The Origin Story of Zero Motorcycles
Zero was originally called Electricross and was first created in 2006 by former NASA engineer, Neal Saiki in his garage located in Santa Cruz, California. A shake-up occurred at Zero in 2011 spear-headed by major investors which saw founder and CTO Saiki let go. The new brand began to emphasize durability, quality, and technological advances in the bike industry, and in 2013 the demand for their product increased to the point they needed more room to manufacture. Moving to the Scotts Valley facility gave them 47,000 square feet which was 26% more room than their old headquarters and most importantly allowed their engineering and manufacturing teams to work together in the same building.
Since 2013, under the leadership of CEO Sam Paschel and CTO Abe Askenazi, Zero has been located at 380 El Pueblo Road right across the street from ReGeneration Church and next to Oxford Instruments X-Ray Technology. They also have a small office in the Netherlands to promote their bikes to the European market located at Oester 12, 1723 HW Noord-Scharwoude; however, this facility does not produce or manufacture Zeros.
The Benefits Of Zero Being From California
Everyone knows the worst thing about riding a motorcycle is the inclement weather. The danger factor rises with wind, rain, and especially snow. But California boasts one of the best weather systems and temperatures tailor-made for biking.
Cities like L.A., Anaheim, San Diego, and San Francisco are popular destinations for large national conferences and symposiums that attract the world’s top talent in the technology pool. These are opportunities to collaborate and innovate in any industry, especially in the new field of battery-powered vehicles like the Zero.
When looking for qualified management team leaders, it may be difficult to attract top-tier leadership to relocate to a place like Ankeny, Iowa. But since graduates from schools like Berkley, UCLA, Stanford, U of C Davis, and Pomona are already in California and since tech-talent are already found in California, it’s easier to find your team leaders locally especially for an electric bike company in an already competitively saturated tech field.
Despite new tax laws that may prevent future growth, the past decade has been good to do business in California. The GDP (gross domestic product) of California increased from $127 billion to more than $2.7 trillion in just one year from 2016 to 2017. California is the fifth largest economy in the world (if it was a country instead of a state). Development leaders and all-important investors are located in this state which is something Zero needs to be competitive. They have already amassed $322 million in investments to date.
How Long Will Zero Be Located in California?
Many in the electric vehicle world compare the Zero brand to Tesla since they both are high-end, ultra-innovative, and cutting edge, catering to surburbanite customers, and were located only 36 miles away from each other until Tesla moved to Austin, Texas in December of 2021.
The way the state of California has set up its tax laws, it is becoming less and less business-friendly. One of the main reasons Elon Musk moved Tesla to Texas was to avoid capital gains taxes among other tax requirements. He saved 2.5 billion dollars in the move. So it is not out of the realm of possibility that Zero may follow suit one day.
The technology and innovation ecosystem of California is fracturing under the weight of business tax laws that many feel are anti-business. Other states, like Texas, are taking advantage of this culture change and making it lucrative for more mobile technology-based businesses to head their way. I wouldn’t be surprised if Zero made an announcement one day that they, too, are leaving the tax-happy state of California for greener pastures.
The Location of Most Electric Motorcycles
Of the top ten industry-leading electric motorcycle/scooter brands, most are located outside of the United States. In the past, it has been more profitable for U.S. companies to manufacture their products outside of the country where labor, parts, and buildings are cheaper. New tax laws and tariffs have moved manufacturing back to the states, and more companies may arise to compete with the following electric cycle leaders.
About THE AUTHOR
Benjamin Rathbun has been hooked on motorcycles since 1987 when he bought his first bike, a 1973 Honda CBR450 for $300. Since then he has been through countless bikes and continued his two-wheeled hobby passing it down to his 21-year-old son who rides with him on the weekends in the Blue Ridge Mountains. Benjamin believes that nothing clears the mind faster than flying 26 inches above the asphalt on his Harley-Davison.Read More About Benjamin Rathbun