Zero unveiled its latest 2022 Zero SR electric motorcycle along with some major new battery announcements and other tech updates in front of a gathering of journalists in Lower Manhattan this morning. Electrek was there front and center to bring you the first look at Zero’s new technology.
The new Zero SR and updated battery tech marks the biggest update to Zero’s lineup in years.
The first major reveal of the morning came in the form of a new battery pack for Zero’s 2022 SR, SR/F, and SR/S street-oriented electric motorcycles.
The new battery comes in either a 14.4+ kWh or 15.6+ kWh option, with the “plus” indicating that the packs can actually be software unlocked to unleash a full capacity of up to 17.3 kWh of capacity.
This on-demand software-enabled battery capacity upgrade is reminiscent of Tesla’s software-limited batteries, and marks the first time this option has been offered in the electric motorcycle industry.
The 17.3 kWh option is the largest battery that Zero has offered to date, and can be even further increased through the addition of a Power Tank accessory. That option, which will become available next spring, replaces the glovebox in the faux gas tank and instead increases the battery capacity to a whopping 20.9 kWh.
The range of a Zero SR/F or SR/S with the Power Tank will be 227 miles (365 km) in the city and 113 miles (182 km) when traveling at 70 mph (112 km/h).
Even though the batteries have increased in capacity, the weight of the packs have actually dropped by around 6 lb (2.72 kg). That even includes hardware additions such as cooling fans that upgrade the passive air cooling of previous generations to active air cooling.
As Zero Motorcycles CEO Sam Paschel explained:
“Being the brand that both defined and continues to lead the category of electric motorcycles means that we have the responsibility to push the boundaries of what is possible in electric powertrains. We consistently work to deliver massive steps forward and not just incremental improvements to our powertrains and our products.
As part of that effort, a relentless focus on range improvements, driven by battery capacity and powertrain efficiency, provide the foundations that allow us to transform the rider’s experience and drive acceleration in electric vehicle adoption and sales. These leaps forward in battery technology in our 2022 model line have set a new standard for Zero Motorcycles.”
Zero also unveiled its new Cypher III+ operating system and smartphone app.
The new software allows for those app-based upgrades, including the increased battery capacity and other performance and feature upgrades.
The new Cypher III+ operating system will come standard on all 2022 SR/F, SR/S, and SR motorcycles.
The list of features and upgrades that will be available through the app in early 2022 include: faster charging, extended range, speed and performance boosts, on-dash GPS navigation, heated grips, and Park Mode, which adds a reverse feature for easier parking.
2022 Zero SR unveiled
The updates were highlighted together in a single bike with the unveiling of the new 2022 Zero SR electric motorcycle.
The new model is built on the trellis frame of Zero’s flagship motorcycles and comes with Zero’s ZF75-10 motor, first unveiled on the Zero SR/F. It is software locked on the SR to 55 kW (74 hp) with a top speed of 104 mph (167 km/h). Riders are able to take advantage of software-unlockable upgrades via the app to fully unleash the bike’s performance and features to achieve SR/F-equivalent speeds and power levels. The motor is actually capable of 82 kW (110 hp) output and can achieve a top speed of 124 mph (200 km/h).
The new 2022 Zero SR will be priced at $17,995 when it becomes available for purchase in Q1 2022.
The new technology unveiled this morning follows on the heels of Zero’s recent summer launch of the new FXE platform, a lightweight urban electric motorcycle designed for commuters.
We reviewed the 80+ mph (130+ km/h) electric motorcycle recently and found it to be a thrilling ride that was both sporty enough for seasoned riders and approachable enough for new riders.
While it doesn’t have the power or upgradability of the new 2022 Zero SR, it is much more affordable at $11,795. All of these prices are before federal and state incentives, which can add up to over $1,000 in savings.
There’s a lot to take in here. The new battery technology has been high anticipated, so it is great to see Zero keep pushing the capacity numbers higher.
The software-locked move is interesting, and I can see arguments for and against the model. On the one hand, it allows riders to buy a higher-spec’d bike for a more affordable price up front, then upgrade the performance, speed, battery capacity, and other features later as funds become available. On the other hand, if you never intend to upgrade, then you’re riding around with extra weight that you don’t really need. Then again, if you never upgrade your battery capacity then you’re likely not using the top end of the battery or much of the bottom end, meaning your battery will likely last significantly longer by using healthier charging ranges. Perhaps that’s worth the extra couple dozen pounds right there.
The decision to move the SR onto the SR/F’s platform is interesting as well. Again, there are advantages and disadvantages here. But the fact that it allows riders to save around $2,000 to get into the flagship bike’s platform can’t be overlooked.
Electrek’s publisher Seth Weintraub was also at the unveiling and brought up an interesting idea: What if you buy some of these upgrades temporarily? If you were normally a commuter but occasionally went on longer weekend rides, being able to suddenly “rent” an extra 20% battery capacity via a couple clicks in the app might be a nice feature to have.
What do you think of the new updates to Zero’s tech? Let’s hear your thoughts in the comment section below.
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