2012 Zero S Review


As gas prices fluctuate, but generally remain on the rise, electric vehicles are becoming more popular. Leading the pack of electric motorcycles is the 2012 Zero S. A new toothed-belt direct drive (to replace the previous, much noisier chain) and a new brushless, permanent magnet AC motor provides smoother response and promises no maintenance compared to the previous brush-type motor.

However, though improvements abound, there are some drawbacks, namely a low response from the throttle off the line. Thrill seekers looking to explode from a stop may be disappointed at first, but relatively strong torque will remain constant all the way up to 60 MPH. The lack of a transmission in the Zero S, and all other environmentally friendly models, means most of the acceleration happens in the mid-to-high speeds. Overall, the engine improvements and revamped framework make this a worthy contender to gas-powered engines, as you can handle the bike smoothly and easily through the city.

New For 2012

  • New top speed: the world's first available mass-produced electric motorcycle capable of exceeding 100 miles on the EPA's UDDS range test.
  • New long-lasting powertrain: a brushless motor capable of achieving speeds of up to 88 mph, new state of the art battery cell technology, regenerative deceleration and a power pack that is designed to last the life of the motorcycle
  • Choice of range: The new ZF6 and ZF9 power pack configurations give riders the ability to respectively achieve 76 miles and 114 miles according to the EPA UDDS.
  • Improved handling: Revised frame geometry, new optimized Zero designed rotors and a larger front brake master cylinder give the Zero S better handling and more stopping power than ever before.
  • New look: additions to the bodywork, components and graphics with newly designed and optimized cast wheels, refining the bike's appearance

2012 Zero S Specs

  • Model: ZF6, ZF9
  • Engine Type: High efficiency, double-stator axial flux permanent magnet, brushless motor with integrated forced air cooling with high efficiency, 420 amp, three-phase brushless controller with re-generative deceleration
  • Bore and Stroke: N/A
  • Compression ratio: N/A
  • Valve Train: N/A
  • Induction: N/A
  • Ignition: N/A
  • Transmission: Clutchless one speed
  • Final Drive: 132T/25T, Poly Chain GT Carbon belt
  • Fuel Capacity: Electric engine
  • Estimated Fuel Economy: ZF6 has a 43-mile range on the highway and a 76-mile range in the city. ZF9 has a 63-mile range on the highway and 114 mile-range in the city. Both models have the estimated fuel economy equivalence of 273 MPG highway and 487 MPG city
  • Brakes (Front): 2 piston hydraulic, 310x4 mm floating disc
  • Brakes (Rear): 1 piston hydraulic, 220x4 mm disc
  • Suspension (Front): 38mm inverted forks with adjustable compression and rebound damping
  • Suspension (Rear): Direct-link shock with adjustable spring preload, compression and rebound damping
  • Wheelbase: 56.6 inches
  • Rake: 23.1 degrees
  • Trail: 3.0 inches
  • Seat Height: 33.1 inches, 32.8 inches
  • Curb Weight: 297 pounds, 341 pounds
  • Tires (Front): 110/70-17
  • Tires (Rear): 130/70-17


  • 384 pounds of carrying capacity for a gross vehicle rating of 681 pounds on the ZF6 and 340 pounds of carrying capacity on the ZF9
  • Low seat: brings the seat height down a full two inches to 31.1 inches off the ground or 30.8 inches for the ZF6 and the ZF9 respectively
  • 2X Charger: Charge the bikes engine more quickly, needing only 2.7 hours to get to a 95 percent charge and 3.0 hours to hit 100 percent charge.
  • 3X Charger: Charge the bikes engine more quickly, needing only 1.8 hours to get to a 95 percent charge and 2.2 hours to hit 100 percent charge.
  • 4X Charger: Charge the bikes engine more quickly, needing only 1.3 hours to get to a 95 percent charge and 1.8 hours to hit 100 percent charge.

Key Competitors For The 2012 Zero S

  • Brammo Empulse