There is currently no distance record for electric motorcycle journeys recorded by Guinness World Records, but there will be soon and Terry Hershner will own it. The Florida resident set off for the Long Beach International Motorcycle Show in California with the dual purpose of attending the event and setting a world record. He appears to have accomplished both.
While most journeys begin with a single step, Terry began his epic expedition on the 21st of November with a 1,000-mile detour down to Miami for a Thanksgiving visit, his Zero S electric motorcycle loaded above the gunnels with all the imaginable gear one might need on this kind of adventure. Camping equipment? Check. Assorted electrical outlet adaptors? Check. Emergency stuck-in-the-middle-of-the-desert solar panel and spare battery pack? Double checkeroni.
As you may be able to tell from the photo above, his steed is not stock. Purchased last April, Terry started hacking his ride almost immediately and those changes, which include the addition of no less than four on-board chargers and a J1772 plug, have significantly increased its road-tripping capability. With the help of a fifth charger that he carries in a backpack he can fill the ZF9 battery (about 7.7 nominal kWhs) in about an hour given an outlet with enough juice. His improvised tailstock extension also helped increase the real estate available to accommodate all his stuff.
Not only is this bike good for going far, it's also good for going fast, should the need arise. With the addition of a 660 amp controller – which also increases its regenerative-braking abilities – this Zero S can top 100 miles per hour. In fact, this is the very same Zero S that his friend Jeremiah Johnson rode to a 4th-place finish at the 2012 TTXGP World Championship. Normally, one would think this kind of speed counter-productive for a long-distance trip, but during a phone interview, Terry told AutoblogGreen that it was really helpful in certain parts of Texas where the 85 mph signage seems to suggest a minimum speed to drivers, rather than the maximum.
This is the very same Zero S that had a 4th-place finish at the 2012 TTXGP World Championship.
Speaking of the Lone Star state, the record bid was going amazingly well until our pioneering protagonist reached its western hinterlands. Relying on several different EV charging station locator apps, he had been covering about 500 miles on most days. Sure, there was that one time when the bike had to be pushed for a mile after coming up a smidge short while attempting a particularly lengthy stretch between electricity sources, and another instance when reuniting a lost dog with its owner cost Terry a few hours, but these were minor setbacks compared to what was coming.
After covering 3,100 miles, the effort hit a brick wall. Or, more accurately, a locked gate with a sign indicating no thru traffic and the mention of satellite-monitored video/audio surveillance. You see, while the different apps listed a series of Chargepoint stations necessary to bridge the gap to Arizona, they failed to mention they were not accessible to the public.
After covering 3,100 miles, the effort hit a brick wall.
Unable to proceed, Terry called in
Yep, that's right, he plans on riding the same bike back across the country. That is, after a slight detour that will see him shooting up north to San Francisco and include a stop at Zero Motorcycles headquarters, where engineers plan on giving his bike a good going over and discuss development of the 2014 models with him.
You can follow Terry's progress, ask questions or just cheer him on over at the Off The Grid Facebook page. We look forward to seeing what official number he finally puts up and suspect it will stand for some time. Until then, godspeed Mr. Hershner.