If it’s been a while since you last checked in on electric motorcycles, you’ll find them with even longer range and more power than you remember. Meanwhile, their prices are lower. In brief, their improvements have mirrored those of four-wheel EVs.
What hasn’t changed is the leader in this segment. That title still belongs to Zero Motorcycles, the California-based manufacturer that’s been around nearly as long as Tesla.
For 2019, the new Zero line boasts new styling, more power, and longer range, depending on the bike you choose. Here are the big changes for the new model year.
More power for Zero S and DS
With a 313-pound bike like the Zero S ($10,995), efficient power delivery is everything. The entry-level (ZF7.2) model heads into 2019 with one third more power (to 46 horses) and an 8% jump in top speed (to 98 mph).
That same power boost applies to the DS ($10,995), which weighs 4 lbs. more. These two bikes won’t be the choice for riders interested in long-range rides, as they both top out below 90 miles in city riding.
Upgrading to the ZF14.4 battery ($13,995) doubles the range for both models.
A 10% range boost for DS
Along with the power boost in the base DS, the 2019 editions with the top battery pack got a bump in overall range. Overall, it pushed the DS mark to 204 miles in city riding (97 miles highway, 132 miles combined), which is a 10% jump.
The ZF14.4 model produces up to 60 horsepower and 81 pound-feet of torque. In the longest-range model (ZF14.4 with power tank), curb weight is 452 lbs.
Zero DSR’s new style
In its dual-sport lineup, the Zero DSR ($16,495) got several new style cues for 2019. You’ll find new tank grips and hand guards as well as a new windscreen on this bike. Sandstone and Caldera Metallic are new color options for this model as well.
A 12-volt accessory socket is a functional addition to the DSR for 2019. Otherwise, this model continues to run with 70 horsepower and 116 pound-feet of torque. Curb weight stands at 463 lbs.
Adding the power tank for the longest range brings the price to $19,390. While federal incentives for these bikes have disappeared, state credits and/or rebates are still available in places like California and Maryland.
New charge tank and battery storage improvements
Like most EV makers, Zero continued upgrading its standard battery tech for 2019. New models get what it calls Long Term Storage Mode. According to the bike maker, this industry-first system automatically shifts into this mode to improve long-term battery health.
Finally, in a move that will improve the charging nuisance with a factory solution, Zero is offering a backwards-compatible 6 kW charge tank at dealerships. This system will work on models from 2015 and later, giving prior buyers the same option 2018 models got.
If you’re riding the small-battery Zero S or DS, you can use it to add 95% charge in one hour on a Level 2 system. For other models, an hour of charging will tack on 85 miles.
Zero’s 2019 bikes are in dealerships at the end of October 2018 and ready to ship immediately.