The all-electric MotoE series has been running three years strong now, supporting the top MotoGP championship at a handful of races per year. It’s a spec series where all teams use the same bike — the Energica Ego Corsa — that offers about 160 horsepower and has clocked as much as 160 mph at some tracks on the calendar. That’s quite a ways off from the 220 mph that the premier-class rockets hit on Mugello’s mega-long straight, but then MotoE is still in its infancy, and the racing is nevertheless fun to watch.
Energica, an Italian brand, will end its involvement as the series’ lone supplier after the end of the 2022 season. From 2023 on, Ducati will take over. Its prototype for the 2023 campaign — tentatively dubbed the V21L — has recently been trialed around the Misano World Circuit Marco Simoncelli with test rider Michele Pirro at the handlebars. The company released the first images of the machine in action on Monday.
It’s too early to tell if the V21L will pose any marked performance advantage over Energica’s bike, but it certainly looks like it belongs at the track. Many electric bikes are almost visually identical to their gas-powered counterparts — save, of course, for the lack of an engine and exhaust pipes. But on a racing bike with fairings covering a sizable portion of the profile, you don’t get to see in quite as much, and the differences are harder to suss out.
In building the V21L and partnering with FIM, the governing body overseeing MotoE, Ducati isn’t trying to distract from the fact that battery-electric bikes still have a very long way to go. The number one priority to its engineers is mitigating the weight of the pack while extending capability. To do that, Ducati’s paid special attention to one particular area of the package: cooling.
Ducati’s goal is to make electric motorcycles that are high-performance and characterized by their lightness available to all FIM Enel MotoE World Cup participants. The focus of the project are, in addition to better performance, the containment of weight and the consistency of power delivery during the race, obtained thanks to the attention in the development of a cooling system suitable for the objective.
Ducati, of course, has yet to produce an electric motorcycle available to consumers, even as its parent company has gone all-in with electrification for its road cars. A venture like this could help set the brand on the right path for the future, and teach it some things about building battery-powered two-wheelers along the way. As for MotoE, getting an established brand on board with its mission will probably draw at least a few more eyeballs to the show every weekend.