May 31-June 5: "Lone Rider" Terry Hershner crossed America on his Zero electric motorcycle in 5 3/4 days!
Hard riding from charging station to charging station
No other power. No backup riders. No support vehicles. All by himself.
He bought this bike. He made the modifications. He rode it. He repaired it.
This is an Epic Accomplishment in the annals of motorcycling
Terry left just after midnight 1:40 AM early Friday morning May 31, 2013
He arrived at 7:40 PM Wednesday evening June 5, 2013
2450 miles in 135 Hours (by my calculations)
How did he do it?
|Kraig Schultz, a Vetter Challenger from the midwest told me that Terry Hershner was riding an electric Zero from Florida to California and suggested that we meet. I chased Terry down in Santa Cruz early February of 2013 and we had lunch. I told him how a streamlined Ninja went twice as far as an un-streamlined Ninja on the same amount of gasoline. Would streamlining do the same thing for an electric bike? If so, it could be a serious game changer. We agreed that we would find out. |
Getting the equipment ready
I went to work finishing the tooling for my Challenge Streamlining while Terry went to work stuffing more batteries and chargers into his Zero. We were ready to combine our efforts in early March.
Two months later we had the first Streamlined Vetter parts on Terry's Zero:
Heading into the motorcycle record books
Chargers: By now, Terry had installed five big chargers and was on his way to LA to install two more. This would give him 18 kW of charging capacity.
Commercial charging stations typically have two 7 kW outlets. Filling with both at the same time was hardly enough to charge Terry's hot rod Zero. He had no choice but to resort to RV parks which can provide 50 amps of 240 v power. At this rate, it took about one hour and 15 minutes to fully charge his batteries.
Batteries: Terry had 4 total separate battery packs: The original 9 kwh pack and (3) separate 3 kwh packs. In total Terry had 216 total EIG "cells" or batteries working to store energy for the trip. Each of those 216 batteries are 20 Amp hours and 3.7 volts. Together they add up to 18 kwh at 66 volts.
Weight: The stock Zero weighed 350 pounds... 550 pounds with a rider. To this, Terry added a stout rear frame structure to carry the batteries and charcers of solid steel: approx 50 pounds. His 3 extra batteries were about 60 lbs each adding up to about 180 lbs. His 7 extra chargers weighed about 20 lbs each: 140 lbs.
Extra charging cords, (copper is heavy) adapters, circuit breakers and tools added up to 80 more pounds stored in the rear of the Streamlining. The streamlining added approx 35 pounds. Add in 185 pounds of Terry, with leather jacket, riding jeans, boots and helmet and gloves: Approx 200 pounds.
Figure just over 1000 pounds with Terry, ready to go.
How far before charges? On the freeways, Terry mostly ran between 75 and 80 mph. At those speeds, his on-board power would take him about 125 miles before he needed to be thinking about recharging. Using his iPhone, he would locate the next RV park. If he needed to, Terry could actually go 150-170 miles between charging.
The cost of his energy
Terry used 19 or 20 RV parks. Most of the parks owners were so thrilled at being a part of Terry's monumental cross-country ride that they gave him his energy for free. Two charged him the minimum "Tent" rate of $13. Terry did use two charge stations which provided "free" energy: A Walmart in Austin and a Whole Foods Store in Houston.
An accounting of the hours
All told, Terry spent 135 hours on the coast-to-coast ride from Santa Monica, California to Jacksonville, Florida. Pretty impressive. But consider the hours he lost due to unexpected delays:
Two freeway closures cost him 2 hours.
Arriving 2 hours after the RV park closed cost another 3 hours before they reopened and he could charge.
The biggest delay came when the set screw on his drive pulley backed off and destroyed his motor. Terry accepts responsibility for this. Ordering and replacing the motor cost 40 hours.
Tropical Storm Andrea, with sustained winds of 60mph, slowed Terry down some more as he approached Jacksonville.
Sounds like two days of delay to me...
In spite of the delays, all ended well at the pier in Jacksonville
|Right after arriving in Jacksonville, after his Record Setting California to Florida ride, Terry rode his electric Zero to Seattle, arriving just in time to depart for the Mexican border, taking 2nd place behind the TeslaTem. Terry Hershner does not sleep much.|
Updated July 29, 2023
Page posted June 11, 2013