Asphalt & Rubber had the fortunate chance to ride the Energica Ego today, and before I get to a proper review of riding the electric superbike, I wanted to reintroduce this Italian machine to our readers, because while A&R might have been one of the few outlets to cover Energica, this new player in the “E2V” space might still strike you as unfamiliar.
A project from Italy’s respected engineering firm CRP Racing, I first had the opportunity to see the Energica Ego at the 2011 EICMA show. The machine wasn’t a runner at the time, as CRP was still looking for a drivetrain partner that could supplement CRP’s already extensive knowledge in chassis design.
Fast-forward to the 2013 EICMA show, and the Energica sub-brand debuted its first production electric superbike, the Ego. The naming might be a bit tough, especially for us Anglophones, but this 134hp, 143 lbs•ft superbike packs a punch, and is remarkably well-refined.
I will leave the full review for a more-detailed article, but the short version of it is pretty positive. I came to the launch skeptical of Energica and the Ego, but left very impressed with the company its machine — the conversation about production electric motorcycles now has to include this potent Italian brand and its first product offering. Enthusiasts should take note.
Getting more hands on, the first thing that strikes you about the Ego are its headlights. It took me a long time to warm up to the “eagle-eyed” layout, as it seems more glaring than lurid. Over the past few months though, I’ve started to change my opinion about them; and after seeing it in person, you realize how the bug-eyed projectors sort of work.
They aren’t classical motorcycle elements, certainly they aren’t a part of the typical Italian school of design, but they are unique. The Ego’s bird-like headlamps are quickly becoming my favorite design element, which has lead to long talks with my therapist at night and a deeper concern for my mental resolve.
The fairings are aggressive up front, with a notable turn away from the increasingly anorexic tail sections found on sport bikes, which seem to dominate showroom floors currently. Not a huge divergence from the status quo, but again Energica is showing its willingness to buck the trends in the motorcycle industry — as if one needed such a mention when talking about an electric motorcycle.
The Italian company called its carbon fairings as pre-production (a standard feature on the more robust Energica Ego 45 that will debut later), and there are noticeable imperfections in the epoxy and finish. You would have to look hard to see the flaws, and I have zero reservations about those imperfections being absent from the consumer-ready models. Still, it’s fair to note.
Fully adjustable Marzocchi forks upfront, and side-mounted Öhlins shock do the suspension duties on the Ego. OZ wheels and Brembo brakes complete the branding lexicon.
Surely designed to trouble those afflicted with OCD-tendencies, a careful examination of the Ego’s drivetrain packaging reveals the need for the rear shock to be offset so greatly to the right-side of the swingarm, as it makes room for the PMAC electric motor that protrudes over the cast aluminum swingarm.
Through the fairings you can see the trellis frame, which is mated to various rapid-prototype plastic subframes and fairing stays. Beneath the 569 lbs bulk one can see the metal enclosure for the 11.7 kWh (nominal) battery pack and controller, which use water, oil, and air cooling (note the slots behind the front tire, which allow air down the center of the battery pack) to manage heat in the Ego’s systems.
Most impressively is the 4.3″ TFT dash, which has a clean and attractive display for bike systems and vitals. Four riding modes, three regenerative braking modes (plus an “off” mode), makes for an adjustable ride.
A no-brainer edition rarely found on other electric motorcycles: a reverse gear. The production model will have ABS (Bosch is still calibrating its dual-channel system for the Ego), GPS, Bluetooth, and cellular connectivity features, which will mean an even more robust UI for riders to enjoy and use on their rides.
The design might not be for everyone, but we think all will agree that Energica has brought the fit-and-finish to the Ego. Not a classical beauty, we’d recommend making a second pass at this girl a bit later, and see if she doesn’t strike you better under a different light.
With production to start at the beginning of next year, those with $34,000 in free cash can have one in their garage by Summer 2015.