This is to track some aggregated owner and test rider impressions to help help assess the owner experience of both the bike and the manufacturer, between Zero and other vendors.
See also Working with Zero for a guide to working with Zero as an owner.
- 1 General Comparisons
- 2 BMW
- 3 KTM
- 4 Energica
- 5 Alta
- 6 Brammo
Powertrains operating in excess of 150V offer a number of tradeoffs compared to powertrains operating under that limit.
- Lower current on the main power bus.
- This allows greater power delivery for a given size of conductor and cabling.
- IGBT switching is required and has lower efficiencies.
- Service technicians require extra training for voltage levels that can be lethal.
Second Mover Advantage
Starting later as a manufacturer offers the ability to design with more lessons learned up-front, and fewer early commitments constraining design evolution.
The BMW C-Evolution maxi-scooter uses a high voltage powertrain and BMW i3 battery technology.
Energica Company Comparison
Energica is a much younger company based in Italy with a racing heritage in its founding.
They seem to be highly capitalized and spending on marketing and trying to develop a North American presence via a small number of dedicated dealers.
Servicing seems to heavily rely on the central headquarters for now, so it's not clear that owners should rely on these vehicles heavily as daily machines.
Energica warrantees their bikes for 2 years with a 3-year battery warranty.
Energica Technology Comparison
Energica bikes' powertrain is high voltage (in the 350-400V range) and proprietary. HV powertrains require more professional training to work on safely and require a different tier of switching transistors (IGBTs vs MosFETs), but benefit from requiring less current to transmit power.
- Heat Management
- Their bikes have liquid cooling for the motor, controller, and batteries, which helps them in high performance riding and charging.
- Their bikes use a single-speed transmission and relatively noisy chain drive.
Energica Product Comparison
This is for Energica's Eva from a Zero SR owner's perspective. The Eva 107 is Energica’s street fighter electric motorcycle.
- If there is any doubt about the size of this bike as you walk around the rear of the motorcycle you notice the 180/55/ZR17 rear tire.
- Parked next to the Zero SR’s 140/70/-R17 it looks absolutely massive.
- As you walk around the front you notice the dual Brembo front brakes.
- At first glance you don’t even realize it is an electric motorcycle as the body panels conceal the battery and motor very well.
- The suspension up front is handled by Marzocchi 43mm shocks.
- The front fender is carbon fiber as is a section under the rear seat.
- Previously Energica had offered a carbon fiber upgrade kit but for 2018 has put two major pieces as standard. Nice touch.
- Swinging a leg over the Eva 107 you become fully aware this is a full size motorcycle.
- Turning the key causes the dash to light up as well as a series of LEDs in the tank area.
- The dash reveals an amazing amount of information on the screen and by scrolling through you realize there are three more screens!
- The Zero SR’s screen can display up to 18 bits of information.
- The Eva’s screen basic screen reveals 28 bits of information and there is more on the following screens.
- If you like lots of information on the dash you will love the Energica.
- Regen on the Eva can be set in four positions, off, low, medium and high.
- On high it is significantly stronger than the Zero and in many ways it becomes your primary brake.
- In other words you roll the throttle on to go and you roll it off to stop.
- It doesn’t take long to be able to modulate the regen: the more you move the throttle closed the more regen.
- With regen set on high you will rarely use your brakes.
- The brake light will also flash as the regen slows the bike down.
- No doubt about it, the Eva’s 145 HP and 148 ft-lbs of torque far out shines the SR’s 67 HP and 106 ft-lbs of torque.
- The Eva pulls a lot harder than the SR all the way to the top of its range.
- CCS charging is AWESOME!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
- First time I used it I was at 18% SOC.
- It took 17 minutes to add 50% and took 22 minutes to reach 80%.
- Tapering starts slowly at 70% SOC but by 95% SOC you are still charging at 7kW.
- I have twin Elcon's for my SR so able to charge at 6.3 kW which still means two hours or so.
- The one downside to the Eva is the L2 charger is only 3kW so if you have to use L2 instead of CCS you might be there for over 3½ hours.
- Zero wins here.
- The Eva has a liquid cooled motor, liquid cooled inverter, and a gearbox with oil in it that has to be checked and occasionally replaced.
- It also has a chain drive.
- This is where the Zero SR smokes the Eva.
- I thought Zero was rather “optimistic” about their range figures but Energica is far worse.
- Energica claims the Eva has up to 125 mile range in Eco mode.
- I have discovered you will only get that if you don’t exceed 25 MPH. WTF?????
- At 55 MPH don’t expect much over 60 miles.
- I am hoping more miles and warmer temps helps the range.
- The Eva has Brembo’s which not much needs to be said about them except if you like lots of regen you will rarely use them.
- The brakes on the 2016 SR are far better than what I had on the 2014 but even with the regen turned all the way up you will use the brakes on the Zero far more than you ever will on the Eva.
- The Eva wheel sizes mean you have a full range of tires available to put on it.
- The SR has small tires and a very limited selection.
- I don’t expect tires to last very long on the Eva though.
- Eva wins here.
- The Eva has Eco, Rain, Urban, and Sport.
- The SR has Eco, Custom and Sport.
- I just keep it in Sport mode.
- The Eva has Regen modes of Off, Low, Medium, High.
- You can also turn off the ABS.
- Zero allows you to teak the regen between closed throttle and brake.
- This may work better for some people though.
- Battery Sizes
- Easy to be confused here:
- Energica says it has a 11.7kW battery, Zero claims 13.0kW battery.
- But the Energica’s 11.7kW is what you have available.
- The Zero’s 13.0kW is total size.
- Actual battery size of the Eva’s battery is about 13.5 kW.
- I have the Power Tank on my SR so combined have 15.8 kW.
- But the actual amount available is just over 10.5kW on my SR (Ed: this may be a fault in the reviewer's bike).
- Low SOC
- At 1% SOC, the Eva goes into Limp mode and an icon lights up on the dash and power is cut.
- I have always been close to home in a 25 MPH zone, so can only say trying to go faster than 30 mph is not easy.
- At 3-4% SOC you can still do 60-65 MPH with the EVA.
- The SR will cut power at low SOC but it is a lot more random as to when power gets cut.
- Yes the 2016 SR is far better than the 2014 SR was but I found the Eva to be extremely predictable at very low SOC and the 2016 SR isn’t.
- Eva wins by a long shot here.
- This is not about just the difference in suspension.
- As I said earlier the Eva is very much a full size motorcycle and handles like one.
- The SR is a lot smaller motorcycle and for some people this may be a better fit.
- But for me it is a lot easier to move the Eva around and I am more comfortable do it than I am on the SR.
- The Eva has reverse.
- Very easy to back up an incline.
- This is also important given the weight (620 lbs) of the Eva.
- The Eva also has 90 degree air valve stems.
- Can’t forget dual lighted USB charging ports on the Eva.
- No question the Eva costs more than the SR but you also get a lot more.
- Far more power and far faster charging, better handling.
- The Eva allows single grip control of power and over 90% of your braking due to regen.
- I like the size of the Eva as the SR always has seemed small.
- A lot of times I find myself comparing the Eva to my KTM 1290 SA which is truly another beast of a machine.
- But the Zero has far better range than the Eva.
- Based on statements on Energica’s web site and comments on this forum I expected a lot more range.
- But I knew the risks of being an early adopter, I gambled and I lost.
- So far I can commute on it so at least I can put some miles on it.
- Hopefully more miles and warm temps will get me better range.
- If you love the SR but are wanting a more of everything then take a look at the Eva.
- The Eva is an SR on a massive amount of steroids and lives up to its street fighter image and style.
- Just make sure you can accept the limited range.
Alta Motors is a San Francisco-based startup focused on high-performance offroad and supermoto electric motorcycles.
Alta Company Comparison
Alta is a much younger company than Zero, about as mature as Energica.
Marketing is very strong from this company, with lots of confidence projected and reports of some boasting / derision from Alta engineers regarding Zero that seem worth a grain of salt.
One highly-commendable trait is that they publish a 122 page owners' manual that is rather comprehensive with photos for many procedures, including high voltage drive system coverage.
Alta Technology Comparison
Like Energica, Alta uses a high voltage (HV) powertrain operating in the 350-400V range, with its associated tradeoffs.
- Their bikes use a chain drive for offroading robustness.
Alta Product Comparison
Ride report on my 2016 Zero FXS and a 2017 Alta SM demo bike back to back at Chuckwalla Valley Racetrack.
- Started out with 100% charge on both.
- I’ve had my Zero FXS for almost 2 years and sell the Zeros. I love the Zeros.
- I rode the Alta first and rode it in the most aggressive mapping. (All the power unrestricted and all the regen).
- First impression was that it handled AMAZING through the whole process in entry-mid-exit cornering.
- Right out of the crate the WP suspension and Brembo front brake was a solid package.
- Proper suspension and brakes is the only thing I think the Zero lacks.
- Not a big deal to upgrade thanks to Hollywood Electrics customization options.
- Also, the Alta overheated in 2 laps so I had to pit in early after just 4 laps.
- I drained almost all the battery (one bar left).
- The motor was very “whiny” and the chain was loud.
- REGEN is a lot more extreme in the Alta, I would like that on the Zero.
- The Alta overall felt lackluster especially after all their efforts in marketing.
- Did anyone notice Alta has 65k followers on Instagram VS Zero only having 13k followers?
- (Pointing fingers at Zero’s marketing team to step up on being the “badass hipster” youth marketing a la Andy DiBrino holding sick wheelies). I digress....
- Zero FXS
- I had my suspension dialed in previously by the suspension guru Dave Moss.
- Cornering was its usual solid and smooth ride yet aggressive.
- No upgraded brakes yet but I ditched ABS because it was too invasive.
- I was able to do nearly 5 laps before the session finished.
- Bike overheated (thermal cutback) on the 3rd lap.
- I had 44% left.
- Would I spend $3000 more on the Alta SM? Never!
- I would spend that money and still save if I just tune my Zero FXS with better brakes and suspension.
- Plus mine is a 2016 with hot-swappable batteries (great for supermoto track sessions).
- I knew I made the right decision with my Zero and am only reaffirmed by this back to back track session at Chuckwalla.
- I highly encourage anyone to take the opportunity to track their Zero so they can learn the fun limits of speed 🙂.
- (There is no speed limit at the track, yay no tickets)
- My motorcycle background is 6 years of ICE riding with lots of track days, CSS training, some on/off minimoto racing, 1 year of AHRMA E-Moto racing, 3 years CMSP certified motorcycle instructor, almost 2 years of E-riding, and part of the Hollywood Electrics family and crew.
Brammo made the Enertia and Empulse motorcycles which were acquired by Polaris, which in turn went bankrupt before delivering a derived bike model.
Brammo Company Comparison
Brammo was run more like a hobby startup for its founder.
Brammo Technology Comparison
Brammo has a low-voltage EV powertrain based on Farasis battery technology at 116V like Zero, and also uses the Sevcon motor controller for its Empulse line.
Suspension and brakes are regarded as generally better year-for-year, but Zero did continue to improve after 2014 in ways that Brammo bikes did not match.
Brammo bikes lack a contactor like the Zero so have a few safety concerns working on the powertrain that Zero lacks.