This Zero DS is the first bike from the California-based company to enter service with a police department. Zero’s local department in Scotts Valley just accepted delivery of a single DS, which will be used for local patrol and traffic enforcement duties. Electric motorcycles like this one make near-perfect urban police vehicles due to their silent operation, friendly image and ease of use.

This Zero DS is the first bike from the California-based company to enter service with a police department. Zero’s local department in Scotts Valley just accepted delivery of a single DS, which will be used for local patrol and traffic enforcement duties. Electric motorcycles like this one make near-perfect urban police vehicles due to their silent operation, friendly image and ease of use.

“Riding a police motorcycle requires a very special skill set because the officer needs to be alert and keep the public safe, while simultaneously scanning the area for criminal activity,” stated Lt John Hohmann of the Scotts Valley Police Department. “We anticipate that the upright seating position, dual sport configuration and silent operation of the Zero DS is the perfect combination for local patrols and we can’t wait to put it to the test.



“It will allow our officers to patrol more places, more often,” Lt Hohmann continued. That right there is what makes electrics so appealing as police bikes. Possessing performance in urban environments that surpasses that of traditional police cruisers like the ubiquitous Harley-Davidsons or even modern machinery like the Kawasaki Concours 14, bikes like the Zero DS can perform the roles traditionally reserved for motorcycles and those of mountain bikes.





Photo: Grant Ray



When we rode the Zero DS last March, we were impressed with its strong acceleration above 10mph and found it to be exceptionally maneuverable at low speed since it only weighs 277lbs. Despite a top speed that sounds quite low at 67mph, we were able to aggressively split heavy freeway traffic moving at a constant 50-60mph with ease. That manueverability and traffic busting is aided by the DS’s upright, dual-sport riding position which places the rider’s head far off the ground and equips him with wide bars and exceptionally fast steering. The only problem? The 35-inch seat height was a stretch for my 6” 2” frame, that’s largely offset by the very light weight though.



Because of their silent operation and maneuverability, electric bikes like this one possess the psychological footprint of a mountain bike, meaning they can be used for crowd control or to patrol pedestrian areas like outdoor malls. They’re also ideal vehicles for moving rapidly through urban traffic, but are also capable off-road. Possessing the ability to operate so well in those three environments is what makes electric bikes like the DS such good police vehicles. Local patrol duties are also a good use case for electrics as they’re unlikely to require more than the DS’s 50-mile range. Extremely ow operating costs should also appeal to cash-strapped police departments.



Jay Friedland, Zero’s VP of Sustainability sees another advantage, “The silent operation of the Zero DS allows each officer to hear what’s going on around them, which enhances awareness and safety. We hope this opportunity serves as the touchstone for other law enforcement agencies to see the benefits electric motorcycles have when it comes to community patrols and traffic enforcement.”

We've previously written about the advantages of electric motorcycles as police bikes and reviewed the Zero DS.