Ducati has started production of the V21L electric race bikes for the 2023 FIM Enel MotoE World Championship.
This is Ducati’s first stab at building electric motorcycles, driven by the Italian manufacturer taking over from Energica as the sole provider of bikes for the championship.
After a year of test rides by Michele Pirro, Alex De Angelis and Chaz Davies, production started in December, and the 23 units (18 race bikes and five spares) will be ready by mid-February.
MotoE teams and riders have two tests scheduled for 6-8 March at Jerez, and 3-5 April at the Montmelò circuit in Barcelona. The race debut will take place at the French Grand Prix on Saturday, 13 May.
Ducati call the new bike ‘the world's most technological, refined and sophisticated electric motorcycle’, which is pretty much what you would expect from race bikes at this level. It also raises the question of when we will see the first road-going electric bike from Ducati.
To get a partial answer to that, you can read between the lines of what Claudio Domenicali, Ducati CEO, said about the significance of this project: “The start of production of the Ducati MotoE is a historic moment for our company, which with this project is thoroughly studying the technologies of the future for the world of motorcycling. It is an important area of experimentation, in which we are investing to build know-how, so that we will be ready when battery technology should allow the creation of an exciting electric road bike with the weight, performance and range that enthusiasts expect from a Ducati. We are therefore embarking on this new adventure with the aim of developing the people and skills within the company to shape what the character of a future Ducati electric road bike might be. The MotoE project represents a decisive step for Ducati to contribute to the reduction of CO2 emissions on the product side, alongside research into synthetic fuels (eFuel) that can reduce the total CO2 emissions of internal combustion engines to zero. Environmental sustainability is something that all individuals and all companies must consider a priority if the delicate balance of the planet is to be preserved. Ducati is committed to this also at industrial level, and the construction of the new Finitura e Delibera Estetica area classified as Nearly Zero Energy Building is just the latest example.”
It will be interesting to see what Ducati’s electric future will look like. Whatever it will be, Ducati will face strong competition from the likes of electric-only manufacturer Zero Motorcycles, and Energica, the previous bike supplier of MotoE.