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Old 03-16-2013, 08:23 AM   #53
Wind_Rider OP
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Joined: Mar 2006
Location: Idaho
Oddometer: 305
Originally Posted by Matified View Post
That must be an expensive battery, since the suspension, speedometer, key switch, controls,brakes, even the seat, plus a few more items that I can tell from here ( when I say this I mean I have looked at them in person) are all made in china.
It would be interesting to see that battery break down? What do you do when it fails and how do you dispose of it?
I am sure it is a very expensive battery. From what I understand that large aluminum box contains 108 Li-Ion batteries and a small computer called the BMS (Battery Management System). The BMS controls charge rates, current out, and and has several safety shutdown conditions that is made to respond to to safeguard some situations. The BMS has capability to measure and control what each cell is doing. One of it's tasks is to balance the battery pack so that each cell is performing optimally. Disposal would be the same as any Li-Ion batteries and it is fully recyclable. Based on Zero's projections, the battery pack will propel the bike > 300,000 miles and still perform at 80% of it's rated capacity.

I saw one poster on the Electric motorcycle forum joke that he bought a $10,000 battery stuffed into a pit bike with a Zero. I am sure that Zero has to make some compromises to hit a price point given the cost of the battery pack. I think that the entire motorcycle has reasonable quality components given what it does and the price that it costs but value is subjective to many people.

The Zero Motorcycle is as Made in the USA as it probably can be to hit a price point and to get the company going. I don't know how much of the bike is actually manufactured in the US, but I do know that the Frame, the Battery box, the battery array are built in the US in California and the entire bike is assembled in California. I do like riding an American bike as the Zero is about as American as it gets unless you want to buy a really expensive custom made bike. What brake, suspension, switch gear components can you buy that are US made?

When I owned a Buell I had a chance to go to a Q&A with Eric Buell and he talked about what it is what like to be an American manufacturer in the modern global economy. He said that there are things that can be made in America for a reasonable price and there are things that don't make sense to make here unless the scale is there. He said that once you go past the $10K price point the market of buyers gets really small so you just have to get some components from the mass manufacture market to hit those price points.

The bike in this long term review has a motor that is made by another company. For the 2013 motorcycles Zero built their own motor which is an inside out design (Stators and magnets swapped from normal orientations). This was done to put the heat on the outside of the motor so that it is more efficiently air cooled and allows more current to flow through it giving it more power. The 2013 motor is one of the best designs in EV technology anywhere and it was engineered in house at Zero. I am not sure if it is manufactured in the US. More here on the new motor:

So, every component of the Zero is not made in the USA but it is a lot more US than a Honda.

As far as the battery technology and longevity goes I think it will last a long time and if the battery ever does hit end of life I am guessing that there will be a way to put another battery box and BMS in the same space for this bike if I still want to keep it rolling. The motor should last a long time as well and I will most likely want the new Zero Force?? battery and motor that will be improved every year for the future before it dies. I already want a 2013 !
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