Zero Motorcycles' electric bikes can be fun to ride, but recharging is another matter entirely. It's tough to wait hours when all you want to do is go back on the open road. That shouldn't be such a problem with the company's just-introduced 2018 models. If you use a 6kW Charge Tank accessory with the newest Zero S, SR, DS and DSR, you can charge up to six times faster -- as little as an hour for the S or DS ZF7.2 when you plug into an ordinary Level 1 outlet. Models with larger batteries can still top up in two hours if you use a Level 2 EV charger. Neither charging rate is as speedy as filling a gas tank, of course, but they're fast enough that you could come home with a low battery and head out again after dinner.
The new e-motorbikes should be more exciting rides, too. If you have the ZF7.2 power pack, you should get 11 percent more rear-wheel torque. The powertrains, meanwhile, have been tweaked to supply up to 30 percent more power and torque. Combine these with up to 10 percent added range on the ZF7.2 and ZF14.4 batteries (up to 223 miles) and you should have an easier time overtaking big rigs on the highway.
There's also an improvement in an unexpected area: your phone. You can now update your bike's firmware through Zero's mobile app, so you can improve your performance while sitting in your own garage.
Prices for the bikes are the same as the 2017 models, which starts at $8,495 for a Zero FX and culminates at $16,495 for the SR and DSR models. Be ready to pay extra if you want that vaunted fast charging, though: the Charge Tank will cost you an extra $2,295. That could make sense if you ride almost constantly, but you may want to save your cash if your bike only comes out for the daily commute.