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Zero Motorcycles offers public charging option

Quick-charge and plug-in accessory upgrades allow all-electric motorcycles to be recharged from public stations.

Candace Lombardi
In a software-driven world, it's easy to forget about the nuts and bolts. Whether it's cars, robots, personal gadgetry or industrial machines, Candace Lombardi examines the moving parts that keep our world rotating. A journalist who divides her time between the United States and the United Kingdom, Lombardi has written about technology for the sites of The New York Times, CNET, USA Today, MSN, ZDNet, Silicon.com, and GameSpot. She is a member of the CNET Blog Network and is not a current employee of CNET.
Candace Lombardi
2 min read
2011 Zero DS all-electric motorcycle Zero Motorcycles

The 2011 lineup from electric-motorcycle maker Zero Motorcycles will be offered with an upgrade allowing them to be recharged at public charging stations, the company announced yesterday.

The company's line of all-electric motorcycles, which made their debut in the U.S. in 2009, has undergone a major overhaul, including new brakes and wheels. But most notable to those interested in green tech may be that Zero will now offer an upgrade that allows its motorcycles to accept DC (direct current) fast charging, and, with the use of a plug accessory, make it compatible with any charger using the SAE J1772 plug.

The SAE J1772 is the five-pin charging system and coupler agreed upon by members of the Society of Automotive Engineers International (SAE), the standard organization for automotive industry technology and aerospace, to be used as the standard connection for plug-in vehicles. It's currently used for fast-charging stations like those made by Coulomb and Ecotality, as well as EVs like the Nissan Leaf and Chevy Volt.

The SAE J1772 standard agreed upon by the Society of Automotive Engineers SAE International

In addition to the quick-charge option, the Zero S and Zero DS models have also gotten a battery pack upgrade, which the company says will improve efficiency by 12.5 percent allowing for longer range between charges.

The Zero DS, which was recently adopted by a California police department, has been touted as having a range of about 50 miles. The 2011 version will have a maximum range of about 58 miles, according to company specs. The Zero S (which starts at $9,995) and Zero DS (starting at $10,495) have also gone from a chain to belt drive system, which has made them even quieter than before (see video) in addition to reducing maintenance, according to the company. The new models will be available in March.