There and back again, an electric tale.

The question on everybody’s lips when the topic of electric motorcycles (and any other vehicles) is brought up is “what’s the range?” People equate range with value. Even if they only commute for 30 or 40 miles every day, the bigger the range number, the better it looks.   

We get it. Even though you likely don’t have use of 130-140 miles of range on the daily, you like to know that you have it “just in case” you feel adventurous. The problem is, however, that there tend to be discrepancies between the manufacturer’s optimistic range numbers and the range you will achieve in real life. Not so much that they’re trying to make their product look better but mainly because road and weather conditions can have a significant impact on the range.   

That’s where reviewers and owners willing to share their experience come in handy. That’s exactly what YouTuber Sam Baker did on his channel New Zeroland. He owns a 2015 Zero SR and recently added a 2020 Energica Ego to his mini fleet of electric bikes. He decided to compare how both perform range-wise on a 67-mile course through the city, on the highway, and in the mountains (for a good variety of roads). Don't watch unless you can handle distances in metric units.  

With a friend in the saddle of the Zero and himself on the Energica, along with a friend on a Triumph Speed Triple—because weekend ride, everyone’s welcome. He came to a few interesting conclusions.   

First, the Zero ended the trip with 26 percent charge left while the Energica was at 17 percent. Weirdly, however, the bikes didn’t measure the trip to be the same distance. Their loop ended up being 68 miles (rather than the initial 67) because they took a little detour to ride along the waterfront and avoid city traffic which added roughly a mile to the journey.

The Energica showed the correct distance, however, the Zero’s odometer showed they had traveled for almost 70 miles. He thinks the difference could be caused by the position of the sensor, which, he says, is in the rear wheel on the Energica and near the engine in the Zero. The only other possible explanation he could come up with is that he changed the tires on the Zero which potentially affected the reading. Either way, that's a weird occurrence. 

Zero SR Range
Zero SR
Energica Ego Range
Energica Ego

Interestingly, Sam noticed that while the Zero is more efficient at low speed (uses less energy), the Energica actually becomes more efficient at highway speed thanks to its aerodynamics.   
The results aren’t scientific but they’re interesting, especially since he was able to measure the power usage at different speeds, which isn’t a piece of data we consider very often.

Ultimately, based on his test, the Zero ended its 69.5-mile loop having used 74 percent of the battery while the Energica used 83 percent of its battery on 68 miles. Clearly, the Zero has the overall advantage. That being said, if you're a highway regular, you might find the Energica more efficient.