13 years ago, when former NASA engineer Neal Saiki was plugging away in a garage in Santa Cruz, California, he had a single goal in mind: to engineer the “next step” in motorcycle evolution. He wanted to combine “the best aspects of a traditional motorcycle with today’s most advanced technology,” making bikes that are “lightweight, efficient, fast off the line and fun to ride” — without destroying the earth.
The result is Zero Motorcycles, a rapidly growing company that produces high performance electric motorcycles. The bikes use the company’s ‘Z-Force’ electric powertrain, and according to the company, because the bike is powered by the electrical grid, which is becoming more efficient each year, the bikes will become “more energy efficient and cleaner with age.”
“For those who truly aspire to absolute energy independence or eliminating emissions, it is even possible to power a Zero using completely renewable energy sources,” the website reads.
The company and Saiki’s vision have been handled by CEO Sam Paschel since 2017.
“Three years ago when I took the job, the automobile market had just hit a place where it had a sense of inevitability in the transition to electric,” Paschel told Forbes. “And [electric] motorcycles felt more like a niche. But today, electric motorcycles have that same sense of inevitability.
“We’re seeing a lot more investments in infrastructure and that’s a leading indicator of demand. We’re on a ramp that’ll continue in the same way the car industry has progressed.”
Paschel is confident that Zero can continue to lead the way, even as giants of the biking industry including Ducati and H-D enter the electric motorcycle market. He said Zero has a very mature operating system, and that there is a “very steep learning curve” for any companies entering the market — even those with lots of resources and experience in constructing motorcycles.
Before Zero, Paschel worked in senior positions at electronics company Skullcandy, most recently as Chief Commercial Officer, and at Burton Snowboards as Senior Vice President of Marketing and Strategic Business Director.
Paschel holds degrees in engineering and mechanical engineering from Swarthmore College.Tags: Electric vehicle, motorcycles, USA, Zero Motorcycles