The difference is that you can easily hit, and exceed, highway speeds, then sustain them without turning yourself into a smear on the road, or burning down the house.
Where electric vehicles really turn the screw is exactly that: Torque. There’s 109hp, which is about as much as a decent 600 to 900cc midweight should make, but the 200Nm of torque is outrageous – it’s twice what the BMW F 900 R makes, and that bike is no slowpoke.
Since you don’t need to faff about with a clutch or gearbox, it launches right off the line with hilarious, neck-straining quickness – Energica claims 3.0 seconds flat, which is quicker than many a luxury performance car. Just like a BEV, the disconnect between the speed you’re doing, and the total lack of engine noise, is very entertaining.
In fact, I think the Energica is possibly the bike that’s easiest to get nicked for speeding on. 70km/h and above all sound the same, even if you’re deep into license-shredding territory (we presume). The top speed is maxed out at 200km/h.
There are riding modes – Eco, Urban, Rain, and Sport – but the torque is ever-present in all of them, just slightly blunted in the lesser modes, with traction control and ABS upped accordingly.
Also accordingly, the Energica is better the faster you’re riding. It’s a heavy thing, at around 270kg, you have to keep in mind that while it looks like a middle-weight naked bike, it’s as heavy as a BMW R 1250 GS Adventure.
So at urban speeds, it handles decently but nowhere near as agile as a petrol-powered midweight, and on the really tight stuff you need to hang off more to get it with your programme, while at higher speeds that translates into a pleasing balance of handling and stability.
Since the massive torque makes light of the bike’s weight in a straight line, we can see some riders being caught out on a hot approach to a corner. You do need to take a few corners to recalibrate your brain and riding style to suit, and at least the top-shelf Brembo radial brakes that provide excellent stopping power, even with one finger on the lever.
Another bonus is parking: The Energica isn’t that hard to push around, since it’s not bulky. To help you out further, there’s even a manuver mode, with reverse and forward at parking speeds.
The SS can hack it on range, there’s no problem there. On our ride of more than 100km, with bursts of spirited riding and plenty of highway work – where EVs sometimes falter – brough 7.0kWh/100km, which is good for 270km on a single charge. That’s plenty far and further than many regular motorcycles.
By our count, it should make the Energica about seven times less expensive to run, for fuel alone, than a normal bike.
We also tested DC fast charging at SP Power’s public chargers, and it brought the bike from 40 percent to full in around 40 minutes. But to get the best out of it, like an electric car, you will need somewhere to ‘slow’ charge it, preferably overnight.
So it has great range, behaves like a bike should, and it’s fun to ride in its own way, with the extra upside that your neighbours will never ever complain and your eco-conscience is spotless. But beside needing somewhere to charge, what are the downs?
Besides some minor build quality niggles, at S$69k OTR, it’s in the league of a luxury European performance bike, so it’s definitely not cheap. And at that price, you should expect a six-axis IMU with advanced safety features such as cornering ABS. The 4.3-inch TFT display is bright and clear, but the font and menu system need some work – bigger speedo digits would be a good place to start. Since the charging port is under the seat, there’s no stowage space at all.
What about handouts? Unlike BEVs, which get up to S$45k off from VES and EEAI, there are none for electric motorcycles, well, #becausemotorcycles.
The road tax isn’t exorbitant, at S$264 per annum, but might be in a few years. Under the LTA’s new rules, electric bikes – like cars – pay an extra flat fee to road tax. Now until the end of 2021, it’s S$50 extra (part of the S$264).
But for 2022 it’s an extra S$100, and in 2023 onwards, a sizeable S$200 per year. As nonsensical as it sounds, the LTA says it’s to “to partially recover for the fuel excise duties paid by equivalent ICE motorcycles. This will enhance parity in the treatment of ICE and electric vehicles, until we are ready to introduce a distance-based tax.”
I mean, let’s just forget the fact that the prime reason someone would want to buy this is similar to owning a Tesla – they want electric, sustainable performance at the cutting edge precisely because it’s not gas powered. But ours is not to wonder why, again.
At its best, the Energica is punchy, energetic, and thrilling to ride, and very much captures the spirit of motorcycling in its own futuristic way. It’s a properly fun motorcycle whose biggest trick happens to be running on electricity rather than gas. And while that might be a clever trick now, in a few years, it’s going to be the only game in town.
|Battery type / capacity||18.9kWh lithium ion|
|Range||230km combined average|
|Charge Type / Time||3kW AC / 7 hours|
|Fast Charge Type / Time||20kW DC Fast Charge / 1 hour|
|Agent||Ifyni Pte Ltd|
|Verdict||Takes some getting used to, but the performance on tap is an exciting experience in its own way. If this is the future of motorcycling, sign us up.|
*OTR = On The Road, inclusive COE, Road Tax sans insurance