Electric motorcycle rolls out


University Police Officer Lance Conlan flashes the lights on an electric motorcycle borrowed from San Jose State. Photo credit: Gabriel Sandoval

University Police discreetly unveiled on Wednesday its latest acquisition: a lone electric motorcycle.

Chico State’s police force is borrowing an electric motorcycle from San Jose State as part of a pilot program, said University Police Officer Lance Conlan, who was quietly rolling and patrolling sidewalks and streets around campus Wednesday afternoon, a day after his department picked up the two-wheeler. His department’s leadership is now trying to determine if they need to buy some of these machines for their department.

“Several CSUs are already using these for patrol functions,” Conlan said.

The hog was made by Zero Motorcycles, a company based in Santa Cruz. It hardly makes a sound, is rechargeable and never needs gas.

Conlan, who owns a traditional gas-powered motorcycle, said before he ever rode an electric one he was skeptical. But after test driving a stealthy Zero some time ago, he changed his mind. 

“This has really made me want to go buy one,” he said, after coasting by the Bidwell Mansion on Sol-Wil-Len-No Avenue.

The officer was wearing his own helmet because San Jose State didn’t provide one. He said University Police should be buying official helmets soon.

“I really hope that this takes off, and we are able to have a small fleet of these for University Police,” he said.

If Conlan’s crew decides to go ahead and buy electric vehicles, it wouldn’t be the first time. In 2009 University Police acquired three electric scooters. By 2012 they decided to relinquish them, according to the Oroville Mercury-Register.

Gabriel Sandoval can be reached at [email protected] or @GLuisSandoval on Twitter.