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Every day, one can see that times are changing. Real-time communication is becoming easier and more convenient, Google put its first self-driven car on the road, and electric vehicles are gaining in popularity. California-based electric motorcycle company, Zero Motorcycles, is making headway in the North American and European market place. In 2014, the company broke a personal sales record, and predicts that 2015 will be even bigger– the company has been expanding into international markets with the addition of seven new distributors. Pic2 “Our business is headed in the right direction, and the market is starting to come to us. Recent announcements by some of the larger motorcycle manufacturers—and our own experience—confirms the movement toward electric power is building momentum,” said Scot Harden, VP of Global Marketing at Zero. “Every year our products improve, the market responds and our business grows.” So far, that is an impressive feat for an American company. READ MORE: SPIED: IS BMW Testing A 300cc Entry-Level Bike? | RideApart (Source: Zero Motorcycles) Source: Zero Motorcycles So, where exactly did Zero come from and how did they get to where they are today? To start, back in 2006, Former NASA engineer Neal Saiki started the company with the name Electricross. Its central location is in Scotts Valley, California: A prime location nestled on the outskirts of the Santa Cruz Mountains, which is known by motorcyclists to have the best twisty roads in all of the state. Zero began making a line of dirt bikes such as the X and the MX, and started producing street motorcycles, beginning with the S, in 2009. Now, Zero has four motorcycles in its production line: The S, the SR (its sporty street model), the DS (the dual-sport model) and the FX (it’s considered a street, dirt, and all-terrain motorcycle). Source: Zero Motorcycles Source: Zero Motorcycles Zero also has a strong market in its law enforcement and military models. Police officers have the choice of the Zero Patrol Fleet while the military has the Zero Military model, which looks a lot like their FX model (In my opinion, these seem like a smart choice for these individuals. Electric bikes are quiet so they can all of a sudden spring up on unsuspecting suspects!) READ MORE: Watch the 117 mph Guinness World Record Wheelie on Ice | RideApart Zero appears to be a big business running a relatively small operation. When one thinks of a company manufacturing motorcycles on location, an image of big, automated machinery probably pops into mind—perhaps something like a rigid assembly line putting the parts of a motorcycle together. This is not the case at Zero, which is a pleasant surprise. Each bike is made at its Scotts Valley location and is each part is handled by human hands at one point —everything from making sure each battery is fully functioning, putting in wiring harnesses, assembling the suspension, putting on fairings, etc. 5 What differentiates Zero from its competitors is that the company has always focused on perfecting its street motorcycles and it continues to do just that heading into 2015. As previously mentioned, Zero is expanding and growing rapidly, and this is the year it’s stepping up its game when it comes to building high performance electric motorcycles. The company did a big overhaul in features for this year. All 2015 models come with cast-alloy wheels with Pirelli tires, and are equipped with Bosch ABS brakes. Yes, that’s right: Stock ABS, which is a pretty nice feature to include. Another great feature is Zero’s upgrade to Showa suspension, which many sport bike manufacturers use as OEM equipment on their motorcycles. New models also got an improved user interface with better throttle response. Source: Zero Motorcycles Source: Zero Motorcycles The final significant upgrade is an important one when it comes to electric bikes. Previously, a Zero motorcycle was able to get an average range of around 100 miles with a full charge. Now, it appears that the Zero S provides an average range of around 185 miles in the city. The FX model uses modular power packs that allow a rider to add a second module to the power system that doubles the range. Another cool feature to these electric bikes is that a rider can charge them using any 110 volt wall outlet. For an additional cost, you can buy a quick charge system that will allow you to cut the charge time in half. Source: Zero Motorcycles Source: Zero Motorcycles The prices for the 2015 Zero models range from around $10,000 to around $20,000 depending on what features a rider wants. For those not very familiar with Zero or electric motorcycles in general, definitely check out their website for more information on specifics of the costs savings of owning an electric bike, and the retail costs of the bike actually isn’t so bad once you look at maintenance, gas, oil, valve adjustment, etc., one needs to do on a petrol powered moto. If after reading this you are now more curious to know what Zero’s 2015 offerings are like, check back soon for the review on the 2015 Zero SR model, which will go more into detail on features and specs. Additional photos by Greg Sharp and Laura Llovet for eBay Motors Blog. Read the original story here READ MORE: Introducing the Yamaha VMAX Carbon SE | RideApart
HOUSTON (AP) — A federal judge in South Texas has temporarily blocked President Barack Obama's executive action on immigration, giving a coalition of 26 states time to pursue a lawsuit that aims to permanently stop the orders. Related Stories Judge who blocked immigration action had criticized policy Associated Press Texas judge blocks Obama plan to protect undocumented immigrants Reuters A federal judge just put the brakes on Obama’s immigration actions Vox.com The Texas Lawsuit Challenging Obama's Immigration Executive Actions Will Be Thrown Out -- If the Judge Follows the Law Huffington Post Judge delays Obama immigration order AFP U.S. District Judge Andrew Hanen's decision late Monday puts on hold Obama's orders that could spare from deportation as many as five million people who are in the U.S. illegally. Hanen wrote in a memorandum accompanying his order that the lawsuit should go forward and that without a preliminary injunction the states would "suffer irreparable harm in this case." "The genie would be impossible to put back into the bottle," he wrote, adding that he agreed that legalizing the presence of millions of people is a "virtually irreversible" action. In a statement early Tuesday, the White House defended the executive orders issued in November as within the president's legal authority, saying the U.S. Supreme Court and Congress have said federal officials can establish priorities in enforcing immigration laws. "The district court's decision wrongly prevents these lawful, commonsense policies from taking effect and the Department of Justice has indicated that it will appeal that decision," the statement said. An appeal would be heard by the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in New Orleans. View gallery In this Feb. 4, 2015, file photo, President Barack … In this Feb. 4, 2015, file photo, President Barack Obama meets with a group of "Dreamers" in the Ova … The first of Obama's orders — to expand a program that protects young immigrants from deportation if they were brought to the U.S. illegally as children — was set to start taking effect Wednesday. The other major part of Obama's order, which extends deportation protections to parents of U.S. citizens and permanent residents who have been in the country for some years, was not expected to begin until May 19. Joaquin Guerra, political director of Texas Organizing Project, called the ruling a "temporary setback." "We will continue getting immigrants ready to apply for administrative relief," he said in a statement. The nonprofit says it promotes social and economic equality for low to moderate income Texans. The coalition of states, led by Texas and made up of mostly conservative states in the South and Midwest, argues that Obama has violated the "Take Care Clause" of the U.S. Constitution, which they say limits the scope of presidential power, and that his executive actions would be difficult to undo once immigrants started to apply for deferred action. They also say Obama's order would force increased investment in law enforcement, health care and education. Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton called the decision a "victory for the rule of law in America" in a statement late Monday. Texas Gov. Greg Abbott, who led the state into the lawsuit when he was the state's attorney general, said Hanen's decision "rightly stops the President's overreach in its tracks." Hanen, who's been on the federal court since 2002 after being nominated by President George W. Bush, regularly handles border cases but wasn't known for being outspoken on immigration until a 2013 case. In that case, Hanen suggested that Homeland Security should be arresting parents living in the U.S. illegally who induce their children to cross the border. Congressional Republicans have vowed to block Obama's actions by cutting off Homeland Security Department spending for the program. Earlier this year, the Republican-controlled House passed a $39.7 billion spending bill to fund the department through the end of the budget year, but attached language to undo Obama's executive actions. The fate of that House-passed bill is unclear as Republicans in the Senate do not have the 60-vote majority needed to advance most legislation. Among those supporting Obama's executive order is a group of 12 mostly liberal states, including Washington and California, as well as the District of Columbia. They filed a motion with Hanen in support of Obama, arguing the directives will substantially benefit states and will further the public interest. A group of law enforcement officials, including the Major Cities Chiefs Association and more than 20 police chiefs and sheriffs from across the country, also filed a motion in support, arguing the executive action will improve public safety by encouraging cooperation between police and individuals with concerns about their immigration status.