Coming weekend, history will be made. For the first time, Grand Prix racing will welcome vehicles not powered by internal combustion engines, as the MotoE series makes its debut at the Sachsenring. It is the very first step on the long path toward a future where batteries replace burning hydrocarbons.
But the series got off to a rocky start, even before the first race. At the second test of the electric bike racing series, a fire started in the special tent containing all of the bikes, batteries, and chargers, destroying everything and wiping out the entire series in one fell swoop.
Since March, Nicolas Goubert, director of the MotoE series for Dorna, Energica, who build the spec electric bikes to be raced in the series, and Enel, who supply the charging technology to maintain the bikes, have worked at double speed to rebuild everything needed for the series, and get it ready for the inaugural race at the Sachsenring.
In Le Mans, I spoke at length to Goubert about the progress made in preparing the series, the challenges they had faced, and the lessons learned from the fire in Jerez. The fire highlighted some of the difficulties of an electric bike series, but just staging the series raises logistical and technical issues which nobody had foreseen.
Here is part 2 of the interview. If you want to read part 1, catch it here.
Q: Any logistics things that you haven’t thought of? Apart from the power supply in the charger, which you already said.
Nicolas Goubert: Yeah. We will be in charge of all the logistics. We’re trying to make the series as easy as possible for them. So basically it will be plug and play for them. They will arrive - when I say “they,” the teams. They will arrive with the crew.
Q: They turn up, set the bike up, the rider gets on the bike and rides, and that’s it?