6,800-Mile, 22-Day Electric Motorcycle Road Trip

How many people reading this right now have dreamt of dropping everything and just up and taking a roadtrip across North America at the drop of a hat? How many of those thoughts have involved a motorcycle? How many of those have involved an electric motorcycle?

This is all starting to sound pretty good, right? Those now considering such a trip may want to give a read to an article written by Ben Rich and published over on Green Car Reports detailing his recent trip across the United States, Mexico, and Canada — totaling around 6,800 miles traveled in 22 days. It’s really quite an interesting read. Here’s a video series on it, too:

The massive trip in question was done atop a 2014 Zero SR — featuring a 14.2-kWh (kilowatt-hour) battery pack, and 6.3 kW fast charging. Total trip costs apparently totaled only $300 (including lodging), with charging accounting for only $52.69 in associated costs for the full 6,821 mile trip, impressively.

Those interested in reading the full article can find it here. If not, here are some of the parts that stuck out the most to me:

I was able to ride the entire Skyline Drive on one charge (130 miles), rode the entire Blue Ridge Parkway (500 miles), and the entire Natchez Trace Parkway (441 miles).

Most of my charging stops near cities were at Nissan, BMW or Ford dealerships which meant I often had to walk about a mile to a “nearby” restaurant for meals. While riding between major cities in the Midwest, Texas or across Pennsylvania on Route 80 I had to go to RV Parks. With an adapter I am able to use their 50-Amp outlets to charge my bike.

Riding down Skyline Drive is incredible and being able to do the whole thing on one charge was exhilarating! The road travels atop the Shenandoah mountains in western Virginia and you are surrounded by nature the entire way. The Blue Ridge Parkway is also wonderful, but it travels alongside farmland and small towns for parts of it. My favorite stretches were from Asheville to Cherokee, North Carolina, and from Waynesboro to Roanoke, Virginia. Those are the most nature-filled stretches of road. The stretch from Asheville to Cherokee goes through the Pisgah National Forest and is loaded with switchbacks and tight curves that are a dream to ride on!

After riding the fantastic Blue Ridge Parkway I traveled to Charleston, then to Florida along I-95. To conserve energy I traveled at 60mph even when the speed limit was 65 or 70mph. This was not fun, particularly when trucks traveled past. Then I spend several days traveling to San Antonio, Texas, along I-10. This also was less than enjoyable.

Dealerships are getting used to seeing vehicles come to their location to charge. Two years ago there were more dealers who would turn away vehicles that they hadn’t sold, but now there are very few. In fact, almost every car dealership greeted me enthusiastically and offered to help me charge my motorcycle. At two dealerships the owner even offered me to drive a car to get some food while my bike was charging!

Leaving Nashville, I got caught in a rainstorm that knocked one of my external chargers out of commission for much of the day causing my arrival in Columbus to be delayed by several hours. A 12-hour riding day turned into a 16-hour riding day and I got to my friends’ house around 1 am.

When I arrived in Cleveland, one of the pins in my onboard charger melted into my charging cord and became dislodged from my motorcycle. This was a concern for the next week and a half of riding, but the onboard charger continued to function normally and I just had to keep putting the pin back into its normal position.

There’s a lot more than this, though! So those interested should check out the link posted above.

 

James Ayre

's background is predominantly in geopolitics and history, but he has an obsessive interest in pretty much everything. After an early life spent in the Imperial Free City of Dortmund, James followed the river Ruhr to Cofbuokheim, where he attended the University of Astnide. And where he also briefly considered entering the coal mining business. He currently writes for a living, on a broad variety of subjects, ranging from science, to politics, to military history, to renewable energy. You can follow his work on Google+.