As if the announcement of the Panigale V4 — the first departure for Ducati from a V-twin setup since decades ago — weren’t surprise enough for the motorcycling world: Ducati is going electric. This is the first reveal of a Ducati electric motorcycle that will eventually race in the MotoE.
Ducati already announced in October 2021 that it’s going to be the supplier for the FIM MotoE championship (a support class of the MotoGP series) starting from 2023, replacing Energica. This took a lot of people by surprise.
You might also be interested in the Triumph TE-1 electric motorcycle prototype.
But if the idea of a Ducati electric motorcycle gets you curious, you probably want to know
- What are the specs of the MotoE Ducati Electric Motorcycle?
- WHen is a Ducati electric motorcycle likely to be released in a consumer version?
- How is the Ducati MotoE prototype different to other Ducati motorcycles?
Are you obsessed with motorcycles?
Well, I am. That’s why I created this site — as an outlet. I love learning and sharing what others might find useful. If you like what you read here, and you’re a fraction as obsessed as I am, you might like to know when I’ve published more. (Check the latest for an idea of what you’ll see.)
Ducati MotoE motorcycle — Specs we know so far
Initial specs of the MotoE prototype were scarce.
In 2021, Ducati released a series of images showing testing the prototype at 70% power.
There were some things we could glean from that, including that it had Brembo radial mounted calipers, Öhlins suspension and a double-sided swingarm (much like the current MotoGP bikes. Plus a lot of carbon fibre.
Also, we could see that it had no clutch lever. This isn’t obvious — some electric bikes still have a gearbox, and/or clutch for other reasons.
Now in July 2022, Ducati has released more specs of the MotoE prototype. Here’s what we know so far.
|Part||Ducati MotoE Spec||Notes|
|Battery cell design||1152 x 21700 cell, 18 kWh, 110 kg 243 lb weight||Half the weight of the motorcycle is the battery|
|Inverter spec||800V system, 5 kg inverter|
|Motor spec||Peak rpm 18000, 21 kg weight, liquid-cooled, stressed member|
|Peak power||110 kw (150 CV / 148 bhp)|
|Peak torque||140 Bm (103 lb-ft)||Torque available from basically zero|
|Top speed||275 km/h / 171 mph (on Mugello track)||Lower than top-end superbikes… but still fast|
|Charging time||45 minutes to charge 80%|
|Front suspension||Öhlins NPX 25/30 pressurised 43mm inverted fork||Same as Superleggera V4|
|Rear shock||Öhlins TTX36 shock|
|Front brakes||Brembo, twin 338.5 mm discs (thickness between 6.8-7.4mm) and GP4RR M4 32/36 calipers with PR19/18 radial master cylinder||Fins on internal diameter to increase disc cooling area. Braking is custom by brembo.|
|Rear brakes||220mm disc, 5mm thick, P34 caliper, PS13 cylinder|
|Total weight||225 kg / 496 lb||Around 50 kg (120 lb) more heavy than the Desmosedici GP (dry weight is 157 kg / 346 lb)|
Notes on the current design
Apart from the clutch lever, many parts on Ducati’s MotoE motorcycle prototype are still lower spec and consumer-grade when compared to the 2021 MotoGP bike, the 2021 Desmosedici GP.
The Ducati Desmosedici GP has, for example
- Much more carbon fibre in general
- More advanced-looking front suspension with carbon outer tubes
- Carbon brake discs, and
- Carbon fork tubes
One thing that’s interesting to observe is the chain drive on this, Ducati’s first electric race bike. There are traditional front and rear sprockets, the front with 16 teeth and the rear with 42 — a ratio in the common range of ratios seen on ICE bikes. This means that the gearing of the bike is something that will be customisable with current off-the-shelf components.
See here for more of a discussion on motorcycle gearing and its impact on speed.
Another interesting thing is that with no clutch, the bike will rev continuously from launch speeds all the way to the top speeds required on a track — in excess of 300 km/h. In practise, this is going to feel a lot like riding a motorcycle that revs from zero to over 40000 rpm. I can’t wait to see what that’s like one day on a track…
Ducati Electric Motorcycle — Context and History
What has led Ducati to building this electric motorcycle? Well, it has been a long time coming (and it’s still a work in progress).
In 2019 CEO Claudio Domenicali had said “the future is electric”. And he said as recently as early 2021 that Ducati is waiting for the right moment before releasing one to the public.
Mr Domenicali, like all of us, knows that battery weight and range are at odds, and he doesn’t want to release either a heavy or low-range motorcycle.
But that doesn’t meant that Ducati still can’t use an electric motorcycle in racing while it works out the kinks for production. Yes, racing is taxing on battery life.
But it’s not as demanding as a consumer, who demands to go 150 miles (at a reasonable minimum) between fill-ups, and doesn’t want recharges to take more than 10 minutes (let’s say, aggressively).
Electric riders compromise currently with partial to total recharge times of 30-60 minutes, making excuses to have a snack — but ICE riders rarely stop for that long (not every stop, and almost definitely not every 150 miles).
The photos and specs released so far show where Ducati (and other leading motorcycle manufacturers — yes, including Harley-Davidson) has an edge over Zero and other new electric motorcycle brands: most of a motorcycle is not the engine.
The Ducati electric motorcycle has at its core a huge battery (weighing half the weight of the motorcycle), an inverter, and a motor. But a lot of what makes a Ducati motorcycle great is the overall balance — the chassis, suspension, and braking, working in concert with the motor to make an excellent machine.
We also have the commentary from Michele Pirro, test rider, who mentioned when testing it at that the bike is “light and already has good balance”, and that “if it weren’t for the silence and for the fact that in this test, we decided to limit the power output to just 70% of performance, I could easily have imagined that I was riding my bike.”
So what does this mean? The Ducati electric motorcycle is already a fast, high-performing bike.
What’s Next for the Ducati Electric Motorcycle?
Ducati stated in their initial press release that their intention is to create a road-going bike. It’s likely that a final consumer Ducati electric motorcycle will be as similar to the MotoGP bike as the current Ducati Panigale V4 is to the 2021/2022 MotoGP bikes.
So basically, we can expect lower-end version of the same bike — it’ll be a) 30 kg / 70 lb heavier, b) have less carbon fibre, c) be high-end but not top-spec (sacrificing a bit of top-end power for battery range), d) extremely good looking, and e) expensive.
How much will it cost? Well, I’d say somewhere around the price of the Ducati Panigale V4R… if not more. That varies per country. Suffice it to say that it’ll be out of reach of most people.
An affordable Ducati electric motorcycle (something like the Ducati Monster) is probably at least 5 years away. I’d give it a decade and say “around 2032”. (Let’s see if this prediction holds up!)
We’re all looking forward to the time when Ducati can get passable range and still an acceptable out of a Ducati electric motorcycle — and maybe they’ll me me put one through its paces…