Last week’s introduction of the new 17 registration plate also saw the first motorcyclist to take advantage of a £1500 electric bike grant, when Fred Murphy from Redhill picked up his new Zero FXS.
Fred, 48, rode off on the Californian motorcycle, which costs around 1p per mile to run, after becoming the first two wheeled customer to apply for the plug-in subsidy, introduced by the Government’s Office for Low Emission Vehicles (OLEV) to increase the uptake of electric vehicles. The grant, which reduces the price by 20%, up to a maximum of £1500, was previously only available for electric cars and vans but has been introduced to bikes after campaigning from the MCIA, Britain’s motorcycle manufacturer’s association.
Hailing out of America’s silicon valley, the Zero FXS 6.5 is a supermoto style machine with a near instantaneous 78 ft-lb of torque, the equivalent of 46bhp, meaning that it can be ridden on an A2 licence, and weighs in at just 133kg. The six-bike Zero range includes models that can be ridden on L plates, versions with a range of more than 200 miles and the sporty 70bhp SR and DSR lines. All models can be charged overnight using a regular three-pin domestic socket, or in just a few hours using an optional charging system.
New owner Fred is an experienced rider has owned and ridden motorcycles for more than 25 years and will use the Zero as his daily commuter. Has traded in a petrol bike for the DSR and said “As an electronics geek and an early adopter, I have always been interested in electric bikes and tried my first Zero back in 2012, so when the ‘plug in’ grant finally came in, this was enough to justify my jump to electric.”
Rob Francis, Dealer Principal of 21st Moto, the dealer that sold Fred his new bike said that he has orders from two other Zero customers following the introduction of the grant, and claims that the discount is simple to get. He added: “The dealership does all the work, so there are no forms to fill out, or paperwork to complete. The dealer makes the application direct to OLEV and the price is reduced by £1500 or 20% of the total purchase cost, whichever is the smaller number.”
Steve Kenward, CEO of the Motorcycle Industry Association (MCIA), which lobbied for the subsidy, says motorcycles and scooters will help cut congestion:
“Whether electric or not, a motorcycle, scooter or moped benefits from reduced journey times, easier or free parking, no congestion charge and is normally cheaper to run and insure. There is also the added benefit that it’s just more fun than other modes of transport.”