A few weeks ago Sean MacDonald over at Lanesplitter wrote about the idiocy (or idiocracy?) of big Harley’s being used as Police bikes. It basically came down to poor performance when compared to other viable options. One bike that was tested in the group, also fairing pretty poorly was the Zero DSP ZF. Despite the poor numbers on paper, the Electric bike is growing in popularity for police and security fleets. It’s abysmal acceleration and top speed aside; the bikes have some great benefits for law enforcement.
You likely won’t see Highway Patrol turning to Zero for their high-speed chases anytime soon, but in the city and high foot traffic areas it does not get much better than the Zero DSP.
It is hard to say what the initial capital cost of a Zero fleet is vs. that of Harley or BMW, although it’s worth noting that Electra Glides are expensive bikes, retailing well north of 25 grand. A company like Harley could be offering public service pricing at unthinkable discounts, cashing in on quantity and future maintenance and repairs. If you ever wondered why most of the Ministry and Municipal fleets in Canada are white Chevy trucks, it is because GM sells them for disgustingly low costs to governments and private sectors with large fleet programs. Zero is likely not in the position to take such an approach considering the size of their company vs. “the big boys”. But as any bike owner or car enthusiast knows, it’s not just the initial purchase price that matters. The cost of owning a Zero vs. a traditional police bike is considerable over the life of the vehicle. Wear parts like brake pads, drive belts and tires need replacement, but no oil changes, air filters, spark plugs, timing belts…… and oh yeah, no gas. Governments of all levels are constantly trying to do more with less. This is the nature of the public sector and electric police bikes are a great way to meet this goal.
Have you ever ridden a supermoto? When you get on one, something bad happens. That small screw in your head, the one that attaches your Commonsense Module to your Actions Control Unit…. that falls out. Shortly after getting on you are popping wheelies onto sidewalks and terrorizing the general public. Well if a cop were to see this on a Zero, they have a fighting chance to follow you and stop you from being a complete ass. What I am getting at is these bikes are extremely maneuverable. Hell you might even be able to catch kids riding dirtbikes on walking trails. Try taking an Electra Glide through tight alleyways, lanesplitting in a downtown core, or into an area holding a large event and you may end up waddling along with both feet on the ground being passed by your coworkers riding bicycles. On top of that, in an urban setting, range limitation presents no issues for a typical day on the beat.
Private security firms patrolling large facilities and warehouses rely on some pretty dorky modes of transportation. A golf cart is one thing, but these poor souls are actually forced to ride Segways for crying-out-loud. Not only is a Zero capable of riding indoors, should the need arise to move outside, they can ride right out the door and continue to be a useful tool. Maybe these guys would have thought twice about this robbery if they knew there were security bikes onsite? Well maybe not in this case; these guys seem pretty nuts:
The Zero produces minimal noise so you could actually pull up beside someone and there is a good chance of them being completely unaware.
Gas fleets contribute to the huge emissions our vehicles produce; but times they are a changing. Just look at what Ford will be doing over the next 4-5 years (link). Government plays a key role for the future development and promotion of EVs. A major part of that is developing policies to push manufactures to innovate, encourage the public to purchase, and provide incentives in some cases to stimulate the sector. Another great way for the government to achieve these goals is to simply lead by example. Purchasing electric vehicles for law enforcement when possible is a huge contribution to the inevitable move to a more sustainable society.
Are Electric Bikes the future for police and security? What about cars, do you laugh hysterically at the idea of Prius police car? How about a Chevy Volt ghost car hot in pursuit?
Photos by Zero Motorcycles