Friday, November 15, 2013

Terry Hershner sets off on new cross-country record setting attempt - San Diego to Florida in under 3 days

Terry Hershner's modified Zero S,
in Craig Vetter's shop
Terry Hershner has taken a 2012 Zero S - the same one which Jeremiah Johnson rode in the 2012 TTXGP World Final at Daytona Beach (see the video at the end of an article I wrote on him) - and modified it beyond belief to support nearly 200 miles on a charge, and a sub-1-hour charging time.  He's about to set off on another of his cross-country trips, looking to ride from San Diego to Florida in under three days.

Out of the box, the 2012 Zero S had about 60 miles range at highway speed and took 8 hours for a full recharge.

With his bike, Terry Hershner has criss-crossed the country this year demonstrating that the combination of 150 miles electric range and fast charging means the freedom to ride/drive "anywhere". 

The last couple months he's been working on further refinements with the intent to make another cross-country trip that will secure the record time for a cross country electric motorcycle trip.  Currently the record is held by our friends with Moto Electra, Brian Richardson, Thad Wolff, and crew.  Terry is looking to make the trip this time in about 2 1/2 days, but any trip under three days duration will snag the record.

How does it work?

The key is the charging system.  The bike is carrying, uh, IIRC it's 18 kilowatt-hours of battery pack, but it might be "only" 15 kilowatt-hours.  Stock, the Zero S ZF9 had 9 kilowatt-hours.  To charge that in under an hour means 18 kilowatts or more of charging capacity.  Terry has lashed a bunch of Elcon 2500 PFC chargers to the bike, enough to get 18 kilowatts -- if he can find sufficient charging stations or power outlets. 

Another part of the system is a bag full of power adapters.  The one shown here converts a J1772 plug into a NEMA 14-50 outlet, which Terry then converts further to connect with the chargers. 

His system lets him use multiple J1772 charging stations simultaneously.  Each typical J1772 charging station supports 6ish kilowatts, and by connecting to three stations simultaneously adds up to 18ish kilowatts.  If he can't find charging stations, laundromats typically have NEMA 14-50 outlets, plenty of electrical capacity, and he's become adept at talking laundromat owners into letting him charge his bike.

Another key is aerodynamics.  Terry has had the good fortune to meet Craig Vetter, a legendary motorcycle designer who has been developing motorcycle fairings for 50 years or so. 

Over the last year they've set up a full fairing for his Zero S - the idea being to make the most use of the energy carried on the bike.  They estimate that half of the range extension comes from Terry having installed a larger battery pack on the bike - 18 kilowatt-hours versus 9 - and that the other half comes from aerodynamics.

Vetter told me that one test of his fairing involved two Ninja 250's being ridden side-by-side, at the same speed, in the same air conditions.  One bike had his fairing while the other didn't.  The Ninja 250 with the fairing had something like twice the fuel efficiency of the one that didn't.

We believe that electric bikes need this much more than gas bikes do, because of limited energy storage.

For most of the year Terry had ridden with a fairing that ended in a blunt end.  That's the wooden bulkhead you see in the picture above.  What they did over the last two-ish months is to design, fabricate, and install the tail section shown above.  Adding the tail improves air flow and increases efficiency even more.  The technology used is amazingly simple, just an aluminum frame with a simple skin, but it makes huge energy efficiency improvements.

Craig Vetter overseeing installation of the tail

Testing the ride
Unlike his previous trips, this time Terry will have a passenger.  His friend Bun Bun will be riding behind him, helping him stay awake.  She's the one wearing the second helmet in the picture below.

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