Learning to live with and love battery-powered motoring

An exciting world is opening up with the improvement in battery and energy management technology. It might not yet be perfect but its getting better all the time.

I worked out today that I have now owned my Zero electric motorcycle for 640 days.

For those who have forgotten, my bike is a 2010 Zero Motorcycles Dual Sport model, which in eBike world makes it a vintage bike. Its a far cry from today’s web enabled, long range high speed models but hey, I’ve always loved vintage machines so it’s all good

I have found a single downside to ownership; I’m not as fit as I used to be because I just love riding it so much that my pushbike is collecting cob webs. I commute to the office virtually every day, visit customers, do runs to the local shops and ride it to the airport when I’m travelling. Hell, I’ve even been known to just dink the kids around the yard for fun. I have overcome the range anxiety that curses all new ev owners and only ran out of juice once, when a fuse blew stopping the charger from doing its job.

Today, I feel comfortable knowing how far I can get around town,  either return or one way and have a little diary of places I know where I can get a recharge. The map below gives you an indication of what real life is like for me on my Zero living in Sydney and shows an approximation of my one way and two range to home.  The simple reality on my bike is that it is an outstanding city bike and has got me to a heap of locations within this range which is 80% of my regular commuting.


Graph for Learning to live with and love battery-powered motoring

There are times of course, when I wish it would go a little further, or a little faster but anyone who owns vintage gear feels like that and learns to just accept the enoughness of what is. Besides, that’s what the new model is all about and why I’m hugely excited to be heading to the Energy Storage and Solar2014 conference next week.

You may or may not know that Zero Motorcycles Australia have very kindly agreed to loan me a brand new bike from the first shipment of their latest models which only landed a few weeks ago. Ill be thrashing it senseless for three days...sorry I meant lovingly displaying it on a booth for the duration of the show and have met with their importer to talk through details on several occasions now. I also happen to know that their first sale happened a few weeks ago, when an old colleague who has hankered for a Zero for many years slapped his money down and got the very first Zero SR in Australia. When he rang me with the news, I could hear the smile down the phone; he was absolutely ecstatic and eager to talk about range, driving style and other eBike geekery in great detail.

There’s a chance his bike will be around during the show too (no promises now) so I bit the bullet and locked in the police demonstrator model which has been touring the country as a demo unit. Its a good looking and practical machine getting some great reviews in the press from security and police forces around the world and most importantly, has flashing lights and sirens so now I’m really excited.

Just when I thought things couldn’t get any better for the show I has a call from a local company about an inverter charger product they have been trying to get rolling in Australia. The Voltlogic  is made by Renewable Energy Solutions Australia and in simple terms is an Australian made very smart inverter charger.  It is designed to not only be an on grid and off grid inverter, but also to handle reactive power and power factor correction requirements, such as those recently announced in Queensland.  It also handles load shifting when used with storage; opening up the way to storage for solar and of course eBikes. This is where our conversation stopped dead, because I realised that what this device is (to me) is the fast, bi-directional charger I’ve been looking for to couple with the new Zero Motorcyles. I was aiming for the end of the year to find a product that could do it, but blow down if some local guys haven’t worked it out already it seems.

So, if you come and check out Booth F8 at Energy Storage 2014, you will not only find one (possibly two) new Zero motorcycles but also a locally made fast bi-directional charger that opens up a world on new possibilities. I managed to convince Voltlogic to come along for the ride too.

Drop in and say g’day.

Nigel Morris is the Director of SolarBusinessServices.

This article was originally published by SolarBusinessServices. Republished with permission.