly proclaim that which you know very little about, you are likely to be in error and subsequently dismissed by those with real subject matter knowledge.

This is why so many in the environmental movement are blown off as crack-pots and goof-balls. Their lack of understanding hurts rather then helps progressive ideas.

How about a way to capture even half of that lost 70%. Double fuel efficiency in one shot. As Paul McCartney said, "that would be something, it really would be something"!
Posted by Mister C (423 comments )
Link Flag
Where are the diesel motorcycles?
A bio diesel motorcycle would have excellant low end torque and offer substantial mpg,savings and return green back to a sport or hooby that needs it. Less is more.
Posted by no rookie (3 comments )
Reply Link Flag
There have been a few diesel bikes built but diesels tend to be heavy compared to gasoline because the motor must stand up to the high compression. Motorcycles in developed countries tend to be toys more than basic transportation so most are built to go very fast or attract women. I have got 80mpg with a 200cc gas motorcycle but my 750cc with 4 carbs etc gets only 40mpg and thats typical of whats on the street.
Posted by random753 (17 comments )
Link Flag
There is a diesel bike being built for the military, Brit & US. It's on a Kawa frame with a diesel engine that can also burn AV gas. It's not bad, 140mpg, high torque, built for bad environments, road and off. Not commercially available yet, filling military orders and insufficient demand to warrant production expansion. Google "HDT Limited Edition KLR"

Diesel bikes will come and it'll be a good mixed use bike with 400 mile range (which is ridiculous for a commercial non-touring bike). But the reason I like the electric, besides wanting to move away from fossils fuels (WHICH ARE ESSENTIAL TO INDUSTRIAL PRODUCTION AND SHOULD BE MADE ILLEGAL TO USE FOR CONSUMPTION). But I really like being able to tool around the farm without any noise other than the chain rattle and the snapping of sticks I fail to avoid. Imagine sneaking up on a white tail, now that is fabulous, eyeball to eyeball in frozen stares at ten feet and then a slight head feint right to send him on his way left.
Posted by RedSkelton (8 comments )
Link Flag
Missing the point
... It's not that the motor is idling (you're right that this is just silly), it's that the throttle is still active. Bump that just wrong, and there goes your bike!
Posted by aureolin (52 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Safety issue...
If I was riding a 2 wheel vehicle going as fast as a car, and going in the flow of motor vehicle traffic, I would want my bike to make lots of noise. Just makes it that much more likely that other drivers will know I'm there. I think just riding a gas motorcycle is a big enough step toward being Earth-friendly. So I would say yes to electric cars and gas powered bikes. But not electric bikes!
Posted by cubicleslave1 (27 comments )
Reply Link Flag
One of the few reasonable arguments against it
What you say is valid, but it is not always true. The other day a harley was next to me on the freeway, I couldn't hear it at all. Most newer cars block out outside noise remarkably well.

Besides, I see so many people on motorcycles racing down the freeway wearing shorts and a tank top. They might as well not wear a helmet because I doubt they would want to survive an accident after they have been turned into ground meat. The only reason they wear the helmet is because they are forced to by law. I don't think safety is important to them at all.
Posted by The_Decider (3097 comments )
Link Flag
Quiet Enough to Kill?
Like many of the hybrid and/or electric vehicles, this unit is apparently silent while stopped. Pedestrians, blind and sighted, are wondering who will be the first casualty. The video made it seem like the bike was noisy enough at high speeds, but I am concerned about the lower speeds, which can cause plenty of injuries.
Posted by l_rasmus (1 comment )
Reply Link Flag
Yeah, we should add in a fake engine noise.
Yeah, we should add in a fake engine noise for the kids. I would hate for it to be too quiet that people don't notice it coming. That'd be so dangerous. I wouldn't buy one of these "quiet" electric or hybrid cars. Maybe I'm just old-fashioned.
Posted by Millerboy (104 comments )
Link Flag
Great bike / Dumb readers
Thanks for a great article about this bike. It's obviously not for everyone but I think it's a great innovation.
I was surprised to read the comments afterwards though. The depth and breadth of ignorance out there is astounding. Of course, there are people out there who have done a little research and that's great.
I would like to let Mister C. know that his alma mater called. They would like their degree back.
Posted by drivin98 (24 comments )
Reply Link Flag
What can I say?
When you think for yourself you raise all sorts of rabble. At least I don't have to rely on common knowledge (almost always wrong) or movies. I can do the figuring all by myself. By the way what degree do you have, marketing? :)
Posted by Mister C (423 comments )
Link Flag
Motorcycle pollution, noise, & safety
NEW motorcycles now have catalytic converters with oxygen
sensors, just as cars do. In fact, both my Honda VFR and my
Suzuki SV 650 have a catalyc converter and an oxygen sensor.
Therefore, unless the owners tamper with them, motorcycles
probably polute less than cars.

Regarding noise and safety, I seriously question whether loud
pipes on a motorcycle increase safety. If bike owners really
expected that loud pipes would improve safety, they'd aim the
pipes forward to direct the noise where it would be most
effective. Headlight modulators, which flicker the headlight 4
times per second, improve safety by making the bike more
visible yet few bikes have them. Thus, one must wonder just
how many bikers are really concerned with safety.
Posted by FRE0 (66 comments )
Reply Link Flag
I've actually ridden the Zero
I see a lot of speculation here and thought I should provide feedback from someone who's actually ridden and seen the zero.

I live in Texas and after much research on-line regarding alternate powered vehicles I came across the Zero. Being a rider and daily motorcycle commuter I was intrigued and made a point to check it out the when I was traveling in California.

The Zero is not perfect but it is dang close for a 1st generation machine. It is well engineered and well thought out.

The bike excels in its performance and handling. It is well balanced and has impressive braking and suspension.

And... it is an acceleration junkies dream! Electric motors have near instantaneous access to their full powerband. The Zero is the quickest 0 to 40 mph bike I've ever ridden. I nearly looped the bike twice trying to hit wide open throttle from a stand still. Eventually I got the knack.

Several performance characteristics such as throttle responsiveness and top speed are user programmable via a PC. You can really customize the bike to suit your riding preferences. One thing I realized right away was that you could alter the bike to suit a whole family's riding needs without needing multiple bikes.

There's a lot more I could write, but I was blown away by the performance. I race mini gp bikes here in Texas and they are "turtles" off the line compared to the Zero. I'd love to race it against the gas bikes. Even if I had to dial the motor down to a slower top speed I'd still be able to come out of the corners so much faster than anyone else.

I'm convinced that electric is the future and if you appreciate performance you should give it a look. You can Google for their web site.

Most new 250 cc dirt bikes have an MSRP (about $6500) a little less than the Zero but there really is a lot less maintenance involved. No carb to worry about getting gummed up. No oil changes. I'm willing to pay a little more just for that. Less wrenching. More riding.

The battery packs are expensive but I believe these are designed so you can replace the individual cells when they go bad rather than chuck the entire battery. And like all things, technology and usage will drive the price of batteries down. And as battery technology improves you'll probably be able to upgrade.

And yes. I am saving up my money for a Zero. ;)
Posted by zip94 (1 comment )
Reply Link Flag
Some tips...
Here are some tips on how you can buy and have a quality used car, so as you would not be replacing unnecessary parts along the way...Hope, this might help...
Tips & Warning
? As a final precaution, take the car to a mechanic, who should charge a reasonable fee to check over a used car. The seller should agree to this, but may require that you leave a deposit. If the seller won't let you take the car, offer to meet him or her at a mutually convenient garage.
? If you give the seller a deposit in order to take the car to have it checked, make sure to write out an agreement stating that the deposit will be returned immediately if you decide not to buy the car.
If the vehicle's mileage appears unusually low, have a mechanic determine whether someone has tampered with the odometer. If so, the seller must refund any money you have paid and may be liable for punitive damages under federal and state odometer laws?
This is how I acquire my car; I inspected all its auto parts from exterior and interior aspect down to its <a class="jive-link-external" href="" target="_newWindow">new vw beetle accessory</a> and other accessories. By doing so, you could be sure of the quality of vehicle you are getting?=)
Posted by angelfast (21 comments )
Reply Link Flag
electric vehicles are far more efficient than gasoline powered vehicles. Yes the electricity may have been produced by coal but have you ever been near an oil refinery? Gasoline does not get pumped out of the ground as 87 unleaded. It has to be refined and thats an ugly process.

Electric motors are about 94% efficient while gasoline motors are lucky to use 15% of the fuels energy. (diesels do much better). I think our future will be electric vehicles but battery limits are so far holding back electrics. If a battery could be made that could store more power without adding high cost there would be no question that electric vehicles would replace gasoline/diesel powered vehicles.
Posted by random753 (17 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Current compromises/eventual solar
After looking at the intriguing performance data of the Zero bike, I began reading all of your comments. For those of you that may or may not be employed by oil companies- you can tune out now. However, for the sensible forward thinkers that intelligently responded positively towards a "green" future, I'd like to mention that I have designed a car that uses solar as the primary charging source- to utilize totally (read no oil, coal or nuclear) free energy. All three aforementioned sources have huge downsides (some more than others). I vigorously support any form of clean and renewable energy, such as the hydrogen cell, wind, thermo, well. As an aside, I've chosen not to incorporate lithium ion batteries for several reasons (cost, heat buildup, etc...).
Here's the gist of the solar driving experience: As long as you have sunshine, you have free power (on other days you plug in to the grid). Simply drive the car to work (on the freeway)and park it outside (while at work). When you come out for lunch or at the end of the day, the car will be re-charged and ready to go.
For more details, see my full product description on China Car Forums.
Posted by Dr.Al (1 comment )
Link Flag
Motorcycles already greener than Hybrid cars
First, I have not seen too many 250cc dirt bikes for $6,900, typical pricing is actually about $4,500 and they go /much/ faster than 30 MPH.

My last motorcycle was an Aprilia RS 50, it was a 2 stroke 50cc that weighed 190 lbs and would do ~65-70 MPH (<a class="jive-link-external" href="" target="_newWindow"></a>)
The gas of the Aprilia mileage put the Prius to shame. I got mine used, but new they cost about $3500 and run circles around this electric bike but you don't see them on the roads.

Even my current Suzuki GSX-R 600 gets &gt; 45 MPG and it has a 10.6 sec 1/4 mile and top speed of ~158 MPH. I wanted something in between but "commuter motorcycles" are a very, very small niche and I wanted to buy used.

People may only commute ~30 miles on average, but when I go riding on the bike it is not unusual to log ~200 miles in a day, less on the dirt bike (RM 125), but I tend to be getting on it more for shorter distances in the woods.

This is a $6,900 kids toy.

Also, I was in Sunnyvale recently and I noticed that although the weather is perfect nearly all the time and motorcycles can save a great deal of time on their commute every day between lane splitting and the carpool lane, few people there dare commute on them. 100% of the bikes I say leave it in a low gear so they can be heard by cars as they come up on them. I know many people on the east coast with motorcycles and the first mod they usually make is getting a louder exhaust so they can be more easily heard. Motorcycles are already difficult for drivers to see, getting on a silent bike in urban commuter traffic would almost be suicide.
Posted by Dachi (797 comments )
Reply Link Flag
you're missing the point
mileage wise, yes motorcycle consumes a lot less gas than a car mainly due to weight, which is less on a bike. But considering that there is no cat. converter on bikes, they actually are blowing more pollution out of them than cars.

just a fact, look it up if you don't believe...

knowledge is power...use it
Posted by dondarko (261 comments )
Link Flag
Not to mention the safety issues with silent bikes... The noise is what helps make you safe. Honestly i wouldnt want to be on a bike that made zero noise. If a driver cant see you, they can hear you on a traditional motorcycle, now if they cant see you, they cant hear you, and change lanes suddenly, your dead... sounds great!
Posted by TheManInDboX (22 comments )
Reply Link Flag
To all who are negitive on this Bike . What if you couldn't get gas at all. Progress has to start somewhere. And there will be a day when oil will be to expensive to burn if we haven't destroyed civilization by then., and that day is not that far away.
Posted by ctuna (1 comment )
Reply Link Flag
Wow, the naysayers are out indeed...
Can't have cars 'cause they'll scare the horses...
The newer formulation (LiFePo)Lithium-Iron-Phosphate batteries should be good for 1,000-1,500 full-cycle recharges; so they can endure for many years if properly managed.
The battery prices will plummet as the production goes up and stations are developed where you can swap your battery set to continue your journey.
If you look at some other nascent battery technologies such a A123, eeStor and others, you'll see that very fast recharges under five minutes will be possible before too long.
This technology offers us independence from oil producers.
It's tough to crack your own gasoline, while you could power your EV from your rooftop. I suppose this makes us dependent upon solar equip't suppliers, but I'll go with them any day. I want local energy production.
Noise doesn't necessarily translate into safety; If you ride, you know that people in cars will look at you in the other lane, then continue to move into your lane even though they made visual contact.
True, recycling of the Lithium batteries needs to be done.

One last note, the author missed an e-Scoot called the XM-3500Li from
Lithium ion Batteries
3.5KW hub motor
53mph top speed
up to 60 mile range at lower speeds
Posted by Rossaroni (2 comments )
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