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Talking to Zero Motorcycles CEO and taking home the 2020 SR/F

The motorcycle industry is shifting to electric. Harley-Davidson signaled the trend this year, becoming the first big gas manufacturer to release a street-legal e-motorcycle in the U.S., the LiveWire.
But before Harleys EV pivot, California-based startup Zero Motorcycles had been selling e-motos for years.
Were an electric motorcycle and power-train manufacturer founded in 2006 in Santa Cruz, Californiawere sold in over 30 countries, Zero CEO Sam Paschel told TechCrunch.
Fundamentally we aim to transform and elevate the motorcycling experience and by doing that we expect to make a huge dent in transforming transportation globally.
Toward that aim, Zero recently released the all-new 2020, SR/F a $19K high-performance e-motorcycle and competitor to Harley Davidsons $29K LiveWire.

TechCrunch took an SR/F home to experience going full e-moto. The biggest distinction between e-motorcycles versus gas two-wheelers is lightning acceleration and uninterrupted forward movement.
Zeros SRF has a magnet motor and one gear with no clutch or shifting and fewer mechanical parts to put the 14.4 kWh batterys 140 ft-lbs of torque to the pavement.
You simply twist and go.
The SR/F is a fully digital, IoT motorcycle that syncs to a smartphone and the cloud to monitor charge status or adjust performance. It has preset riding modes Eco, Street, Sport, and Rain for different combinations of power and range. The EV also allows for customized riding modes dialed in via smartphone.
Talking to Zero Motorcycles CEO and taking home the 2020 SR/F
One can power Zeros sporty e-moto from a household outlet or use fast-charging networks like ChargePoint for a full battery in around 80 minutes.
Zeros SR/F has a range of up to 161 miles in the city, where it can recharge itself marginally through regenerative braking. For a combination of city, highway, an sport riding, I averaged around 100 miles a charge, alternating between riding modes.
On performance, Zeros new sport-entry hauls ass. Going 0 to 60 at full power on the new SR/F is a rush, while 60 to 100 speed is so fast its downright frightening. Overall, the e-motos acceleration is stronger and more constant than internal combustion machines, with no emissions and little sound.
Zeros CEO Sam Paschel thinks the distinct electric motorcycle experience can convert gas riders
We have what we consider enthusiastsThese are people that are avid motorcycle ridersWhat we find with them is they throw a leg over a Zerohave an electric motorcycle experience, its fundamentally differentThey fall in love, they buy one, he said.
Zeros e-motos starting at around $9K for the entry level FX are also attracting a younger generation, according to the startups CEO.
Theyre an early adopter of new technology. They love the idea whether its the performance elements the riding experience, green or eco elements of having electric vehicle and were actually drawing them into the sport in a way that they wouldnt have been drawn in by internal combustion, he said.
Talking to Zero Motorcycles CEO and taking home the 2020 SR/F
Paschel is undaunted by Harleys EV debut or the other big gas motorcycle manufacturers entering the E-market.
You have a major OEM thats launched a bike into the space that we have been defining and creating for over a decade. Of course, the nature of that relationship is fundamentally competitive, he said.
The question I get more often isare we concerned? Are we worried or scared of any OEMs entering? And The answer is no. This is actually the most exciting thing thats happened in the space in a long time, said Paschel.
A rising tide is going to lift all ships, andIm more than confident that we will capture more than our fair share of a rapidly growing market simply because this is all we do. And we spent 13 years, millions of miles, and a lot of time doing this just right.
Both Zero and Harley are banking on e-motos to reboot a flailing U.S. motorcycle industry. New bike sales dropped 50% since 2008 with sharp declines in ownership by everyone under 40.
Zero has worked to close gaps on price, range, charge times, and performance compared to petrol-powered motorcycles.
The startup is not alone. Italys Energica is expanding distribution of its high-performance e-motos in the U.S. Other competitors include California based Lightning Motorcycles and e-moto startup Fuell, with plans to release its $10K, 150 mile range Flow this year.
Of course, theres already been some speed-bumps and market attrition, with three e-moto startups Alta Motors, Mission Motors, and Brammo forced to power down over the last several years.
Zero looks to its head start and proprietary technology to win in the electric conversion of motorcycles.
The company has also received partnership inquiries
Its not something that we are actively seekingI will tell you that theres a lot of inbound interest. I think people were waking up and realizing that that transition is much closer than they thought it wasWeve had conversations from a list of OEMS, many of whom you would recognize, said Paschel.
Still, Zero is likely to ride on alone, according to its CEO.
Right now its an inherently competitive relationship with a lot of those guys, so it would have to be the right dealBut right now were fiercely competitive company. Were in a competition with all these brands.
Talking to Zero Motorcycles CEO and taking home the 2020 SR/F
Zeros SR/F could be the sweet spot of tech, price, range, and performance it has been striving toward to finally go mass market and compete with those brands.
And with Zero and Harley growing e-moto market share, expect big names still on the sidelines Honda, Ducati, Kawasaki to debut production EVs soon.
With that, the electrification of the motorcycle industry will become another facet of the transformation of global mobility.

Inside Harley-Davidsons EV shift with a ride on its LiveWire
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