Terry Hershner pulls off battery-powered Iron Butt

Electric motorcycle pioneer Terry Hershner has completed the first battery bike Iron Butt.

Ever since electric motorcycles began to really hit the market in the past few years, the major criticism people have thrown at them is that the battery bikes just don’t have the needed range. Gobs of on-demand torque and low maintenance and running costs don’t do you any good if you’re stranded  on the side of the highway, miles away from a charging station.

Electric bikes have come a long way way in the last couple years (literally – manufacturers have greatly increased the riding range). However, Terry Hershner, of Florida, is one guy who’s willing to push things to the next level. He’s managed all sort of long-distance runs on his highly modified Zero, like 3,500 miles in six days, the first coast-to-coast electric bike trip, and placing second in the BC2BC Canada-Mexico electric rally.

Now, Hershner has once again made history, by completing an Iron Butt run on his electric motorcycle. He’s the first rider to do so. He covered 1046.7 miles in 22 hours, 57 minutes, using 126.883 kWh of electricity along the way. He ran from San Jose, California, to Mexico, then back, ending at ChargePoint headquarters. Hershner relied on ChargePoint’s EV chargers en route to help him complete the journey.

Of course, his modifications to his bike were key to his success. Hershner has a fairing built with help from streamlining veteran Craig Vetter (he won Vetter’s fuel economy challenge this year), and he’s added extra batteries and extra chargers to the Zero to help him not only go further, but charge faster.


  1. Offered to talk to the Zero guys 2 years ago about doing a Saddlesore 1000 on a stock Zero bike. Reading the article, apparently that’s not achievable. Guess that’s why they never got back to me . . .

    • I don’t think it’s anywhere near achievable. We looked into getting one as a long-term tester a few years ago, and the numbers wouldn’t let us do even minor city-to-city trips in the Maritimes. They’ve come a long way since then, but they still aren’t viable tourers in stock form.

    • Not bad for a 1000-mile trip. Sign me up …

      The catch is, the bike is mucho expensive in this format … cheaper to buy a CBR250 or even CBR125 and fuel up with dino juice.

Join the conversation!