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Zero Bike Bug Out Vehicle

February 15, 2014

As the Southeast USA gets pummeled by those pesky global warming record winter snowstorms, for the second time in as many weeks, it’s time to ponder things while scribbling notes by candle light, bundled up in layers and keeping warm by the auxiliary heat source. Nah, actually I’m quite comfy this time, as last time, while all this weather chaos is going down.

As a prepper, I tend to view things from that point of view, no matter what the subject or idea. So, as interesting things show up, I have an open mind as to their usefulness to me, as a prepper. Any vehicle that’s dependable, economical as possible for it’s purpose, and capable within it’s design ‘could be’ used as a bug out vehicle (BOV). In my book and other blog posts, I’ve talked about the typical idea most folks have for a BOV, usually a 4 wheel drive truck or Jeep, all good there. Except for the fuel issue. Every BOV has to have fuel, the weak link common to all, other than maintenance break downs. Many preppers prefer Diesel BOV’s because they will take vegetable oil as an alternate fuel, depending on the vintage of the machine. And some have taken the time, trouble and construction skills and make their own ‘biodiesel’ apparatus to refine and recycle found used fry cooker oil and other stuff. Good for them, but what of folks without such admirable skills?

How about an electric power BOV?  100% electric, no petroleum fuel required? Aw, man, you’re saying, if the grid is down, your screwed with the rest of the world. Yep, you’re right….unless you have a solar power backup generator. It can already keep your bug out location supplied with power, be it where you are now or where you want to be after the SHTF, it can also power your electric alternative transportation.

Most electric vehicles are hybrids, all still needing fuel, no matter how far it can stretch a gallon of gas. Few are total electric, and those are limited in production numbers and very expensive. And most wouldn’t be worth much on anything worse than a typical dirt road out in the boonies. So, what am I leading up to with all this suspense?

2013-zero-xl electric motorcycle

2013-zero-xl electric motorcycle

TA-DA! At last, here’s the idea….a 100% electric, fully capable, long range (compared to many other electric 2 wheel transportation), powerful, fast (near or up to 100 miles per hour for most models) dead quiet, off road capable (depending on model),  almost no maintenance, made in the USA motorcycle.

OK, granted, this is ‘solo’ transportation, so getting a family outta Dodge in a hurry is not an option here, BUT for what it is, I think it has some highly valuable points:

* For scattered family members who intend / need to get to a central family planned Bug    Out Location (BOL) it would be an option, up to 171 miles of surface street travel with an optional ‘power tank’ extra battery in the Zero S or SR models.

* For a scout ahead point man in a short run supply caravan, it would be quiet and highly maneuverable, an experienced rider can turn this 400 pound machine around and wind up the insane torque of this thing to get out of a surprise bad situation very fast.

* In the ‘dirt bike’ version, it can keep up with the best typical noisy as ‘ell gas powered dirt bike without alerting every hostile within a mile that you’re in the woods.

(video link to dirt bike version)

* It can be recharged by plugging into any 110v outlet, no special government approved ‘charging station’ required nor funky adapters or special equipment at your home, so where ever the grid is working or if your solar powered generator is available, you’re good for more power. Adapters for those stations are available, however.

* It has ‘regenerative braking’, so wise use of downhill opportunities or planning ahead when you see you have to come to a stop can be advantageous to extending your range. Which is more valuable in a situation, time or distance?  You can get there fast, at expressway speeds, but that will kill your travel distance to around 70 miles, or you can ease back and extend your range.

* There are saddlebag cargo carrying options available, so between those and a decent backpack, some search and scrounge missions are certainly possible, finding food and medicine items that would fit such carriers is easy enough. The machine is rated to carry over 350 pounds. Solo missions are possible, but likely more hazardous than in pairs or a caravan type expedition.

I explained in my book “Surviving Urban Crisis” that, in my opinion, motorcycles have a very useful role in survival situations, but with the criteria, again in my opinion, the virtues of QUIET and maneuverability over as much terrain as possible are top criteria for best use, so a roaring Harley, cool as they are or a screaming rice rocket, despite it’s 150 mile per hour capability are not my ‘best choice’.

It’s main negative is that it is not expected to be a long trip machine on the expressway, in spite of the fact that it can keep up with that speed level, but only for about 70 miles or so. So, is it the ‘perfect BOV’? Nope, no such thing, no matter what you pick as a BOV, there’s always negative factors. Weigh them and decide for yourself. Zero isn’t the only electric motorcycle out there, but as far as I’ve seen, they have the widest range of models. But, if you find something else that fits your needs, by all means go for it.

Information for this article was provided by Zero motorcycle’s web page and other sources on the net. I have no affiliation with Zero, nor do I own one of their bikes….yet.

Zero motorcycles facebook page

Now, if only you could find a Diesel fueled motorcycle at a dealer somewhere……wonder what that would be like?

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