It's shaping up to be the summer of the electric moto--in addition to Brammo's Enertia, which we drove last month, Zero Motorcycles has just begun shipping their Zero S all-electric bike. How does the latest battery-powered ride compare? We took one for a spin to find out.
At first glance, both Brammo's Enertia and Zero's S cut a thinner, trimmer profile than your average internal combustion motorcycle. The Zero S is a bit thicker through the knees than the Enertia in order to accommodate its custom-built battery pack. And while this heft was designed with a "more is more" consumer mentality in mind, it doesn't exactly contribute to a, "Boy, this sure is comfy" feeling on the bike.
The Enertia is considerably more refined in this department. Aesthetically, the fairings, framework and electrical layout all contribute to some very clean lines, where the Zero S has a raw and unfinished quality reminiscent of something out of Mad Max. Which isn't necessarily a bad thing, it just depends on your personal style.
Both posses Cheshire-grin-inducing pickup that only an experienced rider could differentiate. But there is a difference: Boasting 20 more pound-feet of torque than the Enertia, the S's front end could easily come up on a rookie rider with a lead fist. The Enertia's horsepower, while ample, is no threat to buck its jockey.
The Zero S also boasts a top speed of 70 mph vs. the Brammo's 55 mph, making the S more highway-friendly. This can come in handy for avoiding those 4-wheeled monsters on the road who won't necessarily hear you coming up behind them.
Both bikes are extremely fun to throttle in a straight line. The Zero S's power helps you pull away quicker from danger but the Enertia's superior handling ability creates a more secure-feeling riding experience.
The Zero S weighs 225 lbs vs. the Enertia's 280. However, the Enertia's weight is so well distributed that it feels like a feathery 100 lbs. while in motion. The position and bulk of the S's battery pack gives the overall sensation of added pounds making it less responsive during evasive maneuvers.
Both bikes are priced a bit higher than a traditional 600CC Japanese machine or a more petrol-friendly scooter. The Enertia, listed at $11,995, is $2,000 more than the $9,950 Zero S, but it does come with the support of Best Buy's Geek Squad. Overall maintenance costs on the Enertia couldn't be calculated at this time.
For 10% above the sticker price, the Zero S comes with a 2-year, no-fault warranty. This "anti-waste" warranty, in addition to covering the basic mechanical parts, also covers the batteries (which are not user-swappable). If your Zero S's battery becomes obsolete within that 2-year span, you can buy the upgraded battery at 50% off. In addition, software upgrades on the S are currently free.
Both are eligible for a 10% federal tax credit as well as state and local benefits.
Both motorcycles are fully electric and produce only the indirect emissions via the electricity necessary to charge them. The Brammo Enertia uses a more "off-the-shelf" lithium iron-phosphate batteries, while the Zero S's Lithium-manganese battery is custom-built and accounts for 50% of the machine's overall price tag.
Brammo claims a life span of 75,000 miles, depending on usage, for each of their six power packs and in addition to being recyclable, Brammo believes that each unit could be utilized in another electrical power format afterwards.
Zero's battery cell technology is encased almost entirely in copper, which disperses cell-damaging heat 5 times more effectively than most steel housing units. This pricey engineering decision leads to a longer cell life-span, Zero hopes. In addition, Zero is claiming 100% recyclability and landfill approval in the U.S., Canada and Europe.
All told, there is something for everyone in each of these machines. Personal taste, rider experience and economics are all important factors when considering either.
As for me, this city-slick art director must side with his aesthetic sense and the Brammo Enertia. The Zero S's is just a little too rough around the edges, corners and my posterior, but it's a great lead into what is quickly becoming a nicely fleshed out category of bikes.
Having not tested either I would chose the Zero S for the top end speed and the $2k cheaper price tag...but you also left out one of the most important factor with this new technology...Range?(for both bikes, since you basicaly compared the two...i could find if i looked but thats too much work (since im at work))
I just built an Electric Bike from a based hybrid bike plus hub wheel from AmpedBikes.com and 36V 20AH battery from PingPingbatteries.com. Its a near perfect local commuting machine for me. Weighs 72 lbs and I find that I pedal a lot just for exercise. On the flat, 20 MPH works well. Does Cincinnati Hills too with just a little help from me on the pedals.
My build is documented at
I don't really like the design of it. It doesn't really like it could do rough turns. Also I would like to know what the damage pressure is of the frame. It looks like it could bend with one wrong move,lol. As always mykhaelo signing out. Visit me at http://www.advertisingdesignideas.com
I think this was a well-written, balanced comparison. Certainly there is room in the market for both of these bikes and many others as well. Dismissing these as "just a fad" is akin to doing the same with "car phones" and 1st generation iPods. Dang newfangled thingamabobs!
The Zero S is literally twice as fast as the Brammo Enertia (0-30) <2 seconds vrs 4.5 seconds. It has a range of about 60mi vrs 35-45 with the Brammo Enertia. It has more than twice the amount of torque and above 30% more hp. The performance of the Zero S is a much closer match to gas bikes than the Brammo Enertia is......and $2000 dollars less in price.
It looks like it could bend with one wrong move,lol. As always prabash signing out. Visit me at