Zero Motorcycles has kept itself incredibly busy lately. In Europe, it teamed up with Reneos to work on the very important problem of battery recycling. Zero also teamed up with Exro, a Canadian company, to develop an “advanced coil drive” powertrain. Venturing outside motorcycles, the California-based electric manufacturer also joined up with Polaris to electrify all kinds of powersports machines through 2030.
In 2021, though, it seems that Zero is thinking even bigger. How big? We're apparently talking about electric bucket trucks, folks. On March 16, 2021, Zero officially announced that it’s teaming up with Viatec, a South Carolina-based company that works on electrification solutions for vocational vehicles/heavy trucks. Under the 10-year agreement, Viatec will incorporate Zero powertrains into its flagship product, called SmartPTO.
SmartPTO systems are modular, scalable architectures for utilities companies, which manage the intricacies of electrifying vocational vehicle fleets. Viatec calls these “plug and work” systems, and says they can be installed and operational in less than two days. Hydraulic functions, power for necessary electrical equipment, and even power for the truck’s battery can all be supplied with SmartPTO.
According to Viatec, SmartPTO systems also allow fleet vehicle operators back at home base to keep track of various types of work-related data through their specialty telematics implementation. Fuel-cost savings and emissions reduction data are just some of the real-time information that operators can easily access.
Unsurprisingly, trucks using these systems should be seen rolling out in California first, although Viatec and Zero say they should expand to other markets soon. Simply plugging in SmartPTO-equipped vehicles overnight will ensure they have plenty of power to hit the road and get to work the next day, via both 120V and 240V power supplies, according to Viatec.
With this new partnership, it seems that Zero is expanding its electric powertrain footprint well outside the realm of electric motorcycles. There are a whole lot of vehicle types to electrify, and it seems like Zero may just be getting started.