Ducati appears to have made quick progress on its electric motorcycle development, especially considering that the program was first unveiled last October.
That’s when Ducati announced that it would become the sole supplier of racing electric motorcycles for the FIM MotoE racing series, replacing the current supplier Energica.
At the time, Ducati did not have a publicly acknowledged electric motorcycle development program and had spent years making excuses for why it was not ready to produce electric motorcycles.
That attitude appeared to disappear overnight after the announcement, and we quickly saw Ducati push its V21L electric motorcycle prototype onto the track for some test laps.
Now we’re getting our first look at some hard data and real tech specs from the Italian manufacturer.
Ducati has confirmed that it will produce at least 18 of the bikes for the 2023 season of the FIM MotoE racing series. Each of the V21L electric motorcycles will be capable of outputting 110 kW (147 hp) and 140 Nm (103 lb-ft) of torque.
The bike was said to reach a top speed of 275 km/h (171 mph) on a test circuit in Mugello, Italy.
Despite carrying a rather large 18 kWh battery pack, Ducati was able to bring the weight of the V21L prototype down to just 225 kg (496 lb). That’s still a hefty bike, but weighs significantly less than the Energica Ego’s 282 kg (621 lb) mass.
The battery and motor/inverter share a double circuit liquid-cooling system designed to help the bike operate at high performance levels for longer periods without being forced to throttle back due to heat build-up.
Ducati CEO Claudio Domenicali tested out the V21L prototype recently and came away impressed:
A few weeks ago, I had the extraordinary opportunity to ride the Ducati MotoE on the track and I immediately realized that 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 consider a priority if we want to preserve the delicate balance of the planet. As Ducati, we have grasped this need and we went in search of a challenge that would allow us to contribute to the common goal of reducing CO₂ emissions and at the same time to keep faith with our DNA linked to racing. We agreed with determination to develop the most performing electric racing bike that current technology makes possible and to use this project as a laboratory in which to build our future.
The result we have achieved is surprising. As soon as I sat on the bike, I realized the quality of the work done by the team and when I returned to the garage, I felt a deep sense of pride for what we were once again able to achieve.
Ducati’s R&D Director Veicenzo De Silvio explained that there’s still work to do on the unfinished prototype, but that Ducati’s diverse team of engineers has taken to the challenge posed by building the next great racing electric motorcycle:
For Ducati, having the opportunity to become suppliers of the FIM MotoE World Cup is not only a technologically exciting venture, but also the best way to interpret the challenges of the new millennium. Racing competition represents the ideal terrain on which to develop innovative technologies that will then transfer to production motorcycles.
At this moment, the most important challenges in this field remain those related to the size, weight, autonomy of the batteries and the availability of the charging networks. Ducati’s experience in the FIM MotoE World Cup will be a fundamental support for product R&D, together with the physiological evolution of technology and chemistry. Helping the company’s internal expertise to grow is already essential today to be ready when the time comes to put the first street electric Ducati into production.
While this is all great news for the racers, everyday Ducati customers will likely benefit from the company’s developments in the electric motorcycle industry.
That future is likely still years ahead of us, but the company has already confirmed that advancements being made on the V21L prototype will eventually trickle down into a consumer version, becoming Ducati’s first production electric motorcycle for consumers.
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