This story shows what passion, good engineering and design can achieve.
ZEV ELECTRIC, the USA manufacturer of electric 2 and 3 wheeled vehicles based in WV, passed its 10th year of operation milestone May 2016. The company was started in a two car garage on the concept of creating a line of electric 2 wheel vehicles based around a motor patterned the after the large electric motors used in the Japanese Bullet trains. This motor would fit inside the rear wheel, have no moving parts, free up space inside the vehicle, with a very large diameter, and therefore very high efficiency and high torque.
Largest model line of any electric vehicle company
Now 10 years later, ZEV has the largest model line of any electric vehicle company in the world for on the highway legal vehicles with 2 models of motorcycle, 19 models of motor scooter, 2 models of passenger trike, and 5 models of utility vehicles. Prices start at $2800. The top current models offer range of up to 140 miles at 55 mph highway and cruising speeds to 80 mph. Sales are in 24 country with six new dealers in two additional country to open this year. Most of the company’s sales are exported out of the USA to country where two wheel vehicles are more of the main transportation mode for the country. The new passenger trike models are expected to reverse that trend. www.zelectricvehicle.com
Family has been in the power and vehicle business for over 300 years.
The motor in wheel concept came from Darus H Zehrbach, a railroad man well experienced with diesel electric train engines, who died in the first year of operation. The company was subsequently grown first by the son, Darus H Zehrbach II, and now by the grandson, Darus H Zehrbach the III to continue the growth into the future. The family has been in the power and vehicle business for over 300 years. The family name, in a time when a man named Mason meant he worked as a stone mason, came from “taking power from a river (bach)” as the master engineers built hydro powerplants. As the age of steam began, the family moved into manufacturing the huge Corliss stationary steam engines, and then to the railroads, first designing and building steam engines, and then building and maintaining the new diesels and electric trains. With this history, the move to electric vehicles was an easy one.
This year ZEV demonstrated the superiority of its in wheel motor vehicle design by the performance of its 140 mile range, 80 mph flagship, the LRC in the 2016 Vetter Challenge. The Vetter Challenge, created by industry icon Craig Vetter emphasizes fuel efficiency and streamlining as a way to get that efficiency. In the July 10, 2016 Challenge, ZEV’s efficiency when using a dead stock, 5 year old production model was only 2% less than a one off, streamliner, purpose built to win the Challenge and up to 30% better than other competitors in the electric riders group. . http://www.schultzengineering.us/events/v-chall-16/v-chall-16.htm http://www.schultzengineering.us/events/v-chall-16/v-chall-2016.pdf This 30% efficiency advantage has allowed ZEV to run smaller battery packs than competitors to yield vehicle prices 25-30% less than competitors getting similar or less performance.
300 and 400 mile range motorcycle
ZEV has promised to its customer base that it will this year launch a 170 mile range bike and follow it with a 300 and 400 mile range motorcycle in late 2017 or early 2018, again using the special in wheel motor design that has served the company so well.
ZEV is very unusual in the current world of electric vehicles as it has been truly home grown without any of the massive millions upon millions of investor money raised by other electric bike companies started in the last ten years. Most of those companies such as Brammo, Mission Motors, Vectrix have gone bankrupt, or failed to actually get into real serial production, even with up to $130 million in investor cash. Others, while staying in business, are bleeding cash losses every year while ZEV continues on without such problems. With 10 years of operation achieved, record setting efficiency proven, the largest model line in the world already developed, and a list of new models in prototype, ZEV is well positioned for the ever developing electric vehicle market.