Interest in building electrically powered aircraft is growing but as yet the reality is there’s no electric motor package ready to plug and play except Slovenian airframer Pipistrel’s, but like most of the electric options found on the internet their emphasis is to established airframe businesses, not individual kitbuilders. Therefore, adventurous amateur builders are pretty much on their own to source a motor, batteries and controller and integrate them into an airframe. The one semi-exception is to repurpose a Zero Motorcycle as detailed next.
Zero Motorcycle / Zaero Drive Kit
This is not a product, but rather a series of steps a motivated builder can perform to gut an electric Zero Motorcycle of its battery, motor and controller and mount it in an Experimental airplane.
The central character here is Gabe DeVault of FLIT LLC and producer of the Zaero Drive Kit. This includes the ReDrive, throttle assembly, and some nuts and bolts—everything needed short of a Zero motorcycle, which is up to the builder to appropriate on his own. Even with the Zaero hardware it’s necessary to fabricate a custom motor mount for the airframe, along with some light custom work integrating the Zaero bits as well. The exception is Sonex Aircraft. Sonex sells a Zaero-specific mount for the Xenos motorglider.
Naturally Zero Motorcycles doesn’t want a thing to do with any of this, so it’s necessary to buy one of their motorcycles and strip it. There is a user community with a vital reverse-engineered maintenance manual for the bikes that’s full of useful and otherwise difficult to find information. Plus, DeVault willingly assists and is the only game in town with a Zero Motorcycle scan tool outside of a dealer, and that’s a must as some modification of the computer software is required in an aviation application.
|Redrive kit for Zero motorcycle motor/battery||belt||NA||250 lb w/ batteries, motor and controls||$3700 plus Zero motorcycle|