Charging at Tsawwassen Mills with a J1772 adapter
I sometimes take my motorcycle aboard my sailboat (see e.g.
2008 vacation), which involves
taking it up and down a ramp. I also occasionally transport it in a pickup truck.
After some discussion on forums, asking Zero support, and talking to a couple of mechanics,
I decided to fit a left-hand brake acting on the rear wheel. Zero in fact makes a parking brake
as an option, but it's expensive and as far as I can tell it's a lock, not a normal brake.
Then I realized that I did, in fact, occasionally want to use the foot pedal - when
stopped to use my phone or GPS. So I thought I would combine the two, with a dual banjo bolt.
Having stolen the original rear brake hose to connect the left-hand lever, I had another hose
made up with the requisite fittings. Bleeding the system did not go well - I realized that
the upper cylinder was leaking out through the lower cylinder hose.
To solve the problem of having no parking brake (cannot put the motor "in gear"), I made a sprag from a length of steel rod. If I insert that through the rear forks between the wheel spokes, it stops the wheel turning.
The battery story
I bought the base model FXS with one modular battery. That's enough to commute to work and back, charging overnight. I'd been thinking all along of buying a second battery at some point, to double the range, but they're not cheap. Without the second battery, there's a big hole in the frame. I thought that looked a bit stupid, so I made a battery-shaped box out of fibreboard and duct tape and painted it black. That's it in the photo, behind the real battery with the reflective stripe. I used it for storage, for e.g. a USB charger cable.
According to Zero's website, the bike should go at full speed with just the one battery, but with slightly reduced power. In practice, I found that as the battery discharged below some 40%, it would start to limit the speed. When I installed the Zero app on my phone and downloaded the system logs (3rd-party decoder online), I found some entries "current limiting" that corresponded to these slowdowns. So I bought the second battery a bit earlier than I might have otherwise. No more slowdowns - they were really a bit embarassing, on the highway returning home.
I also bought a fast charger at the same time; two batteries would clearly take twice as long to charge. From what I'd read, I'd expected it to install inside the bike. In actuality, it's a large external unit that plugs into a fast charge connector on the bike that I never even realized existed - it's hidden beneath a rubber dam on the right-hand side, underneath the motor. As it turns out, you can charge with the built-in charger and the external one simultaneously, for about a 3x speed-up over just the internal one. For normal use, it's much too much trouble. It takes a bit over 3 hours to recharge from my commute with the built-in charger, and of course it still takes a bit over 3 hours with two batteries because I'm still riding the same distance. Even charging from dead would take less than my nominal 8 hours of daily sleeping time.
The bike comes with a regular 110V power cord, stowed in the rear fork pivot. That's fine for charging at home, or from ad-hoc outlets, but most EV charging stations use J1772 connectors. I bought an adapter online; it has internal circuitry to trigger the EVSE relay so it's slightly more complex than just a plug and socket. It's visible in the photo. Since buying the fast charger, I added a Y cable and another 110V socket so if I keep the charger in the top-box, I can charge at 3x speed on the road.
An internal combustion engine is inefficient, and produces little torque,
at low RPM. So a normal motorcycle has a gearbox, to match the
engine RPM to road speed. It also means that the bike is most fuel-efficient
at higher speeds where it is in a high gear and the engine is
operating at an efficient RPM. The fuel economy curve looks something like this:
An electric motor is equally efficient at all speeds, so the
efficiency curve is dominated by aerodynamic drag. The drag coefficient
of a rider on a motorcycle (no fairing, not crouched over the tank)
is much worse than that of a car, so the effect is quite pronounced.