Ducati appears to have made rapid progress in developing an electric motorcycle, especially given that the software was first revealed last October.
That’s when Ducati announced that it would become the sole supplier of electric racing motorcycles to the FIM MotoE racing series, replacing existing supplier Energica.
At the time, Ducati did not have a publicly recognized electric motorcycle development program and spent years making excuses for not being ready to produce electric motorcycles.
That situation seemed to vanish overnight after the announcement, and we soon saw Ducati pushing its V21L electric motorcycle prototype onto the track for some test runs.
Now we take a first look at some hard data and real technical specifications from the Italian manufacturer.
Ducati has confirmed that it will produce at least 18 bikes for the 2023 season of the FIM MotoE series. Each V21L electric scooter will be capable of producing 110 kW (147 hp) and 140 Nm (103 lb-ft) of torque.
The bike was said to have reached a top speed of 275 km/h (171 mph) at a test circuit in Mugello, Italy.
Despite carrying a large 18 kWh battery pack, Ducati was able to reduce the weight of the V21L prototype to just 225 kg (496 lb). This is still a massive bike, but it weighs a lot less than the Energica Ego’s mass of 282 kg (621 lb).
The battery and motor/inverter share a dual-circuit liquid cooling system designed to help the bike run at high performance levels for longer periods without having to return to the throttle due to heat buildup.
Ducati CEO Claudio Domenicali recently tested the V21L prototype and came away impressed:
A few weeks ago, I had the extraordinary opportunity to ride a Ducati MotoE on the track and immediately knew I was living in a historic moment.
The world is going through a complex period and environmental sustainability is an element that all individuals and all companies must prioritize if we are to maintain the delicate balance of the planet. As Ducati, we recognized this need and went in search of a challenge that would allow us to contribute to the common goal of reducing CO2 emissions while at the same time maintaining our confidence in our racing DNA. We agreed with determination to develop the most high-performance electric racing bike that current technology offers and to use this project as a laboratory in which to build our future.
The result we achieved was surprising. As soon as I sat on the bike, I realized the quality of the work the team had done, and when I got back to the garage, I felt a deep sense of pride at what we were able to achieve again.
Ducati’s Director of Research and Development, Vicenzo Di Silvio, explained that there is still work to be done on the unfinished prototype, but Ducati’s diverse team of engineers have taken on the challenge of building an electric motorcycle for the following great races:
For Ducati, having the opportunity to become a supplier for the FIM MotoE World Cup is not only a technically exciting project, but also the best way to interpret the challenges of the new millennium. The racing competition represents the ideal terrain for the development of innovative technologies that will then move into motorcycle production.
At the moment, the most important challenges in this field remain those related to the size, weight and autonomy of batteries and the availability of charging networks. Ducati’s experience at the FIM MotoE World Cup will be an essential support for product research and development, along with the physiological evolution of technology and chemistry. Helping the company’s in-house expertise grow is really essential today to be ready when the time comes to put Ducati’s first electric streetcar into production.
While this is all great news for racers, Ducati’s daily customers are likely to benefit from the company’s developments in the electric motorcycle industry.
That future is likely years ahead, but the company has already confirmed that developments being made to the V21L prototype will eventually flow into a consumer version, becoming Ducati’s first consumer electric motorcycle.
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