The start of the Moto-e World Cup electric motorcycle racing series has taken another step closer to reality. Today, the Italian manufacturer Energica was named as official supplier for the one-make series due to start in 2019.
Energica had been one of a number of suppliers considered for the task of supplying the new series, but had won the contract based on their experience and ability to supply a minimum number of bikes.
The series will start out as a single-make championship, but as Corrado Cecchinelli told MotoMatters.com earlier this year, there is a chance it will be opened up to multiple manufacturers after a few seasons. "Proper electric motorcycle racing is so young and so far in time to me, that we are actually considering starting with a single spec series, in the hope that it will prove to be a good formula. Then maybe open it in the future or not, this depends," Dorna's Director of Technology said.
The fear of having an open championship is that initially, the disparity between the entries would be so large that it would make for poor racing. "It will not start as an open formula with different solution prototypes, because this is something too big that needs big investment, or to have different players and so on. You can have very different levels from different suppliers which could make bad racing. So if we start, we start with a single-spec formula, and maybe we will consider opening it up in the medium term where we realize racing makes sense."
The TT Zero is evidence of how difficult it is to have competitive racing among mulitiple manufacturers. In the 2017 TT Zero (PDF results here), riders finished minutes rather than seconds apart after a 19-minute race. The gap between the two Mugens which finished first and second was 42 seconds. The gaps behind the two Mugens at the TT Zero were even bigger: 50 seconds to third, 1'43 to fourth, 5'36 to fifth, 5'40 to sixth, 9'29 to seventh, 10'01 to eighth, the final entry. The eight place finisher took 50% longer to complete the lap than the winner.
If Dorna are to make a success of electric bike racing, they cannot afford to have the series be uncompetitive. That is why they have opted for a single bike. They already face a challenge getting an audience raised on noise to accept the high-pitched whine of electric vehicles, rather than the ear-shattering howl of four strokes, and regard close racing as key to overcoming this hurdle.
The press release announcing Energica as the single bike supplier appears below:
Energica to supply motorcycles for FIM Moto-e World Cup
Italian innovator Energica will be the single manufacturer for the FIM Moto-e World Cup when engines switch on in 2019
The FIM Moto-e World Cup is becoming a reality in 2019, ushering in the beginning of a new era for two-wheeled motorsport: competition on electric motorcycles. Dorna is delighted to announce that the supplier for this new and exciting prospect will be Italian innovator Energica. The model that will be used by teams in the new competition will be a tuned version of Energica Ego.
Energica Motor Company, based in the motorsport-rich area of Modena, created the world’s first Italian racing-bred electric motorcycle and has since redefined the possible on the street and within the sector. Working in perfect harmony with the experience, passion and expertise of parent company the CRP Group, Energica and the Ego will provide the FIM Moto-e World Cup with world-beating performance but zero emissions – taking high-octane yet electric-powered competition from concept to thrilling, high-speed reality.
Vito Ippolito, FIM President, comments: "The FIM is very happy to support the development of new technologies, of which the new FIM Moto-e World Cup is an example. Energica is proving itself to be a reliable and expert leader in this sector and with the highly qualified support of Dorna we are sure that we are taking the road to success."
Livia Cevolini, CEO Energica Motor Company S.p.A, says: “We are proud to have been chosen by Dorna and we are already committed to this project. The passion for engines is what brought us here, to build new dream vehicles right in the beating heart of the Italian Motor Valley, Modena, Italy. We took the electric field to another level: each Energica undergoes quality control and performance tests, and our R&D department is always focused on new technologies and their practical application. Our history comes from racing, our passion for this sector has never faded. Moto-e is an excellent project. After all, it is what we hoped since our racing years, now it can be managed professionally thanks to Dorna and its unique and long-lasting experience.”
Carmelo Ezpeleta, CEO of Dorna Sports, adds: “The FIM Moto-e World Cup is a new and exciting project for Dorna, and it makes us very proud to announce Energica will be the supplier in this new venture. We believe in excellence, quality and performance and we cannot think of a better collaborator with whom to launch the FIM Moto-e World Cup. Energica are an industry-leading and innovative company and we look forward to the incredible spectacle of electric-powered racing together.”