NEW YORK CITY — It’s an ultra-fast Italian electric motorcycle, zero to 60 in less than three seconds (faster than a Tesla Model S), with a lot of Formula One DNA and a female CEO with an engineering degree. The bike is coming to the United States next year. Now that’s a story!
Lydia Cevolini with the Ego at the Luxury Review in Manhattan. (Photo: Jim Motavalli)
Lydia Cevolini, 36, is the third generation in her Modena, Italy family to have racing in her blood. The family business, CRP Group, supplies and fabricates (including an innovative 3-D printing process) for “Motor Valley” companies like Ferrari, Maserati and Lamborghini. Lydia grew up in that environment, and working with engines and launching an electric vehicle company doesn’t seem all that unusual to her, but I can't think of any other such enterprises headed by a woman.
In New York for the Luxury Review, with the latest from Lamborghini and Maserati in the background, Cevolini told me she originally launched the company with the intent of building an electric car, but soon realized the technology wasn’t as far along as she thought and a motorcycle might be a better starting point. The company started building a racing version in 2010, and then the street offering in 2012.
The Ego's display will include Bluetooth connectivity. (Photo: Jim Motavalli)
The Energica Ego Superbike is the result, and it’s aimed squarely at the U.S. market. The sales goal is 300 the first year, 1,600 the next. “The U.S. is the biggest market, and it’s more open-minded,” Cevolini said. “They’re enthusiastic about what we’re doing over here. Europe is more traditional.” Still, European sales are envisioned here, with Italy and the Netherlands as targets. They might want to take some to Norway, the EV capitol of Europe.
Cevolini said she’s following the Tesla model, introducing an upmarket version of the bike first, and more affordable models later. The base model is $34,000, but there will also be a limited-edition 45 model (45 being the number of years CRP has been in business) for $68,000.
The limited edition Energica Ego 45. (Photo: Energica)
The Energica has been to Tesla, where it was received warmly, and company co-founder Martin Eberhard proclaimed it a beauty. It’s quite a bike, with carbon fiber fairings, Brembo brakes with ABS, aluminum forged wheels, and 3-D printed materials with special ceramic coatings.
According to Carlo Iacovini, a company spokesman, there’s an 11.7 kilowatt-hour lithium-ion battery sourced from “the east” (he won’t be specific), 136 horsepower and 144 foot pounds of torque from the 100-kilowatt motor. The speed is limited to 150 mph, and the level of regenerative braking can be dialed in. Energica has a partnership with ChargePoint and its 18,000 charging stations, so plugging in shouldn’t be a problem. The fast-charging capability means the bike can go from empty to full in 20 minutes.
The Ego bike's stand was there so they could spin the tires off the ground. (Photo: Jim Motavalli)
Iacovini said he doesn’t consider existing electric motorcycle companies like Zero (and the many scooter ventures) to be direct competitors, because his bike is so much faster. They might disagree; I surveyed the electric motorcycle field for MNN here. Most can hit around 100 mph, with the ability to reach 150 being more about bragging rights than any actual opportunity — but speed sells. “We expect to capture 50 percent of the U.S. market,” he said.
Cevolini posed for pictures sitting on the Ego. She doesn’t actually ride, citing a serious accident when she was 18. Her chariot of choice is the BMW i3. But she’s saving up for a Tesla Model S.
Motorcycle.com tested the bike on video and liked it a lot — not minding the lack of a shifter and clutch (EVs don’t need them):
Related on MNN:
- Why the prices for electric cars are insane (in a good way)
- Why some states are selling more electric cars than others
- Porsche's first vehicle was an electric — and that was back in 1898