If you’ve ever been woken up by a neighbour, perhaps one that does not grasp the concept of overcompensation, revving the engine of his superbike at 3AM you’ll know that petrol engines can be rather loud. So loud, in fact, that they all but resemble the howling of a banshee, especially when you have to be at work in 3 hours. This banshee like screaming is, however, a trademark of MotoGP races, and rather appreciated by diehard fans.
But word has got out that MotoGP is adding an E to one of their divisions, which, shrewdly, stands for electric. That’s MotoE, which stands beside the equally shrewdly named Moto3, Moto2, and MotoGP.
The move has already drawn some backlash from MotoGP fans who aren’t happy unless their ears are bleeding like sprinklers while attending a race. But, it turns out that there are more than a few benefits to vehicles with electric engines, standing opposed to the admittedly considerable negatives.
It’s Just Not Fast
Facts are facts, and it is simply undeniable that electric engines do not have the power of gasoline engines. The multimillion dollar gasoline superbikes have obscene tops speeds, clocking in at somewhere around 220mph. The Italian Energico Ego, the model that is to be adapted for MotoE racing specifications is not a machine to be sneezed at, and is certainly impressive in design and performance. But its top speed of 140mph simply doesn’t come close to its gasoline counterparts.
It’s a reality that cannot be overlooked, and is clearly something that MotoGP itself is aware of. This is likely why they have been slowly, gently, introducing the idea to fans. A number of MotoGP veterans have been demonstrating the potential of electric bikes, gradually making the concept more palatable. Industry legend, Loris Capirossi, has been doing much of the testing, and gone out of his way to speak on the performance of the Energico Ego.
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Like Riding The Wind
Will the Energico hit 240mph? Not in it’s wildest dreams. What it will do however is change the way a performance superbike is viewed at its very core. On describing what it feels like to ride an Energico, Capirossi painted a vivid picture. According to him, the lack of clutch and gearbox means very little, and it’s something he very quickly came to accept. Especially, he concluded, when you are faced with the torque of the bike, which is every bit as satisfying as its gasoline cousin.
All this torque, of course, comes without the roar of a monstrous engine. And picturing this reality conjures up an image that resembles literally riding the wind. The performance of a superbike, perhaps not MotoGP standards, but without the cacophony of a gas engine. The superbike reimagined if you like.
Costs Way Down
Riding the wind is a fantastic mental image, but not the biggest benefit that MotoE will bring to the party. The biggest plus is a monetary one, and a benefit that cannot be denied. Electric engines bring the costs of running a world class racing-ready bike down massively. This in turn opens up the sport to an enormous new market, which will likely rejuvenate all divisions of MotoGP racing to a significant degree.
In the four-wheel world, the Tesla S P100D is heading up the E division series, organised by Electric GT, so, it seems it was only a matter of time before the world of two wheels caught up. Either way, MotoE is an incoming reality, but how fans will really respond remains to be seen.
If anything, those who suffer from those aforementioned neighbours with the loud bike will certainly be having a far more peaceful sleep. Assuming electric superbikes catch on in a big way that is.