A wonderful feeling for Max Biaggi and an unusual one: even after a glorious career, the first time is always exciting. The Italian champion won the 250 World Championship four times and the World Superbike title twice. Over 20 years spent on racing bikes: two-stroke, four-stroke at MotoGP™, production-based superbikes and now, the future - test driving an electric motorcycle.
He was able to do this on Sunday 3 June at the Mugello circuit, just before the Gran Premio d’Italia Oakley, one of the biggest events in motorbike racing. The electric motorcycle in question was the Energica Ego Corsa: the model that all competitors will race on in the FIM Enel MotoE™ World Cup, for which Enel is Title Sponsor, from 2019.
In the build-up to the launch of the new competition, each MotoGP™ race this season has been preceded by a demo lap (demonstration round and test) of the Energica Ego Corsa: following the start in Qatar in March, laps took place in Argentina, Texas, Spain and France. And now, of course, in Italy.
Biaggi rode the electric bike with the unmistakable purr and in the colours of the Enel brand on the same 5.2 km race circuit where he has ridden so many times in the world championships. In doing so, il Corsaro - The Buccaneer - as he was called on account of his black suit and his style on the track - obtained two important results.
The first result is technical: his test drive of the electric bike provided important feedback for the technicians and engineers. “Our team has been working hard on the development of the definitive version of the Ego Corsa. We have noted great appreciation and consensus from the riders who have driven it on the demo laps, even if they are still testing the pure road version: everyone is very impressed by the bike’s performance and by its excellent management of the power available,” said Livia Cevolini, CEO of Energetica, the Italian company that produces the sporting two-wheeler chosen for the first ever FIM Enel MotoE™ World Cup.
The specific challenge is to adapt the characteristics of the Ego Corsa, which is based on a model already in production, to what is needed for racing: “Ego Corsa will be an adapted version of the production model (the adaptations to the sporting model will make it more powerful than the same motorbike that is on sale to the public - ed), so it will have a great deal in common with the Ego that is currently available commercially. We have been concentrating on its drivability on the track, that is, on the specifics for racing. On the battery front, we are moving forward with developments that will lead to increased range and a reduction of the overall weight. As for the performance, we are not far from the endothermic motorcycles, and actually we perform far better in some cases, like the engine coupling,” Cevolini added.
The second important result is image: Biaggi demonstrated the potential of two-wheeled e-mobility, in terms of both entertainment and sustainability – to the public. The numerous spectators present, and the countless fans watching the race live, followed his every move.
Out on the track with him was Enel technology, in partnership with Energica, and in particular, the Enel quick charge system linked to our smart e-mobility platform which is able to fully charge the battery in less than 30 minutes. “The motorcycle can reach up to 80/85% of its full charge with direct current at 20kW in approximately 20 minutes. The charging phase is a key element in the busy schedule of a championship weekend and it is essential that it be as quick as possible to allow for the free practice and qualifying sessions,” commented Giampiero Testoni, Technical Director of Energica.
For the FIM Enel MotoE™ World Cup, Enel will also supply another innovative smart charging solution: the use of a mobile charging pack means that the bikes will be able to charge anywhere on the circuit, and not just in the garages.
We obviously don’t know which riders will dominate next season’s races, but in the meantime the winner is sustainability. The innovation that Enel develops for the racing bikes is also a source of value for commercial models. As Enel CEO Francesco Starace explained: “Our contributions in terms of industrial solutions to the MotoGP™, the premier motorcycle championship, and to the MotoE, the exciting new challenge in the motorcycle sporting world, will allow Enel to continue studying innovative solutions in the field of sustainable transport.”