A new age of electric motorcycling has dawned thanks to a product announcement on Monday from DigiNow and Electric Motor Werks. The two companies have jointly developed the DigiNow Super Charger Charge Tank, a super-high-speed charging unit designed for electric motorcycles made by Zero Motorcycles. The Super Charger Charge Tank drops into the Power Tank area of the Zero S, Zero SR and Zero DS, and when installed a 1 hour or so charging time is possible.
The 2015 Zero SR with Power Tank, 15 kiloWatt-hours total energy storage, is rated for 94 miles range at 70 miles/hr, or about 77 miles range for Zero SR’s lacking the Power Tank (12 kWh energy storage). Zero’s 2016 models are due to be announced shortly, and are expected to bump the range up a bit. With the Charge Tank installed a 9 kiloWatt continuous charging rate is possible, for a 1 hour (or so) full recharge time. The 9 kW charge rate is available at high power 240 volt outlets, like the NEMA 14-50 outlets at RV parks. The typical charging station is limited to 6 kiloWatts charging power, which would increase full recharge time to about 90 minutes. Either way, that’s much faster than the stock 1.3 kiloWatt charger supplied by Zero which they claim requires over 10 hours for a full recharge.
This combination of range and charging time delivers the autonomy needed for long range road trips.
Terry Hershner, the trailblazer for long range riding on Zero SR’s, estimates that with the Charge Tank installed a rider can easily travel anywhere there’s enough 6+ kiloWatt charging stations. That’s anywhere east of the Mississippi River, and along the west coast. In those areas, enough charging stations are installed to enable a long distance ride hopping from station to station. In between those areas, the mountains and deserts of the west, charging stations are far enough apart that 90 miles range won’t cover the distance between stations.
Since 2013, Hershner has taken several cross-country trips with a highly modified 2012 Zero S. A year ago, he completed a 1000+ mile trip in under 24 hours earning him the title Iron Butt Terry. To make those trips he added several additional battery packs and chargers, with the bike weighing nearly 1000 pounds when fully configured.
The Charge Tank implements the critical element of Hershner’s bike, the fast charge time, at a fraction of the weight and size. A rider will be able to carry regular gear (clothes, sleeping bag, tent, etc) in saddlebags and top case, while staying well within the weight design limits of the Zero S/SR/DS electric motorcycle, and enjoying a 1 hour or so recharge time.
Another critical element of Hershner’s bike was an aerodynamic fairing to reduce wind drag and extend the Zero S/SR/DS’s effective range. He believes such a fairing installed on a stock Zero would extend its range enough to cover those distances in the western US. Such a fairing is not (yet) available as a product.
The Charge Tank is designed so every connector is modular. It is available with either the J1772 connector for U.S. charging stations, the Mennekes for European charging stations, and it can be directly connected to a NEMA 14-50 outlet. The output-side connectors can be changed so that, in theory, the Charge Tank could be integrated with other vehicles including electric cars, according to DigiNow CTO Brandon Miller. The company plans to make available interface information so others can customize the product even further.
Miller has been improving Zero Motorcycles bikes since 2012, and selling products through DigiNow. That year he set a 102 miles/hr land speed record for light-weight electric motorcycles.
The introductory price for the Super Charger Charge Tank is $2944. A limited production run will be made, with initial deliveries expected by November 24. Installation as simple as dropping it into the Power Tank area and connecting it to the auxilliary charge connector. The process should take less than 45 minutes, according to DigiNow. For Zero’s with the Power Tank filled by a battery pack, the Charge Tank is carried on the tail in a topcase. To sweeten the deal, Electric Motor Werks is offering a generous discount on their JuiceBox EV Charging Station when purchased together with the Zero Super Charger.
To order, contact DigiNow.it, firstname.lastname@example.org