Elec­tric bike firm boss reck­ons sales of non-petrol ma­chines are about to take off

US firm’s tech­nol­ogy chief says elec­tric bikes are about to take off

MCN - - CONTENTS -

Af­ter 15 years work­ing in the bike in­dus­try, it took just one ride on a Zero to con­vince Abe Aske­nazi elec­tric bikes are the fu­ture. In an ex­clu­sive in­ter­view with MCN, the firm’s Chief Tech­nol­ogy Of­fi­cer gives us the in­side line on Zero’s goals, the joy of elec­tric and why it’s time to make the change.

What’s the goal for Zero?

“To make the bike go away! If the bike just went away, and it was just you fly­ing along the road as if you’re in a dream... wouldn’t that be just per­fect? “With a bike you get a sense of the char­ac­ter; the vibes, the noise, the feel, so I used to think if you do away with that on elec­tric bike, won’t it be bland? No. When you ride elec­tric it’s like a veil has been pulled off.”

What op­por­tu­ni­ties does ditch­ing petrol of­fer?

“Many peo­ple think of mo­tor­cy­clists as rebels but we’re not re­ally, we’re very con­ser­va­tive. Any­thing that doesn’t look like a mo­tor­cy­cle tends to be dis­counted.

“Elec­tric pow­er­trains will get smaller while in­ter­nal com­bus­tion bikes will get heav­ier and more com­plex. So over time the de­sign op­por­tu­ni­ties get re­ally ex­cit­ing. A mo­tor­cy­cle will still be a mo­tor­cy­cle, but it’ll evolve into some­thing cleaner and more prac­ti­cal.”

How do you con­vince peo­ple to adopt now?

“We say ‘if it fits your usage case then now is the time’. For what many peo­ple use bikes for, ie short trips to work and quick jour­neys in the evening, the range is more than enough. Yes, we’ll con­tinue to evolve and bat­tery tech­nol­ogy will get bet­ter, but that stuff will be more like the ic­ing on the cake.”

What’s the stick­ing point for mass adop­tion?

“I think it’s peo­ple just know­ing about it. The more peo­ple we can get on elec­tric bikes, the faster peo­ple adopt. Most cus­tomers com­mute and ei­ther charge while at work or while sleep. Very few are us­ing pub­lic in­fra­struc­ture to charge. “Ev­ery month this year we’ve bro­ken sales records. We now sell more bikes than all our com­peti­tors com­bined. Next year re­ally feels like it’s the one where it will take off.”

‘For what many use bikes for the range is enough’

‘Mo­tor­cy­clists aren’t re­ally rebels’ ‘We’ve bro­ken sales records’

‘Next year feels like the one when it’ll hap­pen’ ZERO CTO, ABE ASKE­NAZI

Aske­nazi joined Zero af­ter 15 years at Buell

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