Clean Transport

Published on October 17th, 2015 | by Jo Borrás


Zero Motorcycles Releases Supercharger Add-On For 1 Hour Charging

October 17th, 2015 by  

Originally published on Gas2.

“Hey, Jo!” began Brandon’s message. “Hope all is well with you! I am about to release a new charger for Zero Motorcycles that fits into the tank, and lets you charge up the bike in about an hour.” Since most of the EVs that I’ve had first-hand experience with take almost a full night to recharge, I was definitely intrigued. Even more so, of course, because: Brandon.

Brandon, if you don’t know, is a long-time friend of Gas 2. He even wrote a few articles for us back when he first picked up his 2014 Zero SR and, before that, when he was a part of the 2012 ReFuel event. He’s a good dude, and he absolutely understands what both EV enthusiasts and motorcyclists want from their rides. So, as at least one of those two things, I asked him about his charger.

“We’re calling it the Super Charger,” explained Brandon (paraphrasing here). “It gives you between 75 and 90 miles in an hour, and it fits in your tank.”

This, of course, confused the he(ck) out of me, because Zero Motorcycles- which are, you know, electric- don’t actually have fuel tanks. “I’ll get you some pictures in just a few,” said Brandon. “I’m going into a meeting with engineers again, now.”

A few minutes later, as promised, I received my explanation …

… which brings the point home rather nicely, don’t you think? “The best thing is that it’s easy to install,” he says. “Literally any one could do this with a screwdriver and Allen key. There’s no confusing electric stuff or anything … I guess if someone wants it professionally installed by a dealer it should be pretty cheap. With some experience, they should be able to install it in under an hour. A place that knows the bikes like Hollywood Electrics could do it in maybe 30 minutes.”

There’s apparently a smartphone app that goes along with the new Super Charger, since I got a screencap from Brandon’s phone that shows off some pretty serious charging power …


… I’d be lying if I said I knew what all of that meant just by looking at it, but I get that the gist of it is a motorcycle that be all set for a full day of commuting after just 45 minutes to an hour of being plugged into a standard wall socket. That’s pretty good, and quite a bit better than my own most recent experience with the iMiEV!

You can check out Brandon’s official press release, below, and check out DigiNow’s website for pricing and availability. If you have time, let us know what you think of this latest charging product for electric bikes in the comments section at the bottom of the article.

DigiNow is Pleased to Announce the Release of the First Production On-board/Off-board Super Charger Compatible with Zero Motorcycles.

The Super Charger is the result of the collaboration between DigiNow and eMotorWerks, an experienced and effective team of power electronics engineers. The innovative design leveraged open collaborative input from some of the best experts around the world. We have been able to produce a Super Charger which can drop perfectly into a Zero’s Tank area and charge a Zero in most use cases in under an hour. Hollywood Electrics has also played a significant role in making this charger a reality. Their support and excellence in everything electric motorcycle related has been extremely valuable since the first DigiNow charge tank iterations in 2013.

With the DigiNow Super Charger Charge Tank, an owner has the ability to charge their motorcycle at up to 12kW peak power and up to 9kW continous power (while utilizing the onboard charger at the same time). This is 7-10 times more powerful than the stock charger and results in charging a battery from 0% to 80% in under 1 hour.

The Super Charger comes with a swappable J1772 connector in North America, and a Mennekes Connector in Europe. This will allow users to utilize the largest EV charging infrastructures in the world.

With the included J1772 connector, riders will be able to utilize the full power of virtually any J1772 charging station. This means a rider is able to remove their onboard charger to save weight and increase range and still charge at 7.5 kilowatts. The Super Charger is half the weight of the Zero Power Tank and provides the ability to be used both in the tank and in a tail case. This means that a rider could have both a Zero Power Tank and the DigiNow Super Charger installed on a bike for a true touring electric motorcycle. Which is exactly how electric evangelist Terry Hershner @electricTerry will be using this charger!

The Super Charger can also be used as an offboard charging station. Plug it into any NEMA 14-50 power outlet and enjoy up to 10kW continuous output power. Many locations have these outlets already, or can have the outlet easily installed. This means that dealers, homeowners and popular riding destinations can install these chargers developing the potential for an electric motorcycle Super Charger Network.

The install for a Super Charger is as simple as dropping it in the tank area or tail box and plugging it into the auxiliary charge port. For most people this should take less than 45 min, and far less for experienced technicians. Once installed, the stock Zero Power Tank cover will fit directly over the Super Charger. Dealers like Hollywood Electrics can order the tank cover for you and install the Super Charger as well.

Source | Photos: Brandon Miller, via DigiNow.

Reprinted with permission.

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About the Author

I've been involved in motorsports and tuning since 1997, and write for a number of blogs in the Important Media network. You can find me on Twitter, Skype (jo.borras) or Google+.

  • Your article mentions that the unit can charge in “just 45 minutes to an hour of being plugged into a standard wall socket. ” This is misleading.

    It can plug into a standard J1772 or Mennekes EV charge point connector which can deliver the 10-12 kW supply needed however a standard household 13 Amp socket at 230V can only deliver 3Kw.

    • eveee

      Yes. They mention the NEMA 14-50, a really powerful socket normally only found for things like welders, hot tubs, and other heavy duty stuff. Thats close to the largest amperage NEMA plug there is.

      • BigWu

        My home, built in the late 90s, came stock with 240V NEMA 14-30 and 14-50 outlets good for 7.2 kW and 12 kW peak respectively (5.7 kW and 9.6 KW at a safe 80% draw).

        IOW, I think their claim is valid since they did specify NEMA 14-50 and while not ubiquitous they are standard in many regions of the US.

        More common is the 14-30, a typical clothes dryer outlet found in garages. That would fully charge the Zero SR from empty in a tad over two hours (good for up to 161 miles of city riding), or about 70 city miles of charge per hour.

        • eveee

          Thats right, and good for you. Tesla asked NEMA to make a higher rating, and they did, as I recall, but you will be hard pressed to find it in many homes.

  • Kraylin

    How many of these bikes have they sold and what is their sales projection for 2016?

  • Joe Viocoe

    Amazing how Tesla created the brand name of Supercharger, that has now become the facto standard name based on empty-to-full time, rather than power levels.

    This is a Level 2 AC charger, and has nothing to do with the immensely powerful 135 KW DC Tesla Supercharger.

    • Foersom

      Supercharger is a rather generic term, that had other meanings before Tesla started to use it. Supercharger is also the word for an air-compressor for combustion engines, like a form of a turbo-charger. Super-charger is also a standard in 3G telecommunication. There is many use of the term super-charging.

      • Joe Viocoe

        I know, that’s why I was surprised to see it adopted for another EV charger.

  • Martin

    And the cost for that would be? Even a guess would be nice.

    • BigWu

      $1988 USD per their website.

      • Martin

        Thank you.

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