Zero adds updated SR model, new batteries, and “in-app purchase” business model

Big news today from Santa Cruz-based Zero Motorcycles: The all-electric manufacturer has announced next-generation batteries, an all-new entry-level SR model, and a new plan for a sort of “in-app purchase” upgrade system.

The new Zero SR can travel well over 300 kilometres in the city, with the highest-capacity battery and other upgrades. Photo: Zero

New batteries

For 2022, Zero has the new ZF14.4+ kWh and ZF15.6+ kWh powerplants. With machines upgraded to max potential (including the aforementioned “in-app purchases, and the accessory Power Tank add-on battery), riders can extend their city riding range as far as 365 km, and highway range as far as 182 km (at 113 km/h speed). Those numbers are wayyyyy ahead of much of the competition, and far better than Zero’s numbers of only a few years back. Battery tech has come a long way.

Zero says “The new ZF 14.4+ kWh batteries come stock on all Standard trim SR/F and SR/S whereas the Premium trims receive more base range thanks to the 15.6+ kWh Power Pack.” When you get all the add-ons, capacity grows to almost 21 kWh.

Along with beefy new batteries, the SR comes with high-spec brakes and suspension. Photo: Zero

Updated Zero SR

The Standard SR model is supposed to offer a lower-priced entry point into the higher end of Zero’s lineup; at $18,000 USD (no word on Canadian MSRP yet), it’s still far from cheap.

The SR does have a lot to offer, though: Top speed is 167 km/h, which doesn’t sound silly-fast, but with 122 lb-ft of torque on tap as soon as you open the throttle, the rush to get to top speed should be … invigorating.

The SR uses the ZF 75-10 motor, with 750-amp three-phase AC controller, with regenerative deceleration. The Standard model comes with the ZF14.4+ kWh battery battery, but it can be upgraded to the highest-spec battery in Zero’s lineup, with Power Tank and other boosts. It’s not a lightweight, at 222 kg at the curb. However, it comes with proper Bosch brakes and Showa suspension, and should be plenty of fun as a result.

But, when you buy the Zero SR, the bike has significant room for improvement off the showroom floor, thanks to the new Cypher Store.

Want more speed? Fire up your phone. Photo: Zero

Tune your bike with in-app purchases

Basically, the Cypher Store is a way of using your phone to buy performance upgrades and other features for your bike. The hard parts necessary for these upgrades comes built-in to the bike; you’re just paying Zero to turn the features on or off. It’s something like the quickshifter KTM puts on some machines. On some Katoom models, the quickshifter comes on all production machines, but its function is only available if you pay extra.

Zero’s plan is much more aggressive, extending beyond features like traction control and navigation software to pure performance upgrades. You’re paying to unlock pure horsepower or battery capacity that’s already built-in to your bike from the factory.

The PR email from Zero says “Zero Motorcycles’ proprietary operating system gets an update to the all-new Cypher III+ which enables owners to customize their rides at the touch of a button. Performance and feature upgrades are all available on-demand through the Cypher Store.” Some riders will no doubt prefer this over late-night wrenching sessions, while others will be most unhappy over the idea (chances are, those folks mostly don’t own electric motorcycles, though).

It’s a bold plan, and if it works, it could make Zero a lot of money, along with the rest of the moto industry. Stay tuned on this one..

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