Electric motorcycles have been demanding more and more attention in the last several years, and the 2012 Zero DS brings dual sport performance to an interesting new level. Offered in white or black and with two different battery packs, the Zero DS is a dual sport electric motorcycle that was designed to take on its gas-powered competitors head-to-head.
Based on Zero’s advanced electric motor technology, the 2012 Zero DS features a direct drive motor that provides immediate response and minimal friction losses, regenerative braking capabilities, and intelligent battery management all in a durable dual sport design that is light, maneuverable, and stylish.
At the heart of all Zero motorcycles is the battery pack. Available in two configurations capable of either 75 miles (ZF6) or 112 miles (ZF9) per charge, these power packs can last for three thousand cycles of charging and discharging, which correlates to a lifespan of over 300,000 miles. The battery packs are constantly monitored by the onboard system, can be charged directly with the integrated onboard charger, and have been upgraded for 2012 to run cooler at higher revolutions per minute (rpms) by using a higher voltage system.
The Zero battery packs power the compact, brushless motor that provides the linear power delivery and horizontal torque curve that make electric motors attractive as motorcycle engines. The DS is essentially a one-speed automatic motorcycle, but traditional descriptions fall short when discussing electric drivetrains. The electric motor means there’s no lag time, peaks, or troughs when the throttle is opened and there’s equal torque at all stages of power delivery. Additionally, because there is energy to be harnessed when bringing the motorcycle to a stop, the electric motor in the 2012 Zero DS is coupled to a regenerative braking system that keeps the battery charged during normal riding. This is a motorcycle that demands a whole new way of viewing motorcycle propulsion.
Suspension is top-notch, designed for a light package like the DS, and reminiscent of what is found on similar gas-powered dual-sport bikes. Inverted front forks are fully adjustable for preload and rebound damping and the fully adjustable rear shock keeps the twin-sided rear swingarm firmly planted whatever the terrain.
For the rider looking to have the future of motorcycling today, the 2012 Zero DS provides a state-of-the-art powertrain wrapped in a familiar and stylish dual sport design that will certainly turn heads.