Never doubt the will of passionate Italians, especially when it comes to their passion for speed. Energica has become the undisputed world leader in electric superbikes. Its technology was developed and proven on racing circuits around the world, and it is now crushing the competition when it comes to sales. Classic “race on Sunday, sale on Monday.” the Energica MyElectric Academy, a new rider experience program, aims to convince the masses.
An overnight success 10 years in the making
Think of 2010. Steve introduced the iPad, Nissan introduced the Leaf, Tik Tok hit number 1, and a few Italians started an electric motorcycle business. I called them crazy and I knew a few things about electric motorcycles.
In 2010 you would have found me fighting on electric super motorcycles in the Isle of Man TT races. I was a senior engineer for the Motoczysz team and we were at the forefront of electrical development. It was hard and brutal work to build and prepare the racing bikes. After a winning season, an investor asked us to put it into production – and I told my boss Michael to politely fuck. Production manufacturing is a different kind of hell than racing and I didn’t want to be a part of it, especially in a global economic downturn.
That same year, an Italian woman with a vision decided to take this difficult path. Livia Cevolini was also in the electric race. His team pioneered the eCRP concept bike and continued to dominate the European TTXGP racing series. Within two years, the company was now aptly called Energica, the feminine form of “energetic” in Italian.
In 2012, the Energica “Ego” made its debut at EICMA, the international motorcycle exhibition in Milan. It wasn’t really a show. Motorcycle enthusiasts are gas junkies. Without the smell, the sound, the vibe of Ducatis and Motoguzzis, it’s just not riding. Italians wouldn’t be surprised on a sewing machine with wheels. Even if you were sold at instant torque, you could only go 100 miles on a charge, and in 2012, public chargers were rarer than Supermonos.
Winning races is easier than winning hearts and minds
Fast forward 10 years and Energica has exploded – sales are up 200% this year. If you hadn’t followed up, they would seem to be an overnight success. Like most “overnight successes,” it was a long, difficult decade in the trenches. It takes time and persistence to change cultural perception – it’s a dumb race. But changing perception is essential to turn gasoline into electric.
Energica MyElectric Academy
Riding is believing, and that is why Energica launched the “MyElectric Academy. If you can forgive the silly name, the MyElectric program looks amazing. You will have a full day of track with the professional pilot Alessandro Branetti. “Branna” has more track experience on electric motorcycles than anyone else. He has won several European Championships and is Energica’s in-house expert.
Your day at the Academy begins with a morning of espresso and theory, energizing your mind before your engine. After lunch, you head to the Modena circuit. You’ll spend a few hours learning the basics of these Italian thunders before going on laps in pursuit of Branna on any Energica of your choice.
Classes are small – only five for a group, and while the price tag of $ 1,100 is substantial, it’s not weird for such a unique bespoke experience. As a bonus, the fees are waived if you buy an Energica – and did we mention the espresso? We are already booking our tickets.
Electrified motorcycles: a different kind of beast
If you are already an experienced pilot this could be a more difficult sale. You probably think that electric driving must be easier – everything is simpler, right? No gear change and an unlimited torque buffet. In practice, it is a little more nuanced.
Torque is in abundance, but you’re always at the limit of your tires. Without rotating pistons, there is no gyroscopic effect to balance through the corners.
Another feature of an electric powertrain is the control of throttle mapping and regenerative braking to suit your preferences. You also need to remember that all machines have limits – e-bikes will reduce your torque (read: increased lap times) if the engine or battery temperature rises too high.
Finally, these are big Italian machines – like ossobuco with a side of big carbonara – almost 600 pounds. It takes a different kind of rider to gracefully carry so much weight.
The elephant in the stable
Weight is always a deciding factor for many potential customers, and we specifically asked Energica about this. Right now, all runners are asking for more autonomy. Battery life means the batteries are heavy and the batteries are heavy. Electricity always seems risky – you can’t refuel every 7-11 hours – and more miles feel safe. In reality, most electric motorcyclists rarely use most of their range.
Giampiero Testoni, CTO of Energica, agreed with us that the technology exists to make a really good track bike in the 400-pound range that can still go over 100 miles, but customers just aren’t asking for it. As battery performance improves and charging networks expand, we hope that a truly lightweight electrical device will find its way into the pipeline soon.
More Italian stallions
If you’re not ready to visit Europe, good news. Energica promises that the MyElectric Academy will arrive in the United States next year. Americans record 40% of all Energica sales with models starting at $ 21,600.
If you’re more inclined to buy from Americans, be sure to check out Zero motorcycles SR / S, which starts below $ 20,000.
The demand for electric motorcycles is skyrocketing in all markets and you would be surprised at how badly gasoline motorcycles can be for the environment. If you haven’t tried electrics yet, you’re running out of excuses!