Electric Motorcycle Ride From Mexico To Canada: My Summer Road Trip

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Summertime is upon us: barbecues, beaches ... and electric-vehicle road trips! 

As electric cars and motorcycles gain popularity, more and more people can venture farther afield thanks to expanded recharging options.  

Cross-country road trips in Tesla Model S sedans are now commonplace, courtesy of Tesla's Supercharger network. 

DON'T MISS: Electric Motorcycle Road Trip: What I Learned, What You Need To Know

Drivers even travel hundreds of miles in Nissan Leafs, thanks to a growing network of CHAdeMO DC fast-charging stations. 

However, my favorite mode of summer travel is riding an electric motorcycle--and I'm leaving today for my longest trip yet.

I plan to ride my new 2014 Zero SR from my home near New York City down to Mexico, then up to Canada later this summer.

White Marsh Park-and-Ride near Baltimore has plenty of Chargepoint charging stations [Ben Rich]

White Marsh Park-and-Ride near Baltimore has plenty of Chargepoint charging stations [Ben Rich]

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This type of trip requires special equipment and planning, but I've done it before on my 2012 Zero S.

Two summers ago, I was only the second person to ride an electric motorcycle across the country, during the Ride the Future Tour. 

Last summer, I traveled 5,500 miles through the East Coast and Midwest.

ALSO SEE: 2015 Electric Motorcycles: Buyer's Guide

My route took me from New York to the mountains of North Carolina, to St. Louis and then Chicago, and finally to New Hampshire.

The setup

This past winter, I traded in the trusty 2012 Zero S for a 2014 Zero SR with a "power tank" that boosts the range considerably.

The charging system is upgraded from 5 to 6.3 kilowatts. Now I can travel farther on one charge, and recharge at a faster rate. 

2014 Zero SR electric motorcycle

2014 Zero SR electric motorcycle

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The bike has both its onboard charger (1.3 kW of power) and two Elcon 2.5-kW chargers from Hollywood Electrics.

Each Elcon is about the size of a shoe box and weighs 15 pounds. They have to be mounted to side racks on the rear of the bike, which cuts down on what I can pack.

The top rack holds a case that's my only luggage, besides a backpack, so there isn’t much room for fancy clothes.

Gathering of electric motorcycle riders [photo via author Ben Rich]

Gathering of electric motorcycle riders [photo via author Ben Rich]

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I'll be visiting friends, so there isn’t much need for special outfits. 

The ride

My goals for the ride include (1) getting into Mexico; (2) riding Skyline Drive in the Shenandoah Mountains, the Blue Ridge Parkway, and the Natchez Trace Parkway; and (3) visiting friends and family.

One of the main reasons I’d like to get to Mexico is because I’m competitive by nature--and my good friend Terry Hershner hasn't managed to get into the country yet. He rode from Canada to the Mexican border, but I actually plan to gain entry.  

Terry Hershner competing in 2014 Vetter Challenge for motorcycle with lowest energy cost

Terry Hershner competing in 2014 Vetter Challenge for motorcycle with lowest energy cost

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I've traveled through more states than Terry, in part because I live on the East Coast, where states are smaller, but I've also traveled on some epic road trips.

He even joined me for the last part of my cross-country journey and has always been a kindred spirit. 

But I still want to beat him to Mexico.


 
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