Didn’t see that one coming.
With the world expecting that perhaps some electric motorcycle startup, or a more established electric motorcycle brand (cough *Zero*), or even a company with perhaps a bit more of a tech-centric history might look to replace Italy’s Energica as the supplier of electric race bikes for the nascent MotoE race series, comes news that another Italian company with almost zero known e-motorcycle chops has stepped into the gap: Ducati.
Ducati CEO Claudio Domenicali himself broke the news, saying the marque more famous for the pounding roar of its gas-fueled race bikes and street machines is looking to the e-future, and that the agreement “represents a historic moment for our company. Ducati is always focused towards the future and every time it enters a new world it does so aiming to create the best-performing product possible.”Domenicali said Ducati has been studying electric motorcycles powertrains “for years” and that the MotoE deal will help it develop a platform “within a controlled field: that of competition” that will likely bleed over to a production machine. Eventually. For now, Ducati will provide electric race bikes from 2023 to 2026. A production bike may see the light of day in 2025.
“We test our innovations and future-focused technological solutions on circuits all over the world and then create exciting and desirable products for Ducatisti,” he added in post on the Dorna Sports news site. “I am convinced that, once again, we will treasure the experience we gain in the world of competition in order to transfer and apply them to production motorcycles.”
“We are very proud to announce Ducati as the new, single manufacturer for the FIM Enel MotoE World Cup,” Carmelo Ezpeleta, CEO of Dorna Sports added. “With their incredible racing history, it is an honour to welcome this commitment from one of the best-known manufacturers in the paddock and to take on this new challenge together. We are eager to see what the future has in store and continue to watch this technology develop and grow, with the MotoGP paddock and MotoE continuing to drive innovation and evolution in the motorcycling industry – at the same time as creating an incredible on-track spectacle.”
Sounds like a plan, or at least a plan that may bring about a ‘lectric Ducati by about…. 2025. Sooner? Maybe, but unlikely. And, of course, it is far too early to say what kind of production electric motorcycle Ducati is planning on, or if there will be several models. What’s your best take on which kind of bike would be best for an electric Duc? Sportsbike? Dual Sport? Cruiser? Naked? All of them?
It will not be an easy task, especially since they’ll be playing catch-up to market leader Zero and legacy maker Harley-Davidson, who may be preparing more models to debut soon under its new LiveWire sub-brand. Yet, it sounds like Ducati has the right idea, at least, and is focused on cutting weight, more weight and any extra weight from any eventual electric machine. Ducati is focused on “the area of weight, which is a fundamental element of sports bikes, which will prove the greatest challenge.” But Domenicali added that their experience crafting the MotoE machines will be key in the quest to slim down what are currently 500-pound electric bikes that while a bit portly, still make respectable power, especially when it comes to torque, something Ducati’s twin-cylinder gassers are famous for. “I am convinced that, once again, we will treasure the experience we gain in the world of competition in order to transfer and apply them to production motorcycles,” Domenicali said.
It’s good to see Ducati taking this vector into the electric future, and we hope it works out. Formula E car racing has been surprisingly popular with race fans, and each year the cars get faster and more durable. Here’s hoping racing improves the breed on the motorcycle side as well.