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Richard230
14 January 2012, 0835
I received a call from my local Zero dealer last night who told me that the 2012 Zero production schedule was way ahead of their previous estimates and the first bikes off the assembly line were being sent to dealerships immediately. I was told that a new 2012 Zero DS would be arriving at Mission Motorcycles in Daly City, CA last night and would be on display this morning. Naturally, I plan to head up there (a 15-minute ride from my home) and check it out. I'll post photos later this afternoon.

I must say that this manufacturing performance by Zero is a huge step up from previous efforts. I ordered a new 9 kWh S model last month, with an expected delivery in March, and was told last night that it should be arriving within two to three weeks. I just about fell over when I heard that news, having waited 18 months for an Empulse to arrive, without hearing a peep directly from Brammo. Time to sell the GPR-S chassis to someone who can actually use it for something useful.

Richard230
14 January 2012, 1401
So I checked out the new Zero DS today. It won't win any styling awards and could use some "bold new graphics". The seat is quite some distance from the ground. I could not touch the floor with both feet with my 30" inseam and it feels like a rubber-coated 2X4. The mirrors need to be taller and wider. The bike seems relatively light and well thought out and assembled, however both the brakes and the drive belt look kind of wimpy. Hopefully, the "S" model will be more to my liking.

Attached are some photos.

Richard230
14 January 2012, 1406
Here are some more photos.

podolefsky
14 January 2012, 1416
I didn't find specifics on their website, but read elsewhere that they're using li-po in the 2012 bikes. Can you confirm that?

Seems like it must be, if their 9 kWh bike is only 340 lb.

$11.5k for a 6 kWh, 80 mph bike, with 75 mi range is a really good price. Just too bad they're so big (at least for us 30" inseam folks).

Richard230
14 January 2012, 1441
I didn't find specifics on their website, but read elsewhere that they're using li-po in the 2012 bikes. Can you confirm that?

Seems like it must be, if their 9 kWh bike is only 340 lb.

$11.5k for a 6 kWh, 80 mph bike, with 75 mi range is a really good price. Just too bad they're so big (at least for us 30" inseam folks).

No I can't. The battery box is just a big sealed rectangular box and I could not see any way to look inside. However the box is relatively small and I wouldn't be surprised to hear that they were using a type of li-po battery. The saleslady said that the "S" model would be noticeably lower and that the "DS" was tall because it is designed for off-road riding. We will see about that (the "S" being lower).

Warren
14 January 2012, 1630
The specs are on their website. The S seat is 2" lower than the DS seat. There is a low seat option as well.

Cells are lithium polymer, as used in the Volt, Leaf, etc.

Richard230
14 January 2012, 1641
Thanks Warren. Those 2" will make a difference. My dealer offers to cut the seat down another inch for only $100. I tried out their modified seat on a 2011 S and it felt better than the stock seat, as it was lower and had a dish under your butt that helped to reduce the "wedgie" effect.

While I was there, I asked the salesperson if they had a brochure. She said that they were only given a PDF file on a thumb drive. I was expecting that and bought my own thumb drive, which she used to download the file on to. When I got home, I discovered that what I received was not a brochure but the 110-page owners manual for the DS and the S models. I am currently printing out the entire manual - one slow page at a time. (I hope my ink cartridge doesn't run out before page 110.)

Foob
14 January 2012, 1717
According to liveforphysics' posts in <a href=http://endless-sphere.com/forums/viewtopic.php?f=10&t=33596>this</a> really great thread, batteries are NMC (Lithium-Nickel-Manganese-Cobalt)

Nuts & Volts
14 January 2012, 1725
My guess is the Zero's have the same (well new and improved) EIG cells which I have in my bike. They are top notch and I call dibs on the first wreck Zero battery pack!! Haha, hopefully I can get a ride on one of these someday soon!

podolefsky
14 January 2012, 1747
Hmmm...in CO there is a tax credit that gives back 85% of the difference between an electric and equivalent ICE bike. I'm guessing the Zero is pretty equivalent to a Ninja 250, which is about $4k. That means I could get a 9 kWh version for about $5.5k...and proceed to tear out the pack, BMS, and drive system for my next build :D

Richard230
15 January 2012, 1524
So I finished reading the 110-page 2012 Zero S/DS owners manual last night and here are some items that I found interesting:

The motor is described as a "High efficiency, double-stator axial flux permanent magnet, brushless motor with integrated forced air cooling".

The controller is a "High efficiency, 420 amp, 3-phase brushless controller with re-generative deceleration".

The motor is rated at 12.2 HP.

Estimated top speed (max) is 88 mph, estimated top speed (sustained) is 75 mph.

The batteries are "Z-Force Patented Li-ion Intelligent Power Pack". Nominal capacities are 5.3 kWh and 7.9 kWh. Charge times are 6.0 hours and 9.0 hours (using the on-board 120V/240V charger). The charger is a 1 kW "integrated" device.

Ranges are 76/114 miles per the EPA UDDS cycle and with an estimated 43/63 miles at 70 mph.

Final drive is "28T/132T Sprockets, 8 mm pitch, 200 tooth, 14 mm width, Poly Chain GT Carbon (belt)".

Seat height for the "S" is 32.5" for the ZF6 and 33" for the ZF9. A low seat option drops that height by one inch. For the DS (which is what I sat on), seat height is 35.3 (ZF6) and 34.8 (ZF9) (?).

Weight for both the S and DS is given as 297/341 pounds and GVWR is 637/681 pounds.

Maximum carrying capacity is 340 pounds and at this load the bike can be started on a 13% hill from a dead stop.

The replacement interval for the final drive belt is 12,500 miles.

Anything else you want to know?

ZoomSmith
15 January 2012, 2017
The replacement interval for the final drive belt is 12,500 miles.

Wow, that seems pretty low for a belt drive. Anybody know the replacement interval for a BMW or Harley belt drive?

podolefsky
15 January 2012, 2031
I looked and seems like people change Harley belts at 50-80k. Could be the smaller pitch, narrow belt, or the high RPM? I don't think the drive sprocket spins at 5000 rpm on a Harley.

ZoomSmith
15 January 2012, 2156
I don't think the drive sprocket spins at 5000 rpm on a Harley

Good point Noah.

Richard230
16 January 2012, 0901
My recollection is that the belt drive used on the BMW F650CS and the F800S and ST models initially required a 12,000 mile replacement interval, which was increased to 24,000 miles (30,000 km) after the first year of use in the field. Of course those belts are much wider than the one on the Zero, but the power transmitted is much greater. The F800 series puts down about 80 hp at the rear wheel, compared with some 12 hp of the Zero.

I note that the radius of the front sprocket on the BMW models is not that much larger than the one on the Zero, so I don't think the rpm of the front sprocket is much of an issue - compared with the very narrow width of the belt. Don't forget that many Harley clones use a belt drive between the motor shaft sprocket and the clutch and the motor spins up to 6000 rpm, although those belts tend to be very wide. On the other hand, I am pretty sure that Gates knows a lot about drive belts and this one is reinforced with carbon fiber. Maybe the recommended replacement interval will increase after actual experience in the field verifies its reliability.

liveforphysics
16 January 2012, 1625
compared with some 12 hp of the Zero.


Keep in mind, the Zero outputs 28hp on the dyno, not 12. 12 is just the continuous power rating.

We've never yet seen a belt failure, but the belt mfg's are pretty conservative about these values.

I don't think you will find the brakes to be lacking, I ride hard enough to have brake fade on racing pads with racing fluid on the massive brakes on my 190hp GSX-R 1000 superbike, and don't have any fade issues with the brakes on the Zero.

The only thing you should have to do in owning the bike is tires and brake pads, and depending on how you ride, you can always smoke a set of tires and pads in a single weekend at the track, or have them last 5-10years of daily riding if you're gentle.

elmotofan
21 February 2012, 2326
I was so excited when I learnt that there was a dealership in Florida with a 2012 ZF9 available to test ride, I was happy as a clam to drive the 250 miles to Eustis(Just north of Orlando).And the 250 mile drive certainly was worth it!

The dealership had 5 models but I was so set on the 2012 ZF9, that it was the only one I test rode.

I have been looking forward to the Enertia Plus and lack of news from Brammo had got me started to wonder if zero would be the same with their product delivery.It is so re-assuring to know that it is not all vaporware when you are able to finally touch, feel and see a product.

At first glance, the bike looks and feels so much skinnier than any ICE bike I have seen. And I guess that must accentuate the height as well, since it appears so tall.Seat height was a big concern to me (I am only 5'5 with a 28 in-seam). I was on tip toes when I hopped on with my flip flops, but when I got my boots on for the ride, the soles of my feet were touching the ground!And the skinny seat was not an pain in the tush either!
Both seat height and style, were not uncomfortble as I had imagined it to be. The slightly forward leaning riding position felt just right.

It was eerie to realize that though absolutely silent, the bike could take off with the twist of the throttle with the key turned to the on position and the side stand up.Outside of the green battery indicator, absolutely nothing to indicate that it was "ön".

The acceleration is smooth, the engine noise and vibration prominent by their absence. Angie, the owner of the dealership explained to me that the belt drive made the bike even quieter than the other zero models with chains.
I must say the width of the belt doesnt inspire confidence, particularly for a vehicle that easily goes up to 85mph.
Angie explained that the lack of transmission elimintes much of the wear-and-tear and a wider belt is not really needed.The horn on this bike is certainly loud,(louder than the one on my Ninja), I guess it would have to be , afterall it is one one of the defences for this silent machine.

It took me a while to learn not to grab for the non existent clutch lever. Not having to shift will take some
getting used to(not that I am complaining)

There is definitely a tangible difference in off the line acceleartion between sport and eco mode.
Angie, said that during her visit to the factory and test riding in california, they switched between the 2 modes while riding, but during our test drive she made sure I was at a complete stop before switching between the modes.(I guess complete stop is the recommended approach).

After the test drive, I requested if they could switch the seat to the low seat height option. The low seat height, certainly made a difference for me.I just felt more assured with this low seat height, an option that can be purchased.

Other options worth considering include a windshield, dual charging options( 2 places to plug in for a faster charge), soft luggage bags.I was informed that passenger foot pegs are currently being designed/tested and are not yet available at the dealership.

I left the dealership with a song in my heart having finally ridden this mazing machine and with a piece of paper that showed an estimated price tag of $16,500 out-the-door(including sales tax in Broward County, FL) with all the above options.

With no rebates available in Florida state, and none at the Federal level currently available, I now struggle to rationalize making this purchase(a want not a need).

Has anyone else purchased this vehicle ?(I know Richard has, how has it worked out thus far?)

Richard230
22 February 2012, 0851
Hi Elmotofan. Thanks for you observations regarding your test ride.

I have 350 miles on my Zero S so far. I am really enjoying riding the bike and our weather here is more like June than February, so I am riding almost every day. (Although today I need to take out one of my IC motorcycles as they are getting upset having been ignored for the past couple of weeks. :mad:) The bike is really great for performing chores. I have been shopping, to the dentist, visiting relatives and just riding around in the Santa Cruz Mountains enjoying the scenery. It is really nice not having to warm up the motor before you can take off. As you found out, the Zero only requires a few seconds for the computer to boot up before you can ride off. You don't need to know the secret handshake to get it going.

However, since I have owned the bike it stalled twice without warning when stopped at long traffic. When the light turned green, I turned the throttle and the power would not engage. Turning off the ignition and back on again, rebooting the controller, got it moving again and I didn't have any further problems for the rest of the day (or for the several following days). I reported my two stalling episodes on the Electric Motorcycle Forum and a day later (earlier this week) I received a call at home from a Zero representative saying that they had read my comments on the forum and wanted to pick my bike up and reprogram the controller to correct the stalling issue. They will come up to my home later this week, pick the bike up in a truck, drop off a 2012 DS loaner for me to use while they work on my bike at the factory in Scotts Valley (about 70 miles south of where I live). They will install a new program, ride the bike around for a day to make sure everything is up to snuff and return it to me.

That is really great customer service and far surpasses what I have experienced with the major motorcycle manufacturers over the years. With those guys, you get "they all do that" and they certainly don't respond to any complaints posted on the internet. It appears that Zero really wants to have satisfied customers and is willing to bend over backwards to make that happen. It also appears that they want to jump right on any initial problems with their new models that may show up in the field and correct those issues ASAP. :(

Attached are a couple of photos of me and my Zero taken at the biker hangout, Alice's Restaurant, two days after buying it.

electriKAT
22 February 2012, 1039
Awesome reports guys; this is encouraging. There is a Zero dealer a couple of hours from me. The last time I called, they said they were debating whether to purchase the 2012 model for demo. I think I'm going to call them back and see.

EDIT - just called. They said they would like to carry more bikes, but Zero recently added a requirement that you must stock SIX bikes if you're going to carry their brand. The dealer could not justify that many at one time, so they're no longer carrying Zero. Too bad. At this point, six bikes seems excessive to me. Electrics are still a hard sell.

Richard230
22 February 2012, 1602
I just heard from a Zero factory engineer this afternoon. He is going to pick up my bike tomorrow morning and give it a good going over this weekend, before returning it. Unfortunately, I won't be getting a loaner as I hear that the Press is going to be riding all of their demonstrators this weekend.

I don't think I have commented on the seat or brakes yet. The seat is kind of hard. It feels almost exactly the same as my 2009 BMW F650GS, which is good for about 2 hours of riding before it starts to hurt. Since the Zero's range is limited, I really haven't ridden more than an hour at a time and therefore the seat is not much of an issue.

The brakes are not bad and are comparable to the performance of the brakes on my single-disc 2005 Triumph Bonneville and F650GS. About average for a single front disc system. The way I ride, the pads should last a very long time. (I once got over 60K miles out of the stock brake pads on a BMW K100RS.)