In many ways, Ducati’s MotoE project is the opposite of all the electric motorcycle projects which have gone before.
Up until very recently, conventional motorcycle manufacturers have mostly stayed well away from electric motorcycles, preferring to wait and see how the technology, and the political and legislative framework in which this all takes place, will play out.
Exceptions have been few and far between: beyond electric scooters, KTM have the Freeride, an electric enduro machine, and Honda worked with Mugen on their bike which dominated the TT Zero race on the Isle of Man.
That has left the field open for a host of new companies, which have operated with varying success. Silicon Valley produced a large swathe of start ups, mostly run by motorcycle enthusiasts from the area’s electric vehicle and technology industries, and funded with VC money.
A few others, such as Energica, are engineering start ups producing electric vehicles and based in areas with strong automotive industry links. Small companies with limited manufacturing and engineering facilities which relied on widely available components and techniques for a large part of their bikes.
So when Energica won the first contract to produce the MotoE racer, they were competing against other specialist electric motorcycle manufacturers, sometimes no bigger than a handful of people based in of small workshops.
But all had the same philosophy: to take their existing products and turn it into a race bike, by stripping unnecessary ballast and upgrading suspension, braking, and various chassis components.
Their race bikes, and the Energica Ego Corsa which became the MotoE bike when the series first started in 2019, are basically the electric bike version of Superstock spec machines: production bikes which have been turned into racing machines by upgrading existing components to racing spec.
At the technical presentation of their MotoE machine on Thursday, the contrast between what has gone before and Ducati’s approach couldn’t be greater.