Some of us may not like to admit it, but electric bikes are the future.
Battery powered cars are already more or less in the mainstream, with four-wheelers like the Nissan Leaf, BMW i3 and the supercool Tesla range of luxury vehicles becoming an increasingly common sight on British roads.
As battery technology improves and the infrastructure for charging electric vehicles (or EVs as they are now commonly known) also develops, so the arguments against electric motorcycles diminish.
With the mayor of London threatening to slap a congestion charge on petrol bikes, and the government extending its OLEV (Office for Low Emission Vehicles) grant to motorcycles (contributing up to £1500 towards the cost of a ‘leccy bike), the reasons to go green become even more convincing.
Capitalising on that trend towards electric, Californian electric bike brand Zero has returned to the UK this year and is adding yet more weight to the electric revolution by offering a free external charger to buyers of their bikes in April.
While they are famously cheap to run, one of the perennial arguments against electric bikes is the time that it takes to recharge the batteries. Recognising this, Zero make offer the external ‘Quick Charger’ to speed up the time it takes to juice up their bikes. With the extra charger, which normally costs £800, the Zero replenishes its power two and a half times quicker. The bikes simply plug into a regular wall socket and, with the second charger attached, can be fully charged in just over an hour and a half.
As well as becoming more practical, electric motorbikes are becoming more and more exciting too. Electric Italian superbike manufacturer Energica claims a top speed of over 150mph, although with a range of just 60 miles, not to mention a weight of 258kg and a price of over £23,000 – it is certainly not a bike for the masses.
Zero’s own range is aimed much more to the masses and even includes a learner friendly version. Prices for the much lighter American bikes start at just over £9000, after the OLEV grant, and provide a claimed range of up to 200 miles. Electric bikes provide a unique riding experience due to the extremely smooth and torquey engines, twist and go transmissions and silent running.
They can be great fun though, and definitely worth a test ride for any die hard motorcyclist. After all, we’ll probably all be riding electric in a decade or two’s time!
For more information on Zero’s electric bike range, visit: www.zeromotorcycles.com/eu