At the presentation of Ducati's MotoE bike, it was immediately clear that this was a very different project. Energica had put MotoE on a solid footing, creating an exciting racing series with their Ego Corsa bike, and producing a machine that was both reliable and had an acceptable performance window. But the Ego Corsa was a modified version of Energica's road-going sport bike Ego. And Energica itself is a small engineering company specializing in electric bikes.
Ducati's V21L MotoE bike is a very different kettle of fish. Ducati is a major motorcycle manufacturer with a storied history of producing high-performance motorcycles and racing success. They have a long tradition of building a particular kind of internal combustion engine, and no experience with electric vehicles. So what Ducati have done is take the decision to build an electric racing bike, to learn valuable lessons needed to make the switch to production.
The V21L is a pure prototype, perhaps the purest prototype on the grid, in terms of distance from the technology used in Ducati's street bikes. And it is being built with the explicit aim of developing technology and gaining the experience necessary to eventually build an electric bike which consumers – or rather, Ducatisti, some of the most demanding consumers in the world – will cherish and buy.
To that end, Ducati set up a special project team. The team was led by two people, Roberto Canè, eMobility Director, and Vincenzo De Silvio, R&D Director. The project drew from the staff and expertise of both Ducati's road bike division and Ducati Corse, the racing department. Centro Stile Ducati, Ducati's design department, designed the bike, R&D built the bike, and Ducati Corse modeled the bike using aerodynamics and vehicle dynamics simulations and developed the electronics and power, torque, and braking management software.
At the presentation, I got to spend 10 minutes with Vincenzo De Silvio, R&D Director, who led the production side of the V21L project. I had the chance to dig a little more deeply into the process by which racing R&D translates into production. De Silvio gave an insight into what they hope to learn from this project, how the knowledge gained from racing has already translated into production, and how they have already applied those lessons to Ducati's MotoE machine.
Q: How has the information flow - starting from racing and going into R&D – changed in this project? Is it different process? Does anything change?
Vincenzo De Silvio: If I compare to conventional projects, the difference is the fact that usually when developing a conventional bike, there are two ways. In MotoGP, they develop technologies they decide are the best for competition, and then this technology becomes interesting also for production, and they are moved to production as well.
In Superbike, since the bike has to be basically derived from a standard bike, they create a set of requirements, because they think about what will be needed in order to have a successful bike for racing. So they set up requirements that they pass to us, and we as Ducati R&D, we try to make the bike as close as possible to the requirements, also using all the experience that they did in the previous generations. Using all the experience they got in the previous generation.
In this case it has been different in the sense that we started together, we divided the job in two. We made the bike, and they made basically all the electronics and the development of the bike, but we worked together as a unique team. So in this sense, the integration was bigger than usual.
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