• Energica supply the electric motorcycles to MotoE.
• The Energica Eva is a naked motorcycle with the equivalent of 107kW.
• A couple of hours charge could soon equal 400km of range.
• For more motoring stories, visit Wheels24.
I was recently invited to test ride the Energica Eva for my first taste of electric motorcycling in almost 30 years of riding motorcycles. I sat wondering if the electric propulsion would detract from the motorcycle riding experience.
Even though I can understand the merits of electric cars, like fuel-saving and cleaner emissions, I never thought that electric power would make its way into motorcycles, simply because they are not used in the same way as what cars are, as motorcycles are generally leisure items that only get ridden a couple of days a month.
Who are Energica?
Bologna is a hotbed of motorcycling. They are home to the likes of Ducati and Energica. Energica has been producing motorcycles since 2016 and is the company that supplies the motorcycles for MotoGP's one make electric curtain-raiser series, MotoE. The parent company CRP Group is a high-end engineering firm that produces hardware for Formula One and the aerospace industry.
Styling is beautifully Italian, and the Eva is adorned with the best groceries in terms of Brembo brakes and Ohlins suspension. Without the necessary exhaust, the rear end is especially tidy.
Mechanically the Eva is identical to the sportier Evo, but the naked styling and slightly upright seating position of the Eva make it ideal for blasting around from coffee shop to coffee shop.
The trellis frame is jam-packed with a lithium-polymer battery towards the front and the oil-cooled permanent magnet AC electric motor behind it.
Starting the bike, or should I say, switching it on, is done by pulling the front brake, pressing a button and waiting for a green light that says Go. You are then ready. All you need to do is twist the throttle.
Hitting the road
Twisting the throttle unleashes a sensation like no other. Acceleration is brutal and seamless. There are no gears, it really is twist and go. And boy does she go. It is impossible not to utter four-lettered expletives as your brain tries to process this new definition of speed.
The electric motor provides the equivalent of 145hp or around 107kW, which is roughly equal to what one can expect from something like a 600cc supersport bike. But every horsepower is available the moment you touch the throttle.
Furthermore, the battery and motor's added weight means that despite instantaneous power delivery, it is basically impossible to wheelie this motorcycle, meaning every bit of power is transformed into forward momentum.
The lack of gears, clutch and sound means that the rider is slightly detached from the acceleration process and more of a passenger than an actual cog in the machine. The riding experience is different but certainly entertaining. Four riding modes and traction control do allow some customisation on how power is delivered.
Batteries are heavy, and the Eva tips the scales at 280kg. The weight is noticeable at a standstill, but the feeling normalises as you get going. You do feel it when cornering, but the feedback is akin to riding with a pillion on a conventionally powered motorcycle. The optional Ohlins suspension and Pirelli Diablo Corsa also do a great job of masking the added weight.
I set the regeneration to maximum to try to gain some range on our early morning blast. Acting as an engine brake system, this system slows the motorcycle down while recouping some lost energy. It does mean that less braking is needed and requires an adjustment of your riding style, but it is something that one gets used to quickly.
Is it practical?
The model I rode was a pre-production unit and had a range of around 100km, but the technology is progressing rapidly, with the latest Energica models boasting a range of 400km and only requiring a couple of hours to charge via the plugin your garage.
Smooth, quiet and well built are attributes that one can easily use to describe this motorcycle. The Energica Eva is a cutting edge motorcycle featuring cutting edge technology, with all the right groceries in terms of things like suspension and brakes.
This all comes at a cost. In South Africa, the Eva will retail at just under R600 000. At the same time, the Eva is an insanely quick motorcycle that does not represent great value for money. Unfortunately, if you want to be an early adopter, you have to pay.
Does the concept of an electric motorcycle detract from what a motorcycle should be? I don't think so, it is fun, and that is all that a motorcycle needs to be.