Like their four-wheeled cousins, motorcycles are increasingly available in electric versions. And when it comes to battery powered rides, options like Harley-Davidson’s LiveWire or an offering from Zero might come to mind. Another key player is Energica, out of Modena, Italy.
Energica has deep experience delivering electric two-wheeled performance to customers, having launched its first EV motorcycle over a decade ago. With several models worth of development under its belt, the Italian e-moto company is well placed to develop technology beyond that of its competitors. On May 31, Energica announced its newest model—the adventure-focused Experia—would deliver an impressive 261 miles of city range, which is significantly more than any other electric motorcycle yet on the market. Among the electric motorcycle competition, only Zero has been able to crack the 200-mile barrier, with its SR/S model delivering 223 miles of electric range.
As the only chassis and electric-motor supplier for the electric motorcycle racing series MotoE since its inception, Energica has been given an opportunity to develop its bikes at an advanced pace. With noted international sport riders providing feedback, and hundreds of hours of wheel-to-wheel racing competition, Energica has been allowed to develop its new bikes in the crucible of motorsport. While the new Experia is not a track-focused machine, the company has gained knowledge in the development process, spending its school days where giants tread.
The new Experia aims to take on the rapidly expanding adventure touring motorcycle market, dominated for decades by gasoline-powered models like the BMW GS and Ducati Multistrada. It’s a motorcycle segment with fervent enthusiasm and significant competition. Energica is taking a risk by jumping into this competitive field, but based on the numbers, the all-electric Experia makes a compelling case for itself.
Built as a brand new machine from the ground up, the new Experia is a so-called green tourer for the modern rider. Unlike any other electric motorcycle, it can travel more than 100 miles at highway speeds without needing to stop for a charge. Also, unlike the competition, the Experia offers standard onboard charging capacity for Level 1, Level 2, and DC Fast charging. Some Zero models offer 1 and 2, while the much lauded Harley-Davidson-built LiveWire One only offers L1 and DC Fast, skipping over the often useful L2.
While California-built Zero does already offer an electric adventure segment motorcycle in its DS and DSR models, both are built on aged platforms that are eclipsed by the new Experia by pretty much every measure. The DSR is an incredible machine already, and proves that there is room for an electric model in the adventure arena. But with just 163 miles of standard range, and only 70 horsepower available, it doesn’t measure up to the Energica on paper.
While the Experia’s large battery gives it the ability to deliver impressive electric range, it is almost certainly going to also make the bike quite heavy. The LiveWire One, for example, makes do with just 13.6 kWh of usable battery capacity, while the Experia has a larger—and heavier—19.6 kWh battery. Depending on the type of lithium-ion battery used, that extra six kilowatt hours of battery capacity can account for an extra 60 to 100 pounds of rolling weight.
That said, the Experia, as an adventure touring bike, plays to its strengths with that extra weight, because it shouldn’t be expected to handle nearly as well as the sport-oriented LiveWire. With around 100 horsepower and 85 lb-ft of torque (compared to the LiveWire One’s almost identical power numbers) it probably won’t have the same level of straight-line acceleration, solely by dint of the Experia’s extra weight.
“We have focused on the real-world needs of motorcycle riders worldwide, creating an ex-novo state-of-the-art engineering platform,” Giampiero Testoni, CTO of Energica Motor Company said in a release. “We melded high-tech electric mobility with the roaming spirit of the motorcycle traveler. The intention was to create the first electric motorcycle created specifically for long-distance bike lovers. “
To combat some of the battery’s extra weight, Energica worked diligently to get the rest of the Experia’s heft to a minimum. For example, the new synchronous reluctance and permanent magnet electric motor is around 22 pounds lighter than the motor found in Energica’s other earlier models, like the Ego, Eva, or EsseEsse. The new motor is water-cooled for improved thermal efficiency, which also allows the motor to be placed lower in the chassis to help improve center of gravity, and thus the bike’s handling.
Starting at $25,880, the Energica is not inexpensive. But what it will cost you in dollars it makes up for in advanced EV motorcycle tech. In addition to the largest battery on the market, this motorcycle offers seriously competitive rider aids as well. You’ll get seven distinct rider modes, four different levels of switchable EV regenerative braking, and six levels of advanced traction control intervention combined with Bosch cornering-intuitive anti-lock braking.
With an increasing number of adventure touring motorcycles hitting the market every year, including recent highly-anticipated examples like the Harley-Davidson Pan America, or the Ducati Desert X (both powered by gasoline), the Experia has an uphill battle ahead of it to become a sales success. Being the most advanced electric example in the segment, however, has its benefits. It isn’t the first such electric adventurer, and it certainly won’t be the last, but for now it appears to be punching well above its weight.