Zero Motorcycles Grant for Advanced Electric Vehicle Powertrain Development and Pilot Manufacturing in California
Zero Motorcycles will develop a motor and integrated controller specifically for use in small electric vehicles — including motorcycles, neighborhood electric vehicles, and all-terrain vehicles. The electric vehicle company based in Santa Cruz will also design a cost-effective, scalable manufacturing process that should allow them to produce the powertrains for less than $450 each.
Over the term of the project, Zero Motorcycles will benchmark currently available motors ranging from three to ten kilowatts to provide baseline performance requirements for the new design, then develop a proof of concept motor and controller that exceeds those benchmarks, manufacture and test prototypes, and manufacture 30 powertrains on the pilot line.
Zero Motorcycles, based in Santa Cruz, has a 15,000 square foot facility in Scott’s Valley that employs more than 50 people. The motor and integrated controller will be used in future Zero Motorcycle’s products. The facility housing the development, testing, prototyping, and pilot manufacturing equipment will be located in the City of Santa Cruz, and is designed to be carbon neutral and sustainable through the use of on-site solar generation, certified green power, and water conservation.
The project team will provide match funding of $938,000 in cash and in-kind contributions, with the City of Santa Cruz contributing $415,000 in loans and assistance.
Zero Motorcycles is an electric motorcycle manufacturer founded in 2006 that sells its products internationally.
The City of Santa Cruz will assist with permitting and also is contributing $415,000 in loans, advising services, infrastructure improvements, and an Owner’s Participation Agreement.
The state grant boosts manufacturing jobs in Santa Cruz County, which had an unemployment rate of 15 percent in early 2010. The new project is expected to create 12 jobs, with additional hiring expected if the more efficient design performs as expected and manufacturing scales up. Each powertrain that replaces a traditional gasoline-powered motorcycle engine will cut greenhouse gas emissions by 72 percent, gasoline use by 70 gallons per year and tailpipe emissions by 100 percent.
Grant Agreement Number: ARV-10-013