Motorcycles

Zero Motorcycles giveth with battery boost, taketh away with paid upgrades

Zero Motorcycles giveth with b...
The 2022 Zero SR: a cheaper SR/F with restricted performance you can unlock later
The 2022 Zero SR: a cheaper SR/F with restricted performance you can unlock later
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The 2022 Zero SR: a cheaper SR/F with restricted performance you can unlock later
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The 2022 Zero SR: a cheaper SR/F with restricted performance you can unlock later
On-screen navigation: a paid upgrade
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On-screen navigation: a paid upgrade
The 2022 SR/S now allows riders to "unlock" up to 20% more range with paid upgrades
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The 2022 SR/S now allows riders to "unlock" up to 20% more range with paid upgrades
The 2022 SR/F gains a little extra battery, but not for free
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The 2022 SR/F gains a little extra battery, but not for free
Cell and pack-level upgrades boost the SR series battery's total potential capacity by about 20%
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Cell and pack-level upgrades boost the SR series battery's total potential capacity by about 20%
The US$17,995 2022 Zero SR
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The US$17,995 2022 Zero SR
The faired 2022 Zero SR/S
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The faired 2022 Zero SR/S
The 2022 Zero SR/F is available in Standard and Premium versions
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The 2022 Zero SR/F is available in Standard and Premium versions
App-based Cypher III+ upgrade store
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App-based Cypher III+ upgrade store
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Zero's SR/F and SR/S electric motorcycle lineup gets a sneaky boost in battery capacity for 2022, as well as a new, cheaper SR. But the news isn't all good – some of the bikes' features will be locked behind a new pay-to-upgrade system.

Where the SR/F and S launched with 14.4 kWh batteries, they are now available in two flavors, 14.4+ and 15.6+ kWh, thanks to what Zero describes as "a new Automotive OE driven cell chemistry and form factor, as well as a complete redesign of the battery enclosure, thermal management system, battery management system, and bussing."

This means the top models, with Power Tank accessories on board, now hold up to 21 kWh, enabling impressive range figures of 227 miles (365 km) around town, or 113 miles (182 km) at a steady 70 mph on the highway. You'll get more out of the latest top-shelf Energica bikes out of Italy, but you'll pay dearly for the privilege.

Cell and pack-level upgrades boost the SR series battery's total potential capacity by about 20%
Cell and pack-level upgrades boost the SR series battery's total potential capacity by about 20%

What do those plus signs on the energy storage mean? Well... The 14.4+ and 15.6+ batteries appear to actually be the same pack, which actually holds closer to 17.3 kWh. The difference is locked off by software, and lucky buyers can unlock it thanks to new paid performance upgrades which will go live in 2022.

You'll be able to buy upgrades either through your phone app or through the bike's connected Cypher III+ dash OS, and they're nothing to sniff at. If you're rolling with a 2022 Zero SR/S, standard edition, you'll be able to:

  • Upgrade charging speed by 17% for US$295
  • Double your charging speed for US$1,495
  • Unlock 10% more battery capacity, with a further 10% available when you tell the bike to do an "extended range charge" for US$2,195
  • Unlock on-dash navigation for US$195
  • Unlock "parking mode" complete with reverse crawl for US$195
  • Unlock heated grips for US$195
App-based Cypher III+ upgrade store
App-based Cypher III+ upgrade store

A new-for-2022 SR model takes the concept even further. Essentially at its core it's more or less a base-model SR/F with even harsher software restrictions on it. The same motor is held to 122 lb-ft of torque instead of 140, 74 horsepower instead of 110, 104 mph (167 km/h) top speed instead of 124 mph (200 km/h), and the Bosch Advanced Motorcycle Stability Control system loses its lean angle-sensitive smarts. You can go to a dealer and have these all restored for US$1,795.

This new, neutered SR is available for US$17,995, a grand less than the SR/F at launch in 2019, while the "Standard" SR/F bumps up a little to US$19.495 and the Premium is US$21,495. The faired SR/S adds another US$500 to these prices.

The benefits of this approach to Zero are fairly clear; production can be much more standardized across this lineup of bikes, which keeps things simpler in the factory. Cheaper bikes will roll around with the potential to bring in thousands of dollars in upgrade sales, and Zero can muck about with fun things like making your bike suddenly go further on the second Thursday of the month to give you a taste of what's behind that paywall.

The 2022 SR/S now allows riders to "unlock" up to 20% more range with paid upgrades
The 2022 SR/S now allows riders to "unlock" up to 20% more range with paid upgrades

From a customer point of view... Well, in one sense it's kinda cool the idea that you can suddenly and easily give your bike a 50% performance boost or a 20% range upgrade down the track if you're feeling flush. Turning on heated handgrips or sat nav through an app is a ton easier than breaking the spanners out and wiring things in by yourself.

In another sense, coming from a place beyond logic and rationality, there's something deeply offensive about the idea that you own a 110 horsepower bike with a lean angle-sensitive stability system in it, and you have to carry it around, but you get 74 horsepower and a dumbed-down ABS and traction control system until you pay more. The idea of doing this kind of thing with safety systems, in particular, beggars belief.

But you'll have your own opinions on this, so I needn't harp on – this is certainly not unprecedented in the auto world, and the market will decide what is and isn't acceptable.

The upgraded batteries, Zero tells us, are backwards-compatible with SR/F and SR/S bikes from 2020 onwards, and rated for somewhere between 100,000-250,000 miles before they drop below 80% of their original capacity.

Meet the 2022 SR in the short video below, complete with a narrator whose voice is so silky and comforting that I was sleeping peacefully by 15 seconds in – only to be brutally awoken by an aggressively loud ad for manscaping products. Such is modern life.

2022 Zero Motorcycles SR

Source: Zero Motorcycles

View gallery - 9 images
9 comments
9 comments
Towerman
I'm sorry but this is total BS. I mean C'mon, it's like these dumb pay to win phone games !
I can change the performance of my ESC simply by changing parameters on my pc connected to it, i don't need to PAY to change the parameters! So now you are Hauling extra dead weight because you need to PAY for it to be "unlocked" this really puts me off from Zero, not that i would pay that much for a motorbike anyway.
guzmanchinky
This turns me off so much it's hard to describe. I was in the market for a Zero FX but now I think I'll just stick to my trusty CRF450L. Which came with everything it had.
DavidB
Yup, that’s the scheme that put me off Teslas.
Username
Unless they are selling the base model below cost then you are paying for everything that's there. You should therefore be able to use it.
JeffK
I personally dislike this business model generally and consider it dangerous when applied to safety systems on a high performance vehicle. How long before hackers begin working to "jail break" the operating system and undersell upgrades to owners, or black hat hackers figure a way to lock it up for ransom. How about this scenario, a rider underestimates how much juice he needs to reach his destination in rural Montana (where I live) on a hot summer day. The bike coasts to a stop on a back road 25 miles from any town, the rider decides to upgrade to more battery capacity and finds they're in a cell phone dead zone. It will be interesting to see how the market reacts to this model applied to a high dollar elective consumer item like a motorcycle.
WB
build in safety feature and put them behind pay walls.. how freaking lame is that! way to go zero to shoot your brand in the head!
Grunchy
Yup this is precisely what you buy when you buy "locked in" systems: other people controlling your equipment.
That's why people like me back projects such as "Speeduino" in which you can extract your factory-provided engine control computer by the roots and dispose of as the garbage it is. Then replace with an open-source engine control computer you solder together yourself based on a $10 Arduino computer.
Chris__
It's easy to see why they've gone the paywall model - Tesla set the standard and now everyone else looks at them and thinks "If they can squeeze their customers for extra cash, why can't I?". But it seems to me like they are very different customer markets - sure they're both technology-focussed... but many Tesla customers are buying a tech-showcase appliance-car and are not driving enthusiasts... how many Zero buyers aren't riding enthusiasts? I suspect this attitude will completely undermine the Zero fanbase.
ljaques
I foresee 1,000+ hackers looking to hack this before their first bike hits the street with these options on it. LOL And I predict a severe backlash at Zero for even thinking it. They already get a high premium for their little motorcycles as it is. And the farther the bikes run, the more they sell. Range anxiety is extreme with these. The FX I want only gets 56 highway miles IF you buy the extra battery, which doesn't meet my 115mi minimum RT for big city shopping trips. Maybe I'll just pay half ($6k vs $12.2k) and get a CRF300L Rally next year instead. (Right, Guz?)