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No room for vroom with electric motorcycle


Lightly logoThe Zero scores well with electrical engineer

Matt MacKenzie’s shiny new motorcycle receives admiring glances from motorists waiting next to him at Wenatchee stoplights.

But they do a double-take when the light turns green and MacKenzie zooms off — in complete silence.

Photo of Matt MacKenzie

Matt MacKenzie uses his electric motorcycle mostly to get to and from work, but the bike can be driven off-road as well.

MacKenzie, an electrical engineer for Chelan County PUD, drives an all-electric Zero DS. The motorcycle has an in-city range of 120 miles before it needs a charge; the highway range is 76. MacKenzie drives mostly to his job at Rock Island Dam but he’s taken it on the highway where it’s rated for a maximum speed of 95 mph.

Not that he’d ever go that fast, of course.

MacKenzie said the $15,000 motorbike has plenty of power and can be driven off-road as well as on city streets. It’s said to be comparable to a 500 CC gas-powered bike.

He said Zero’s 2014 model, which he purchased in Lynnwood in May, sports several improvements over the 2010 model he owns  including regenerative braking/motor deceleration, improved motor, Bluetooth capability and higher battery capacity.

It takes up to seven hours to recharge a drained battery using a 110-volt connection, but generally the battery never gets that low, he said.

Photo of Zero DSBecause it’s an all-electric vehicle, MacKenzie is eligible for a federal tax credit.

Zero oil – good. Zero gas – great. But zero noise? Friends have wondered if no noise could be a safety hazard, but MacKenzie said he has learned to ride the motorcycle more defensively.

Motorists: Please watch out for Matt on his cool, quiet motorbike.

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