Is the 2011 Zero DS finally ready for public consumption?

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A certain smugness is unavoidable. Let the less enlightened suckle up to evil Big Oil’s fuel pumps while you glide silently by on your Zero DS, its battery pack brimming with electrons from an overnight charge that cost all of 48 pennies. Not for you the tyranny of $4.29 per gallon gasoline. Best to practice a little humility, though, as you’ll see those gas guzzlers again 25 miles down the road when the Zero is running out of juice and they all go sailing by while you scrounge for an electrical outlet — and a good book to read for the next four hours that it will take to fully recharge the batteries. Hey, nobody said being an early adopter was easy work.

More on the Zero’s range — or lack thereof — in a minute, but first the good stuff. Unlike Zero’s initial offerings which were more mountain bike than motorcycle, the just-introduced 2011 S and DS models are full-size and freeway-legal at 300 pounds with a claimed top speed of 67 mph. Build quality and attention to detail are first-rate; these are not toys. Check out the stout perimeter-style aluminum frame that wraps itself around the battery pack. Likewise the twin-beamed alloy swingarm. Both nicely done and seemingly over-engineered for the job at hand. More niceties in the red-anodized aluminum rims, the steel-braided brake lines and — cool touch — Zero’s logo seemingly floating in the translucent handgrips. A lot of effort went into these bikes.

In an effort to up the DS’s commuter appeal, Zero offers optional windshield ($100) and soft bags ($350).

HFL borrowed the DS model for a couple of weeks. This is the dual-purpose version, with raised front fender, block-tread tires and longer-travel suspension than the street-only Zero S — 9.4 in. front vs. 5.5; 7.7 in. rear vs. 5.9. Seat height also takes a hike, from the S’s manageable 32.8 in. to the DS’s 35.8, not quite at the nosebleed lever of current motocrossers but awkward for anybody under 5 foot 9. Zero has an optional 2-in. lower seat, though shorter riders should just opt for the S-model or Zero’s XU “Urban Crosser,” based on the company’s X trail bike. It’s not like the DS is a real dirtbike, anyway. Soft throttle response “off idle” means the bike is uneasy in loose sand or over technical rock sections, plus without a clutch to fan it’s almost impossible to aviate the front wheel over obstacles. Hard-packed dirt roads are well within the DS’s mission statement; for anything more serious Zero has the X and the MX dedicated electric dirtbikes.

Back on asphalt there’s very little to complain about. The tall seat height means there’s plenty of legroom with a natural knee bend. Seat padding could be more cushy, but (see above) it’s not like you’ll be in the saddle for extended stints. Thanks to that beefy frame and firmly calibrated suspension settings, the DS feels “of a piece” and can be tossed aggressively into corners with no chassis windup and good feedback. Brake feel through those braided lines to the Hayes calipers is immediate and direct. Again, Zero has done their homework here with lots of testing, and it shows.

Final drive is by a thin reinforced rubber belt that runs silent and never needs adjustment.

As noted, throttle (rheostat?) response has been programmed so that initial take off is gradual rather than a disconcertingly hard hit of torque. Within a few feet, though, the DS is picking up speed briskly and you’re ahead of all but the most determined cars. Zero claims a maximum range of 58 miles per full charge, with an estimated EPA urban range of 43 miles. Well, maybe if the rider weighs 100 pounds, lives on flat land and never gooses the twistgrip… We found that 25-30 miles was a more realistic range, and one flat-out freeway run at an indicated 75 mph (the speedo’s a trifle optimistic) has us bailing off an exit ramp with an ominously flashing fuel gauge at 22 miles — we got another 4 miles at city-street speeds before the batteries went flat.

So the $10,495 question is, would you part with that much cash for a vehicle that is in essence tethered to a 15-mile umbilical cord — at least if you want to there and back on one charge — even in the face of impending $5 per gallon gasoline? To be fair, that cost can be trimmed. First, the S model goes for $9995, and buyers of either bike are eligible for a one-time 10% federal tax credit on the purchase price. Various states also reward the purchase of electric vehicles. In California, the state chips in with a $900 rebate, so the effective price of an S after federal and state incentives would be $8095. Colorado is by far the most generous; there an S effectively costs just $5107.

Mile High discounts notwithstanding, even $8K is a lot of money to fork over for the privilege of thumbing your nose at OPEC, especially when a new 125cc scooter powered by a hoary old internal-combustion engine can be had for thousands fewer dollars (Honda’s PCX goes for $3399, Yamaha’s Zuma 125 for $3250). Sportier-minded types who like shifting can have a Kawasaki Ninja 250 or the new Honda CBR250R for $4000, and still get up to 50 mpg.

But dollars and cents alone are not the only reason people seek out all-electric vehicles. There’s the whole zero-emissions factor — sidestepping the criticism from some that electric vehicles are actually “coal-powered” in that most of the U.S.’s electrical powerplants are coal-fired. Our couple of weeks with the DS were peppered with questions and enthusiasm about the bike’s Greenness. Even an illegal toot on a nearby hiking trail (electric power or no, it’s still a motorized vehicle) was met with thumbs-up from joggers and dog-walkers, more than a few wanting to know what’s-it-cost and where-can-I-get-one?

Refueling is just a 110-volt household outlet away. Optional quick charger ($500) drops recharge time from 4 hours to 2. Zero says the lithium-ion power pack is good for at least 70,000 miles.

Tapping into that environmentally conscious curiosity has so far been left to small companies like Vectrix (now defunct), Brammo and Zero, who deserve credit for being e-bike pathfinders. In the past, major bike-makers have rolled out electric, fuel-cell or hybrid concepts with great fanfare and glossy presskits — then done bupkis to bring that technology to market. Yes, battery life needs to improve and purchase price has to come down, but electric bikes represent something sorely missing in today’s motorcycle marketplace: a potential growth area and a way of getting more people on two wheels. Max respect to Zero for doing something about it while others sit on the sidelines and watch.

  • Ben Incarnate

    This is a far more optimistic tone than Motorcycle Consumer News’ editorial this month. I approve.

    • Wes Siler

      You have to see these as the first iterations of a new technology. The first cell phones were bricks. The first laptops were phone books people used to carry for exercise. Should you buy one instead of a Tiger 800? No. Are they getting better and should we be excited for their potential? Absofuckinglutely.

      • Ben Incarnate

        Oh hell, Wes. I approve of this comment, too.

        It’s fun to be this interested in what’s to come a few minutes after contemplating trading in my transformers bike for a GT1000. If I could get $8k on trade and the OTD price to $10k… ah, dreaming.

      • Xenophya

        Hmmmmm the difference is those technologies offered early adopters something new and a practical advantage. Yes the first mobiles (cell phones to you chaps in the colonies) were heavy, unwieldy and expensive but they did offer the user the ability to talk to clients on the go. The first laptops were big but they let you do business away from the office, and that’s the point there was a tangible advantage to the new technology. It was prohibitively expensive for most and hand’t fulfilled it’s full potential but it was already a step forward. Even the internal combustion engine only caught on once it could provide more power than a horse in a smaller package than a steam engine. The EV doesn’t yet do this, the inconvenient truth (to coin a phrase) is that at the moment it doesn’t offer a practical advantage to the end user. I am sure the day will come but only when the technology supersedes the incumbent technology. To my mind we shouldn’t make excuses, subsidise and pretend.

        • Brammofan

          “the inconvenient truth (to coin a phrase) is that at the moment it doesn’t offer a practical advantage to the end user.”
          Practical advantages to me:
          1. No gas.
          2. Minimal maintenance.
          3. “Refuel” in my garage, for a fraction of the cost of gas.
          4. Treehugger wife approves.
          5. Reduces my carbon footprint.

          “To my mind we shouldn’t make excuses, subsidise and pretend.” Re: “we shouldn’t subsidise…” Railroads, petroleum industry, agriculture, automobile industry, etc… the list of transportation-related subsidies is long and historic. Why get cheap now, when the stakes are so high?

          • fasterfaster

            I was almost ready to agree with Xenophya, but Brammofan, that is very very well-put. The bike isn’t yet for everybody, but it certainly offers practical advantages for SOME people.

            • Xenophya

              Chaps i’m playing devils advocate here a bit, but here goes.

              1. No gas…. Well maybe but still burning fossil fuels electricity doesn’t come from nowhere
              2. Minimal maintenance…. Perhaps but we don’t yet really know how long the batteries will last.
              3. Refuel in my garage at a fraction of the cost… gotta be doing some serious millage to get back the purchase cost differential on an economical scooter or small capacity commuter.
              4. Perhaps
              5. The carbon foot print for most motorcycles in the west really is minimal. It’s like the nonsense of banning 2-strokes in the US. Really what impact can these leisure vehicles, used mostly at the weekends, truly have in the grand scheme of things. Our neighbour has a GS which comes out about 5 times a year, my mobile phone has a bigger carbon footprint. (I do concede that this is not true for 2-t vehicles in large highly populated far eastern cities where the irradiation of oil burners has had a tangible benefit).

              I do accept brammofan that for you personally this bike might meet a need but to me it seems a bit unfair to complain about MCN writing a negative article (i know that wasn’t you but that was what prompted me to post) about a product which in a like for like comparison doesn’t meet their test criteria.

              • Xenophya

                On top of that if you really want to reduce your carbon footprint don’t buy a new bike, keep an old one going.

              • protomech

                1 & 5. The carbon footprint for an electric bike powered off the national average grid is similar to a 125-250cc bike, but the particulate emissions are a couple orders of magnitude better. Motorcycle emissions are a pretty sorry state, even on those bikes equipped with catalytic converters. You also have the option of “fueling” an EV from renewable/low-carbon resources (solar, wind), though this comes at considerable expense.

                2. True. Time will tell here. ICE technology is very mature and battery manufacturers are happy to list lab-tested specs.

                3. The better savings is time/convenience. When used for commuter duty, I have to fill my GS500 about once a week (~5-10 minutes). Fueling an EV adds a few seconds to the prep / teardown process for each ride. Balance this against potential range anxiety.

                • Xenophya

                  Sorry protomech I don’t get your last point? How is charging an EV ( or swapping batteries over for that matter) quicker than filling up a tank of petrol? Or have I misunderstood?

                  Your answer to points 1&5 is true particulate emissions are higher which is why I said in large far eastern cities where PTW usage is huge steps like the banning of 2-strokes makes sense but it doesn’t really address my my point about usage in the west where most motorcycles (certainly larger capacity categories) are essentially being sold as much as a toys as a pieces of transportation. The contribution the average that spend the week sat in a garage makes to emissions really is negligible. To my mind the motorcycle industry in the west has far bigger issues to deal with such as how to we attract new riders.

                  As I said previously this might be the right product for some people but I was prompted to post because MCN’s article was getting criticised for being negative and my point was they were in all fairness simply reporting the shortcomings of this product.

                • Brammofan

                  (Can’t reply to Xenophya’s post below… wonder if the commenting system only allows a certain number of replies to replies)
                  It takes me 7 seconds (I timed it) to plug in my bike and begin the starting procedure at the end of a ride. Because I know my range and the fact that my commute is well within that range, I really don’t have “range anxiety.” Do I wish I could go on a long weekend ride sometimes? Yes. Such is life. But it’s still pretty nice to wake up every morning to a bike with a full “tank” and to know that it cost me about 30 cents to fill it.

                  Also, back up there ^ a few messages, you indicated that “Well maybe but still burning fossil fuels electricity doesn’t come from nowhere.” This is true. But as protomech pointed out, I do have the ability to recharge using renewable resources. Even if I don’t want to make the investment to install these on my property, many electric utilities give you the option of paying a premium for electricity sourced from renewable resources. (Not mine, yet).

                  Additionally, because U.S. coal-fired plants are required to carbon-capture, the amount of CO2 released per mile of my bike is much less than that from a 250cc bike.

                  Finally, if you’re going to account for the coal-fired plant that powers my bike, let’s account for the pumping, refining, storage, transportation, etc., that it takes to get the raw petroleum from the well and turn it into miles on the odometer of a gas bike.

                • Ben Incarnate

                  @Brammofan – there’s a limit to replies as the continual indents would eventually make for a reply that appears as one word (or even letter) per line. It might be best to just get in a habit of remembering to start off comments with who you’re responding to.

                  That’s especially helpful for the comments RSS feed.

    • Ian

      I’m considering canceling my subscription to MCN over that editorial. It seems so blatantly negative, that I question the editor’s motives. This sort of innovation and risk taking deserves support.

      • Ben Incarnate

        Actually, Ian, I personally wouldn’t cancel over that. I re-read both the editorial and the separate write-up on the Zero DS and I can’t say it’s quite as negative as I thought it was. Perception is a funny thing like that, isn’t it?

        The editorial itself was a breakdown of a best-guess “cost per mile” for operating the Zero DS versus a Suzuki DR200S. The conclusion reads, “While battery and electric motor capabilities will surely improve and gasoline prices may rise even higher to change these equations over time, currently the economic advantage is still with the gasoline-powered motorcycle. Interesting…”

        The evaluation article commented on how optimistic conversations were with observers. The rider commented on the short range, like David did here, and the response was, “Well, they’ve got to start somewhere.” That’s a great sign and caused the author to challenge his negativity. That’s followed by a large paragraph about the bright future of Zero.

        I suppose the issue is that of approach. The model evaluation, in particular, came at the Zero DS as if it were a regular bike and ended up looking pretty negative on those grounds. But it did close out on a higher note of, “This will get better.”

        Also, it was more of a “Pro, con, Pro, con, pro” format instead of “Pro, pro, con, con, pro.”

        Really, the articles largely say the same things in a different arrangement, with a bit more sunshine in Mr. Edwards life. I suppose that’s something we could all use.

        • Ian

          The cost per mile was a completely contrived example, comparing new technology to entry level old tech and pointing out how old tech beats it. You can’t just wipe that kind of negative, damaging tone away with “… but it will get better”.

          The tone for HFL articles seem to be more forward thinking and optimistic. Look at the series on Cleveland Cycle Works. Reading those articles made me subscribe, since I saw a very optimistic opinion, without the Kool-Aid stains around the mouth.

          The world is going electric, and I for one welcome our new electron based overlords…

          • Ben Incarnate

            I don’t think the point was to prove that old tech is superior. Instead, it reads as doing the math on the common assumption: an electric bike will cost less to own, versus a performance-comparable old tech bike, over the long run because of the lower maintenance and fuel savings.

            I agree, though, that I like the more optimistic tone here.

      • fasterfaster

        Link to the editorial, or is it only out in print right now?

        • Ben Incarnate

          It’s only in print, far as I know.

  • Tony

    Do you know if the range could be upgraded in the future?

    • Gingerbeard

      I don’t know if they sell (I doubt it) or plan to sell (wouldn’t expect it) range upgrades but the battery pack should be easy to swap if they make a higher energy density version in the same form factor (some models are even designed for swapping the battery without any other disassembly). Not sure if they would need controller modification/replacement to replace those side bags with battery packs (I think this is what the Brammo Enertia Plus does) but that would be another way to extend the range.

      • Brammofan

        The Enertia Plus does not have battery packs in the side bags. When it comes out, it will look similar to the Enertia, but with about double the range, due to batteries with higher energy density.

        Also, the ability to “upgrade range” is proving to be as difficult as, say, bolting on an additional cylinder or two on an I.C.E. bike. The Enertia was intended to be upgradeable this way but it turns out that upgrading the batteries requires upgrading many other major components of the bike.

        • Tony

          I think a better comparison would be replacing the gas tank on an ICE-motivated bike with a larger tank.

          Regardless, replacing what could be the most expensive part of the bike wouldn’t be a smart move. It would make more sense if the charging controller were integral to the battery pack. Retail markup on a battery pack would probably push the replacement up to the cost of a new bike.

          I had this fantasy of upgrading to new battery tech as energy density improvements were made, thus preventing the issue of overloading the original components. This magical future battery tech advancement wouldn’t mean more weight on the frame, either, so brakes and suspension components could remain stock.

          I’m betting there will be a good battery aftermarket for these bikes in the next five years or so.

    • Гена

      Upgraded with what? Unlike CPUs and hard drives, the progress on battery capacities is slow to non-existent. Will you shell out some major $ for 10 or 20% improvement?

      • protomech

        In recent years battery tech has been improving about 7% per year ($/kwh, kg/kwh).

        Supposing this trend holds, in 5 to 7 years you’ll need to replace the batteries anyways. Today’s $4000 26-mile (HFL’s range) pack is 2018′s $2500 41-mile pack.

  • Erok

    I was talking with a local dealer who had these in, they do also offer a 2 hr quick charger.
    I also asked if they have been selling and the response was “Well we have a number of leads,” which I guess is positive.

    • mcfaite

      That’s a terrible pun.

  • Brammofan

    I think the California rebate program ran out of money this month.

    It may get more money later, but for now, nada.
    Good solid review, by the way.

  • Ray

    Thank you for spelling bupkis right, Dave. I have only seen it spelled buttkiss, virtually everywhere. You demonstrate your yiddishisms authoritatively.

    • David Edwards

      Hey, when it comes to Yiddish I am no shlemiel…

  • Kerry

    It has always confused me as to why the plug in hybrid concept is not more fully embraced by those who are looking to make an eco friendly motorcycle. You don’t need the performance of….say…..a chevy volt, whose gas generator can keep the car running for as long as the fuel tank holds out, but if you could use a small single cylinder efficient generator (maybe diesel?) to boost the range to 50 or 75 miles per charge. Well, then you have a motorcycle people can actually use.

    25 miles is useless. I couldn’t even justify something like that as my commute into Manhattan is 13.7 miles each way.

    • Ben Incarnate

      Agreed. 25 miles is too short for me to even consider as a pure commute vehicle for the same reason. I’m about 12 miles out and I can’t say I’d be comfortable hoping that I don’t need the extra mile. Or that range doesn’t decrease over time.

      I’m just impatient. I want to jump ahead a few years and bring back a truly competitive electric bike.

      • Steven

        plug in at work. offer to give your company a dollar a day.

      • pinkyracer

        you don’t park anywhere near an electrical outlet at work? I always parked in a garage in NYC and they had outlets. You could ride to work, charge up, ride home. my gas bike drives me nuts, I park it at night with a nearly empty tank, go back out the next day (running late, as usual) and that damn tank is STILL empty, 8 hours later! If it were electric, I wouldn’t have to waste an extra 5-10 minutes stopping for gas. It won’t be long before I have an electric bike…

        • Kerry

          Nope. I ride either the 1977 GS 750 or the Ducati Sport 1000 to work. Park on the street at all day free and legal street parking miles from an outlet (but free). I am religious about clocking my gas mileage so I rarely put anything away with an empty tank and there are about 5 gas stations between where I park at night (rented garage no power) and work.

          I am a typical NYC’er, Apartment living, extra paid for parking (that may or may not have power – 50/50 shot) and work in a large office building in midtown. None of that is feasible for an electric bike which requires an outlet. Now that I think about it most of the bikes in my neighborhood are either parked out on the street or in the courtyards outdoors in my neighborhood so I am lucky to have indoor parking. It is a shame that the one city most ideal for electric transport (large city in a very small concentrated area) is the one least friendly to facilitating the charging process.

          By the way, you can always fill up the night before so you don’t have to worry about running late in the morning and stopping for gas. If you forget to charge the electric bike the night before, or the power goes out in the middle of the night, I doubt you can suddenly fill up the batteries in 5 minutes like I can fill up the tank on the GS.

        • Ben Incarnate

          Our work garage doesn’t have outlets. But hell, we’re getting kicked out to a different building next year, so who knows how that will pan out.

  • Gene

    This could get me to work, if I had a battery there to swap out. There’s nowhere near the parking area to stretch a cord. Work is 13 miles away, and I’d have range to go somewhere for lunch & dinner.

  • skadamo

    I wonder if the price game is really worth it at this point. Maybe they should add a few thousand to the price and increase the energy density or size of the battery pack.

    This way they can give the “money is no object” eco minded folks a bike that will go the distance they need. Or is this segment tapped out?

    Would love to hear Zero’s thoughts on this.

  • Johndo

    Looks pretty cool. If it could last 100 miles per charge, Id consider one as a 2nd bike for city riding.

    • fasterfaster

      100 miles is ~a 10kWh battery or 2.5X what’s in that zero. Even cheap batteries will cost the MFG about $6,000 for that much capacity or $10,000 at retail, before you’ve even paid for the remainder of the motorcycle. That’s also between 150-200 lbs in battery. The Brammo Empulse 10.0 is supposed to have that much, with announced pricing of $14,000 – this is actually spectacularly cheap for what is stuffed in there. Even then, the question is… would you pay for it?

  • David Edwards

    The lack of electric “refeuling” points is a concern, much like car drivers and bike riders in the Teens having to seek out hardware stores that carried gasoline in tins.

    Simply plugging in at work isn’t always the answer either. When I tested the Vectrix scooter a few years ago at Cycle World, I arrived at the office and recharged from an exterior outlet that also happened to be wired into the 40-year-old building’s kitchen circuit. When someone went to nuke a breakfast burrito, it blew the line and resulted in a $400 electrician’s bill.

  • T Diver

    how much does it weigh? Can one do wheelies on it?

    • David Edwards

      The claim is 297 pounds. Wheelies not in its bag of tricks–at least not without a ramp and an almighty heave on the handlebars…

      • Kerry

        the other zero bikes can wheelie, what does this give up that the other models have?

  • Kerry

    Spotted external outlets under plexi covers in front of the lipstick building this morning. 1 per tree, I presume, for Christmas lights in the winter. They were over the property line in public space. I went to lift one of the covers and a rather pissed off security guard ran out to question me. I tried to explain I was looking for an outlet to charge my electric bike and he looked confused and told me to jog on (my phrase not his more graphic one). Something tells me owning and charging an electric bikes going to require the determination and ethos of a punk rocker from the 1970′s.

    A new movement, the electric bike terrorist! Stealing pennies worth of power from the man!

    • Ben Incarnate

      Damn the man, Kerry, DAMN THE MAN!

  • cynic

    I go 27 miles each way to work, and I could charge it at work, but $10k for bike that I could only use for commuting, and not for weekend jaunts…

    I’m intrigued, but not sold.

  • Paul B

    They need to make a bike cover out of solar cells.

    • David Edwards

      Or an entire scooter body, maybe with deployable auxilary wind turbines?

      One thing is for sure, if EVs every become commonplace, the electrical grid will need to be upgraded. Imagine legions of commuters returning home late afternoon, all plugging in at the same time during, say, a summer heat wave when household ACs are already running full-blast?

  • Richard

    While I applaud the progress and innovation, I think the biggest hurdle that EV’s are going to face is the inability to intantly recharge. And thats a big hurdle. Say what you will about riding to your destination and charging, but unless these bikes get to a point where they have a 200+ mile range (or can recharge instantly and reliably), they will never be fully accepted or integrated into the mainstream. I think its safe to say the motorcycle culture in the US (Versus Europe or Asia) is more of a recreational culture. we ride our bikes for fun, and lets face it, that requires a bike that can handle an entire day (or mulitiple days) or constant riding. Right now, thats impossible on the current crop of EVs. I guess my point is, while I think there is a future for EVs, I dont think its the only future. Is it something to get excited about? Yes. Are EVs the end-all and be-all? No.

    I know this is a multifacetted (<Understatement of the year) discussion that could rage on and on for pretty much ever, but I would be getting much more excited about a motorcycle running on a small Diesel engine that could burn anything from BioDiesel to fryer oil. But thats just me. I think the future lies in multiple transportation technologies and infrastructures. Each one of them idealy suited for a specific purpose. I dont think electric will ever be the one and only way to go but at the same time foreign oil will need to be replaced with something.

    I dont know the answer but I just wish people would look in more directions than just electric. But for now I'll just keep riding my loud, effecient, totally entertaining ICE motorcycle.

  • Mark

    I’ve been riding a electric bike for two years (for real) and in New York traffic there is no comparison.
    No heat in my face when stopped, I don’t worry about overheating, no worn out clutch hand.
    You couldn’t get me on a vibrating noise maker, radiator fan turn on at a light blowing heat in my face burn my leg on pipes gas burner. Around town I’m wearing shorts in the summer, not leather down to my ankles.

    Instead I can ride in comfort, yes i like comfort in a light weight bike with real motorcycle tires that can take a turn and not fall into the potholes around here. My bike is built using the EnerTrac 600 series motor (yes I own EnerTrac Corp.) it has enough power to put a smile on my face. truth be told I’d be in a cage if it wasn’t for my E-Motorcycle. Now you can say all you want about power and range but if its a battle to ride, most won’t bother. I don’t warm it up (EFI only comes on more costly bikes). EnerTrac does custom E motorcycles so only your budget determines the range, up to about 200 miles.

    Sure if I’m going upstate I’ll take the gas burner but otherwise it sits

    • Kerry

      I am curious, What is your route for your daily commute? EnerTrac is on Long Island, correct? not the same as Manhattan in many ways – traffic can be worse, but you are literally guaranteed a charging spot when you get to work because a) in Farmingdale your building likely has a parking lot with an external outlet, and b) it is your building and a shop you can just roll it inside and charge it there. If I lived on Long Island the e-bike would make a lot more sense provided I lived close enough, but then again if I lived on Long Island commuting with the car makes sense as well.