23 September, 2010

You want to do what?

I was discussing with Phil from Zero just where I would pick up the bike. They're in Melbourne which is over 1000 km from home. Phil said that they could get it registered in a country town just 300 km away from me and they could arrange to get it shipped up to me from there. No problem, I'll just come down on the train and ride it back.

Ummm.... Phil's clearly distressed by the idea.

"No no it's fine" I say. "I love to use bikes for things they're not designed to do. It's more fun riding a GSX-R round a motorcross track than a dirtbike. It will be an adventure."

Phil's suddenly ok, he gets where I'm coming from completely. "oh you should speak to one of the guys who's buying one at the same time. He's planning on riding it from London to Melbourne!"

Wow, London to Melbourne. Suddenly my brain is spinning. I'd figured about 160 km, 100 miles per day would be the most you'd want to do. 80 km, 50 miles in the morning, plug in somewhere for 4 hours while you check out the town. Then 80 km, 50 miles in the evening to the overnight stop where it recharges fully overnight. That would be great touring. But London to Melbourne, that would be like 10 000 miles or 200 charge/discharge cycles. Hmmmm, That's possible. 100 days riding sounds about right and you would see an amazing amount of countryside with an enforced 4 hour stop every day. Still I wouldn't be happy about leaving the bike to charge while I went off to explore without it. It would need a lot of careful planning. Communicating your need for a charge point might be hard and you'd need about a thousand different plugs. Perhaps with a satellite phone and the number of a translation service you might manage it.

22 September, 2010

Here's a picture of the bike I've chosen to spend the next few years with.   One never knows going in what a relationship is going to be like but I'm hoping for good things.

21 September, 2010

Spend 40 dollars to save 40 cents

I rang CountryEnergy today and asked them about recharging from the controlled load circuit.  It's cheaper, about half the cost.  Trouble is that you're not allowed to have a normal socket wired to it for obvious safety reasons (so you can't plug in a heater and walk away only to have it come on by itself late at night)

They said it would be ok as long as I had a special purpose outlet installed, like a round pin earth.  http://www.accesscomms.com.au/reference/roundearth.htm

So I bought one today for the sparkie to fit.  40 dollars.  It will pay for itself after 100 full charges on the bike.  Zero officially say 1000 full charge discharge cycles, but I'm hearing around that 1800 isn't out of the question for a well looked after pack.  So potentially I'll save $720 over the life of each battery pack by using controlled load.  That's at current prices for electricity but I expect that will double over the next 3 years or so.

If you're so smart, what colour should it be?

I posted to my facebook account that I've ordered an electric motorcycle.  I expected people to ask me about carbon, charge points, range, cost...  Lots of things.  I never expected anyone to ask me what colour I've ordered.  I didn't know, I hadn't discussed colour with Phil from Zero.

So I had a look at the bikes on the Zero website.  White looked a bit bland.  Nice but bland.  Blue looked nice, not very motorcycleish but nice.  However it did look like it would blend into the background a bit.  That left black with a red stripe.  Bingo.

I emailed Phil and he responded within an hour that it won't be a problem.

Zero are so easy to deal with.

20 September, 2010

Well I've taken the plunge

I was watching telly (Good News Week) the other day and saw that Erin McNaught had been injured while filming a story about electric motorcycles. A bit of Googling came up with the story. She'd been wheeling an electric bike around and bliped the throttle. It had shot forward and she'd fallen, trapping her finger in the chain and sproket. Ouch!

However it sparked some interest. There's not many electrics here in Australia. The Vectrix came here for a while, but stopped when the troubles hit the factory. Bit of scratching around on the net revealed that Zero was the subject of the story. They're bringing their full range to Australia. The story was about 6 months old, so I think they've probably brought some in, then got bored and stopped. I've not seen anything about them in the last six months or so.

I've been a fan since the Drift and had been plotting a way of getting one here, but it seemed impossible. Bikes have to be homologated for road use and the process is long and very expensive for a manufacturer. For a single import it's a nightmare.

Still it looked like Zero has taken the plunge and jumped the hoops required for an Australian compliance plate. Was I too late?

Quick Batman, to the BatInterwebby thing. Yes, Zero has an Australian presence, complete with a Melbourne phone number. So the 20th century medium has given me a lead on a 21st century motorcycle that I'm finding with a 19th century communicator.

Phil answered and confirmed that Zero is indeed bringing them in, but soon rather than previously. So I wasn't too late. He was keen for me to say yes now and secure one on the first shipment.... No pressure you understand but you might miss out... I told him I'd think about it.

Back to the interwebby. The 2010 Zero S and Zero DS look significantly better than the previous bikes, apart from the dreadful headlight that looks like some government has demanded it. I think the DS would suit me best.

Next day I emailed Phil and put down a deposit. Still not sure I've done the right thing. Time will tell.