Got some spare cash laying around after selling a few million copies of your latest app or cleverly-named dot-com business? Well then, newly formed Italian electric motorcycle maker Energica has the bike – actually two bikes – for you.
Called the Ego and higher-zoot Ego45, the two sportbikes feature an oil-cooled electric motor turning out 134 horsepower and 143 pound-feet of torque. Power flows from an 11.7kwh battery pack and the bike has a limited top speed of 150mph. Real-world range is specified as 90 miles, likely less if you’re in hooning mode.
With bug-eye styling that recalls the Yamaha R1 from a few years ago, the Ego machines pack a long list of worthy componentry: a TFT LCD display with Standard and Track modes, switchable ABS, wheelie control, on-board rapid charging, Marzocchi suspenders for the “plain” Ego, which rings in at $34,000, and Ohlins bits for the limited edition 45, which will shake $68,000 out of your Swiss account.
Both prices are MSRP according to Energica, and don’t reflect any incentives you may receive from any programs that reward riders deciding to go green.
The aluminum rear swingarm is a massive braced affair and its affixed to a Ducati-esque trellis frame. Brembo brakes combine with regeneration to slow down the 568-pound Ego, which puts it pretty much in the middle of the pack of the high-performance electric motorcycle class, which is growing slowly. There’s even a reverse gear – something every electric bike should have. Final drive is by chain, and there’s no gearbox.
Energica says the big bump in price for the 45 is due to more luxurious construction, which includes carbon-fiber fairing panels, a number of red 3D printed parts, the Ohlins legs and so on. More power apparently is not included. And it comes with a snazzy Lowell Olmo wooden watch along with a tour of the Modena, Italy factory where the bikes are made (be prepared to sign an NDA). You’ll have to book your own flight, most likely.
Close consideration of the many photos on the Energica website indicate the bike is the real deal, with numerous videos on YouTube showing production and test machines at speed on twisty Italian backroads where Energica said you should not be surprised to run across some Ferraris and Ducatis getting wrung out by their respective factory pilots.
Noise – or the lack thereof – is still an issue for electric vehicles, which are inherently more quiet than their gas-powered cousins. While some electric bike makers, such as Brammo and Aero, do essentially nothing to augment the auditory experience, others, notably Harley-Davidson with their LiveWire ebike project, have tried to actively shape their sound signature. “The sound of the Energica EGO is a roar of power that will astonish you! This is due to the straight cut final drive gears similar to the drive train of an F1 car,” says Energica. But in one video in particular, the gear whine is so cross-eye inducing I had to mute the sound. Energica is not alone in this regard and the “sound” of ebikes remains an area of development for all involved (hint: silence is golden).
One design choice, rear suspension placement, stands out. The rear shock rides outboard on the bike’s right side, and it’s nearly vertical, with no linkage. This blows a fairly big hole in the bike’s otherwise nicely styled aesthetics, but from an engineering standpoint, it can make good sense. No linkage means road forces work directly on the spring, which can be good or bad, mostly depending on how the shock is tuned. It also saves weight and simplifies the rear suspension. Additionally, setting up the shock is easier because… it’s right there, awaiting your spanners. No rear section disassembly and bloody knuckles required.
But, it looks odd. So if it works better than the systems used by the majority of bike makers today, kudos to Energica for taking that bold step.
And finally, Energica’s website indicates a third bike, the naked-style EVA shown only in silhouette, is in the pipeline. Customers can expect to take delivery of their Ego machines next summer.
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