Ducati: Electrification will affect design of motorcycles more than cars

Ducati Scrambler
Bill Roberson/Digital Trends

Electric cars receive a tremendous amount of attention, but the electrification wave is sweeping across the motorcycle market, too. Ducati has already confirmed it’s working on a battery-powered model, and one of its top executives gave Digital Trends insight into how going electric could influence the firm’s design process.

“Everybody is looking into going electric,” Andrea Ferraresi, Ducati’s lead designer, told Digital Trends as we toured the company’s design department. His comments echo the ones made by Ducati CEO Claudio Domenicali in January 2019.

Ferraresi is in charge of making sure every Ducati model regardless of market segment or drivetrain falls in line with the company’s philosophy, which blends style, performance, and sophistication. He predicted going electric could bring significant changes to the company’s design language.

“Electrification will change bike design more than it will change car design,” he told us. He added the change won’t be immediate; it will be gradual. In the beginning, he argued, electric motorcycles will look a lot like conventional models with a massive battery pack instead of an engine. Looking ahead, electrification opens up new opportunities for motorcycle designers that most car designers won’t enjoy.

“An electric motorcycle doesn’t need an exhaust system or a fuel tank. An electric car doesn’t, either, but those components aren’t normally part of the design,” Ferraresi pointed out. This creates an opportunity, but also a challenge; designers can’t simply remove the fuel tank from an electric motorcycle. Without it, the model is going to look a lot like a bicycle. Something has to take its place.

Your guess is as good as ours when it comes to what an electric Ducati will look like. We may not have to wait long, though. Speaking during an event in Spain, Domenicali revealed Ducati is “not far from starting series production” of its first volume-built battery-powered model. It’s unclear at this stage whether the yet-unnamed model will share styling cues (or anything else) with the Zero concept that was presented in 2017 in collaboration with a design school in Milan, Italy.

Another technology promises to influence motorcycle design in the nearer term: driving aids. Bosch is helping Ducati bring radar-based technology like adaptive cruise control to the world of motorcycles. This requires fitting black, box-shaped sensors to both ends of the bike. Car designers face the same challenge, but a car is evidently much wider than a motorcycle so adding sensors isn’t as difficult.

“It will be a problem,” admitted Ferraresi. “It’s not so easy, but you have to face it.”

Cars

Tesla rushes investigators to China to figure out why a parked Model S exploded

Tesla has sent a team of in-house investigators to Shanghai to determine why an early Model S suddenly exploded and caught fire. The electric sedan was parked before the fire started, and the cause of the blaze remains unknown.
Cars

Electric car buying guide: What you need to know before you buy

EVs are better than they've ever been, but buying your first battery-powered car can be an intimidating experience. Digital Trends has compiled a comprehensive guide that walks you through the process of buying an EV.
Cars

The VR goggles you wear to shoot alien ships is helping Magna design car parts

Canadian automotive supplier Magna has started using virtual reality in its research and development department. The technology helps engineers get a better view of what they're working on, whether it's an interior part or a powertrain.
Cars

Qiantu K50 is a Chinese electric sports car that’s coming to the U.S.

The Qiantu K50 is a Chinese electric sports car that will be marketed in the United States by California-based Mullen Technologies. The carbon-fiber bodied, 402-horsepower K50 is expected to go on sale in 2020.
Cars

Google Maps now shows EV owners which charging stations are occupied

Google has just beefed up its Maps app with extra data to help EV owners find the nearest charging station. Drivers can also find out about the number and types of ports available, and whether they're occupied.
Digital Trends Live

Digital Trends Live: Tesla taxis, NYC auto show, and Sony’s 8K TV

On the latest episode of DT Live, we discuss Tesla's autonomous taxi plans, a Face ID lawsuit against Apple,, choosing imperfect produce, the release of Mortal Kombat 11, sustainable fashion, and more.
Buying Guides

The best hatchbacks for 2019 are small in size and big on tech

The hatchback segment isn't huge, but there are still plenty of good options to choose from. Here, we've rounded up the best hatchbacks available in America, whether you're a fan of efficiency or looks.
Cars

Keep your driving record squeaky clean with these top-flight radar detectors

Nobody likes getting a speeding ticket, but these gadgets can help. Check out our picks for the best radar detectors on the market, from the likes of Valentine One, Escort, and Beltronics.
Apple

WWDC 2019 Complete Coverage

Apple’s Worldwide Developer Conference is a key tech event each year, and for Apple fans, it will be one of the two best times of 2019 (along with "new iPhone day," of course). For the last few years, Apple has debuted much of its…
Cars

GPS units aren't dead! Our favorite models still do things your phone can't

Love hitting the open road but hate having to rely solely on your phone for getting around? Thankfully, the best in-car GPS systems will allow you to navigate and capitalize on a range of features sans your cellular network. Here are our…
Cars

Tesla Model S and Model X charge faster and go farther with the same battery

An all-new drivetrain for the Tesla Model S and X enables the EVs to travel farther per charge than the previous design. Tesla Model S Long Range sedans have a 370-mile range and Model X Long Range SUVs can travel 325 miles per EPA cycle.
Cars

2019 Ford F-150 RTR gets a light dose of off-road, style upgrades

Vaughn Gittin Jr.'s RTR Vehicles is turning its attention to the 2019 Ford F-150 pickup truck. RTR gave Ford's bestseller new suspension components and tires, as well as more extroverted exterior styling.
Cars

Electric truck maker Rivian scores $500 million investment from Ford

Alongside Amazon, Rivian can now count Ford as one of its backers. The Blue Oval will invest $500 million in Rivian, and will use the company's "skateboard" chassis as the basis for a future electric vehicle.
Cars

The best diagnostic adapters monitor your car so you don't have to

Sometimes called dongles, the best car adapters will tell you what's wrong under the hood while help you keep tabs on your family and routine maintenance.