Just an overview of the officially announced recalls for Zero SRF and SRS electric motorcycles. And also an overview of (not so official) firmware issues that were introduced and fixed over time.
Tank Lid Replacement recall
The first official recall was for a replacement of the tank lid. On the original MY 2020 bikes (SRF only) there was an wider gap between the tank lid and the tank cover itself towards the front of the bike. This is visible in the pictures of my own 08/2019 delivered Zero SRF premium below.
This was replaced for free, no questions asked, the first time I was back at my dealer. From what I understood they had to order a new tank lid (in the right color of your bike) and then replace it according to the following instructions.
Front Brake Switch recall
This issue was discussed in this topic on EMF and it was later also covered on electrek.co. In my case the front brake switch had already failed and been replaced by my dealer under warranty. It failed even within the first 1.000 km so this was done when my bike was in for it’s first service.
I did pay something to my dealer for the service itself. I also had a rear rack mount installed so part of the payment was for those parts but there was a small service fee included for updates and service and inspection. I later understood from Zero that this first service should’ve been free of charge. So that is something to be on the lookout for if you acquire a Zero.
update: I’m not the only one who paid for their first service. So this might have been a local action from Zero.
Below are some documents about this recall, letters to customers and dealers but also the instructions to get this part replaced. It’s a very easy swap since this only takes 2 wires and is held on with a single screw. They probably went for a more robust version, I think mine failed because of riding in rain.
Water ingress in Dashboard
At this point not yet an official recall but that is likely only a matter of time. My dealer told me it’s best to take pictures and report it. Then they can replace it either right away (if issue has evolved enough to hinder operation) or open a case for it. When that case is opened you’ll be contacted once they have an actual solution.
Some more information and user contributions have been added below in the comments.
That’s it for the official recalls. The next section is about Firmware issues that I and others encountered and that got fixed with new firmware updates. These bikes have a cellular (3G) connection so are always connected and that way they can receive so called OTA updates or Over The Air updates.
update: Since firmware version 16 (or so, I don’t recall the exact version, might have been app version related) there is an alternative option to update the bikes firmware using a phone connected through bluetooth. In that case the phone will fetch the update and send it over bluetooth to the bike.
I can’t recall what firmware version my own bike came with from the factory. Since then I’ve installed many updates and at the time of writing we have arrived at firmware version 19. The update process isn’t always as smooth as it should be so I don’t always get the latest updates installed. Currently for example my own bike is stuck at version 17. An overview of the firmware versions is available from Zero on this webpage. However the page is poorly managed and updates seems to be at least one version behind on that overview.
Firmware Version 13 – charge release lock issue (EU models)
The charge port on the SRF and SRS have a locking mechanism that keep the charge pistol retained. When I got my bike this locking mechanism would not engage while charging. So anyone could just remove the charge cord from my bike, even if the key was removed from the ignition. Where I live you would still be stuck with the locking mechanism on the charger but I can see why they wanted this fixed.
In firmware version 13 they introduced this locking feature. If you would put a charge pistol in place and lock your bike the mechanism would hold on to your charge cable. You had to toggle the ignition, so key the bike back on, in order to release that cable. However in adding this feature there was also a bug introduced causing the lock not to release right away. Instead you had to toggle the ignition ON and OFF multiple times before it would disengage.
This was fixed in version 14, from the release notes you can read the below quote indicating this fix. Note that these change logs do not have dates and the description is very basic.
- Improved handling of charge latch on European bikes with mennekes port
Firmware Version 18 – faulty SOC calculations or magic charging
The latest issue introduced via a firmware update was not limited to European bikes. This time a bug was introduced that caused miscalculations in the SOC or State of Charge values on the display. On it’s own not that big of a deal but the bike will reduce power and even shut down completely as this value decreases. So many users reported a limited range and even shut downs in the middle of a ride.
To add to the frustration these bikes would slowly recalculate and increase their SOC value when parked and keyed OFF. Hence this was mockingly called
magic charging. I never took this firmware version 18 so to date I never experienced the problem myself.
Luckily by now an update is available with firmware version 19 being released that solves this problem. When writing this article the firmware versions on their website aren’t updated yet. The below release information is what we received on EMF from a dealer. On the ZeroMotorcycles reddit group there was also a thread about this issue.
January 26th, 2021 MY20/MY21 SR/F SR/S * Improvements and bugfixes for the SOC algorithm * Bugfixes for battery capacity calculations * Improvements for charge rate tapering at high charge rate and at high pack temperatures * Internal logging bugfixes and improvements * Cruise control disabled if kickstand is down MY17/18/19/20 MBB Rev 32 BMS Rev 39 * Various bugfixes
That’s what I know, if you have encountered any issues yourself feel free to let me know and I can update this overview.
Firmware Version 19 – breaks remote connectivity for the most part
Version 19 was released in order to resolve the range and magic charging issues introduced in update version 18. I don’t think they included anything else but those fixes. So the issue I describe here is likely also in place in version 18 and was just overlooked in this fix version.
Zero has remote connectivity build in to the dashboards of their motorcycles. This is a system that has both GPS and 3G cellular connection and uses that to publish information about the bikes location. But also includes sensor information like an orientation sensor to detect when the bike is dropped.
You can check on the dashboard in the settings what the state of that 3G connection is. Before the update to version 19 my bike there always showed up as “connected”. Plus the moment my bike was taken in a van to perform a service at the dealer, at that point on version 17, I got the notification that my bike is being moved. On the remote connection page I could then see the current SOC of 64. Next the work was executed at the shop and the current location was showing that shop.
Up to the point where they performed a fimrware update to verison 19. That is when all updates simply stopped and the bike remained at 64% SOC (according to this service) and parked at the workshop. Even the day the bike was transported back to my home location nothing changed. And this time no notification was received about the bike being put on transport. That is a form of theft protection that is now gone.
Back at home I could see that the SOC had dropped to around 58% which was not reflected by the online information. And the location was still fixed at the workshop, over 100 km from my place. At that point I was afraid that all remote connectivity was lost, including the stored routes. Luckily that still works but the bike now has to be taken on a ride for the system to wake up.
And if that system then wakes up you still don’t get the right SOC information, so that remains broken. The notification about the bike charge being completed (reached charge target) also still works. I just no longer can check what the current SOC or remaining time is since these don’t update anymore.
Some information about this issue was found on Facebook here. That post also has a comment with more info on what could be the solution by changing a field in the motorcycles configuration to REG. For this a dealer has to execute this change.
Also new in this update is that the charge target no longer is respected. I’ve seen it charge up to 82% while 80% was configured and others reported 75% target set while reaching over 80% on facebook.
It’s safe to say that hardware issues are taken seriously and soon or later fixed with official recalls. Also the lid replacement shows that new bikes leave the factory with these updated parts already in place.
On the software level all I can say for now is that they push a lot of issues to production. I wish they would have a better test procedure for these firmware updates to prevent some of these problems reported here. So far the fixes were released but it would even be better off they simply catched these before release.
If you currently have a firmware version that you’re happy with it’s best to keep it. When new versions are released you can let others try it before you commit.