Electric Motorcycle Tour: Three Countries, 6,800 Miles, 22 Days

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Traveling by electric vehicles has come a long way in the past three years. 

Every summer since 2013, I have taken a long-distance road trip on an electric motorcycle, each time traveling a greater distance. 

This summer I set my sights on riding a Zero SR from my home in New Jersey to Mexico and Canada.

DON'T MISS: Electric Motorcycle Ride From Mexico To Canada: My Summer Road Trip

Here are some highlights--but, first, a brief history.

Electric Motorcycle Ride From Mexico To Canada: scenese from the road [photo: Ben Rich]

Electric Motorcycle Ride From Mexico To Canada: scenese from the road [photo: Ben Rich]

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In 2013, I traveled across the USA on my 2012 Zero S electric motorcycle from Charleston, South Carolina, to Google Headquarters in Mountain View, California.

I traveled with the Ride the Future Tour about 100 miles each day since we had a guy on an electric bicycle and we covered 4,500 miles. I charged up primarily at 120-Volt outlets and occasionally used Level 2 charging at 3 or 4.5 kilowatts.  

In 2014, I rode my 2012 Zero S on my own road trip visiting friends and riding parts of Skyline Drive, the Blue Ridge Parkway, the Natchez Trace Parkway and the entire Tail of the Dragon. 

On that journey I traveled 6,000 miles to from New Jersey to North Carolina, St. Louis, Chicago, then over to New Hampshire before returning home.  I could ride up to 80 miles at a time and could charge at 4.5kW.  

In 2015, I took a 2014 Zero SR on a 7,000-mile road trip that included Mexico and Canada. With a larger 14.2-kWh battery pack and the ability to charge at 6.3 kW, using a system made by Hollywood Electrics, my range and charging both increased. 

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).  

Car dealers and RV parks

Charging is the challenging part of traveling by electric vehicle.  I would like to charge at restaurants, beaches, or state parks however most charging stations are located at car dealerships.  

ALSO SEE: Electric Motorcycle Road Trip: What I Learned, What You Need To Know

Many Nissan dealerships have level 2 charging and some have CHAdeMO level 3 charging.  Oh, how I wish I could use CHAdeMO charging stations, but that’s another story. 

Quite a few BMW dealerships now have Level 2 charging thanks to the i3, and their chargers are networked via Chargepoint.  Some Ford dealers have charging station and a few VW dealers are starting to get them as well.  

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.  

Electric Motorcycle Ride From Mexico To Canada: scenese from the road [photo: Ben Rich]

Electric Motorcycle Ride From Mexico To Canada: scenese from the road [photo: Ben Rich]

Enlarge Photo

The fun rides

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!


 
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