Tony O'Kane | Nov 1, 2010

The electric motorcycle is certainly not a new concept, but it's a segment that has been slow to catch on in Australia. That changes this week however, with the local launch of the road-legal Zero S and Zero DS electric motorycles.

Maximum range is listed at 80km - perhaps not enough for a day-long jaunt from home to the hills and back again, but plenty for the average urban commuter.

Still, if you do aim to make a day of it, less than four hours on the integrated charger should see you back on your way.

Don't think it's some asthmatic electro-scooter, either. Australian power figures are unavailable, but US specifications list 23kW and 84.6Nm - roughly on par or slightly greater than some 250cc petrol bikes when it comes to output, but with the sort of torque offered with much bigger bikes.

It's a good deal lighter than many 250cc bikes also, weighing in at 122kg - compared to the 162kg weight of the new Honda CBR250R.

It should also be a doddle to operate too, thanks to its clutchless one-speed gearbox. Top speed is a tad limited however, topping out at 110km/h.



Zero Motorcycles Australia lists both the Zero S and DS - which offers bigger wheels, off-road tyres and longer fork travel up front - at $12,990 (manufacturer's list price, on-roads not included).

Buyers in Victoria benefit from free registration.

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