Good time to check on forecasts and predictions..
2. No, not really. The 550 amp controllers should make the S bikes accelerate much harder
- between 20% and 27% - than their 2016 counterparts.
3. No. Zero continues to stick with a little / big controller split to differentiate bikes. The new 775 amp controller will let the 2017 SR accelerate 14% faster than 2016.
4. Not even close.
5. Yes, mostly. Same motors and cells as last year. Gen 5 controllers are a nice upgrade, and firmware upgrades over Bluetooth are a big win for servicing.
6. Yes, thankfully.
7. Sort of - the ZF6.5 FX and FXS bikes dropped $500. Prices for the rest of the lineup remain static, though I expect there will be a mid-year price drop.
1. IPM motors across the board
Hopefully Zero has closed out of all their old stock motors and can fit the new motors to the FX and the 3 brick bikes. Reduces inventory from 5 different motors to 3. The new motor is more efficient = less heat, which improves sustained top speed from 80 to 85 mph, similar to the high-temp magnet motors in the pre-2016 SR. This is important because..
2. S / DS get a 660 amp controllers as standard
In volume, the Sevcon Size 6 doesn't cost much more than the Size 4 in the existing S / DS. Introducing the larger controller in the lower cost bike allows Zero to hide the effective price bump by eliminating their promotion pricing .. and sell it as a price-cut relative to the 2016 SR. Sure, the motor may not have high-temp magnets, but I suspect most riders that aren't ponying up for the top-spec bike will be delighted by the extra acceleration.
Fitting the 660 amp controller on the 3 brick bikes is possible in part because of the higher power cells used in the 2016 bike. 40 kW from the 2013/2014 ZF8.5 25 Ah cells was ~5.3C discharge; 50 kW from the 2016 ZF9.8 29 Ah cells is ~5.8C discharge. This seems reasonable given Farfle's praise.
A 3 brick bike is going to be significantly lighter than the 4 brick SR .. call it 3.5 seconds 0-60. Oddly it will weigh almost exactly the same as a 2013 4 brick S, due to small weight gains over the years. ABS, beefier frames, larger motor controllers, etc all add up.
Moving the Size 6 to the S / DS frees up the SR for ...
3. Dual 420 amp controllers for the SR / DSR
All-in power play. How does 75 kW / 100 hp sound? 50% jump in motor torque gives them a lot of room to play with gearing. Fitting the 98 tooth rear sprocket will significantly boost top speed, and the front sprocket gives them some room to play.
25 tooth front - 2.7s 0-60, 115 mph top speed
28 tooth front - 3.0s 0-60, 128 mph top speed
30 tooth front - 3.2s 0-60, 137 mph top speed
Bear in mind I'm calculating these from an assumption that the SR is really a 3.6s 0-60 bike, which has basically been borne out by virtually every instrumented test. Any of these options will improve on their 3.3s 0-60 claim without having to eat crow; I think they may favor the middle option, and perhaps call it "2.9s" 0-60 and "130" mph top speed.
Top speed isn't quite the same, but acceleration should be very similar to Energica Ego, at a much cheaper price. High-speed acceleration above 70 mph will be hugely better than existing SR .. like double or more.
4. SR gains a sport fairing
Sport bike riders want it. Zero can incorporate a ram duct or low pressure areas to force air over the motor, helping to cool it at low speeds. Particularly if doing the latter, perhaps they can also make a small aero improvement .. but probably styling concerns will keep any actual aero improvement minor at best. (I hope Zero proves me wrong..)
The fairing may well be optional. Call it $1000 premium over 2016.
5. Zero continues to use the same cells, motors, and controllers as last year
I'd love to see them bring even higher capacity cells from Farasis. Frankly, it's kind of crazy they went from 25 to 27 to 29 Ah in 3 years already. Maybe I'm wrong. I hope I'm wrong
Sevcon's Gen 5 appears to be initially targeting high voltage applications. I expect they will introduce a lower voltage Gen 5 eventually; however, they haven't publicly announced a LV Gen 5 and Zero apparently wasn't testing with anything secret at Refuel.
Motors as previously mentioned will standardize across the lineup. All IPM all the time.
6. ZF3.3 Power Tank
Again .. long past time. One common cell in all bikes / shipping battery products. Will be a very small improvement in Power Tank range - figure 2% or so, but that's enough to bump Zero over the perceptually important 200 mile mark in city range, and 100 miles of highway range.
7. Price cut for FX / FXS
Because the FX and FXS won't see any significant improvements this year, the promotion prices for 2016 get permanent.
2017 FX / FXS ZF3.3 $7845 - with the federal motorcycle credit, Zero's cheapest bike ever - 2012 XU and 2008-2009 X were $7.5k to $8k.
2017 FX / FXS ZF6.5 $10345 - $9995 sounds like a much more attractive price..
2017 S / DS ZF9.8 $10995 - holding the pricing line here, but new motor and controller at this price point are going to bring a lot of interest
2017 S / DS ZF13 $12995 - beefier controller and a $1000 price cut from 2016? most will walk in to check out the ZF9.8 and walk out with a ZF13. Maybe this moves to $13495 and the PT to $15995.
2017 S / DS ZF16.3 PT $15495 - still steep, but almost 50% more range than the $16k 2013 S ZF11.4
2017 SR / DSR ZF13 $15995 - again holding the 2016 pricing line, and a wider price gap for the R products vs the S / DS ZF13. Huge jump in performance makes this an easy sell for sport riders.
2017 SR / DSR ZF16.3 PT $18495 - quite pricey once you tick all the options .. still far cheaper than the Empulse TT, which now is not even remotely in the same performance ballpark
Who knows if Zero will do all or any of this.. seems a little crazy.