Zero Motorcycles battery tech adds range to their 2015 lineup

Since 2013, the outward appearance of the Zero Motorcycles lineup has not changed much, but they continue to develop and refine the tech, thereby advancing the performance, handling, and usability of their bikes. Warning: Engineers, you may find this explanation too "simple"; Non-Engineers, you may find this somewhat "technical." In 2014 Zero improved the suspension performance, replaced the off-the-shelf dash with their own bespoke unit with added features and readability, and enabled the use of the power tank for those customers looking for the maximum range possible while introducing the high performance SR model. Now in 2015, the motorcycle has been further upgraded with a Showa Suspension, a Bosch ABS braking system, and about 10% more range. One of the common questions we've heard is, "How did they add more range?" If you answered, "more batteries," you would be incorrect. The added battery capacity, and resulting increased range, is achieved through a further refinement in Zero's battery tech. The cells Zero has been using since 2013 have been developed through a close partnership with the battery manufacturer, Farasis. Since 2013, these cells have proven to perform well all around in both the power and capacity categories for all the bikes in Zero's product line which is impressive considering the variety of performance, range, and size of the bikes, from the light and nimble Zero FX to the long range, powerful Zero SR. The thing is, batteries are not a one-size-fits-all component and this is where Zero has taken a leap ahead in battery technology. Rather than compromise the range of the S, DS, & SR models, or the performance of the FX, Zero has chosen to use two different types of cells for these two platforms. The FX uses the same tried and true cells, however the S, DS, & SR models all use at least 50% more battery than the FX, (150% more battery with PowerTank), so the power demand is not nearly as high. Although the range is increased at the expense of peak battery power output, the power demand of the motor is already a safe margin below what these batteries are capable, so the end user will never notice the difference. To put this into real numbers, lets make up some numbers and say for example that the FX modules are capable of putting out 20kW of power each. Two modules are able to produce 40kW (54hp) which is greater than the 33kW (44hp) the FX motor produces. The Zero S/DS models produce 40kW (54hp) so even for the three module, ZF8.5 configuration, the 60kW of power the FX modules are capable of producing is excessive. Even if the power output of each module was dropped by 25% to 15kW, this would still produce 45kW out of three modules, enough power to meet the demands of the Zero S/DS drivetrain, however two modules would not be enough to meet the power demands of the FX. The Zero SR is capable of 50kW (67hp) and is only available in a four module configuration, again creating a nice buffer between the peak battery power and drivetrain power demand. Although Zero already had one of the longest range EVs available, second only to the Tesla Model S, it is great to see that they continue to develop and push the limits of the technology in 2015. Enjoy the Ride, Harlan Flagg

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