“I never heard it coming.” That phrase could soon apply to the motorcycle cop that pulls you over for speeding.
The authorities have always valued stealth, and their unmarked cars will soon be joined by a new weapon, a nearly silent electric bike from Zero Motorcycles.
Originally known as Electricross, and founded by former NASA engineer Neal Saiki, Zero has been making electric dirt bikes and street bikes since 2006. It’s a potentially lucrative field as demand for 2-wheeled electric vehicles has been surging far faster than sales of battery-electric automobiles.
Now, Scotts Valley, California-based Zero is going after a new market by adding lights, sirens and the other accoutrements of the law enforcement trade to its big DS street bike line — and even adding a place to carry a shotgun.
“Police officers put their lives on the line every day to protect and serve, so our goal was to give them all the tools necessary to allow them to be successful. The resulting Zero DS Police Motorcycle opens up new patrolling possibilities,” said Zero’s fleet sales manager, Mark Cummings.
Zero claims to have already found several interested buyers as far afield as the Santa Cruz, California police department and London’s Metropolitan Police.
While the DS won’t be able to keep up with some of the so-called rice rockets now on the road, Zero claims it is quick enough for basic law enforcement duties, able to hit a top speed of 80 after stealthy “idling” at zero RPMs. Range is rated at between 70 to 112 miles per charge and the bike has the same regenerative braking capabilities of battery-electric automobiles like the Nissan Leaf.
The maker’s lithium-ion-powered bikes have been gaining in popularity – helped by a critical decision last year to start working with dealers around the country. Prior to that it had used a sort of grass-roots distribution system.
Electric bikes have become surprisingly popular, though demand is strongest in several overseas markets, notably including China.