See Ducati Electric Race Bike Prototype Ripping around Vallelunga Leave a comment

  • Ducati released video of its new electric race bike at Vallelunga.
  • The bike will be the sole model competing in the FIM MotoE World Cup next year.
  • Performance is promising: 150 hp, 103 lb-ft from a bike that weighs just 496 pounds—half of the curb weight is the 18-kWh battery.

    Ducati shared details of its new V21L electric prototype race bike today, the motorcycle that will be the sole spec bike in next year’s FIM MotoE World Cup.

    “The first time I got on this Ducati MotoE I was remarkably impressed by its beauty, by its rideability, and by the great lap times we did since the first test,” said test rider Alex De Angelis, one of several riders of different shapes and sizes that Ducati had riding at the track.

    The V21L has a total weight of just 496 pounds, impressive considering it also holds an 18-kWh battery in a carbon-fiber case that acts as a stressed member of the frame (for comparison’s sake the Mitsubishi iMiEV car only has a 16-kWh battery). The battery makes up half the bike’s curb weight, or 242.5 pounds. The lithium-ion battery pack is shaped to conform to the motorcycle’s shape, with its 1152 cylindrical cells of the newer 21700 type, slightly larger than the 18650 cylindrical cells that have been used in most electric cars made today.

    Maximum moto output is listed at 150 hp and 103 lb-ft, which Ducati says will allow it to hit its top potential speed of 171 mph on a race track like Mugello. That circuit has hosted rounds of MotoGP since 1976. The longest straight at Mugello is just over 7/10ths of a mile long, the stretch where the Ducati would have to accelerate, hit the 171 mph mark, and then brake for the next turn, which suggests both acceleration and braking on the V21L will be mind-blowing.

    ducati fim motoe v21l
    The Ducati MotoE Project Team is drawn from the race and production bike teams.


    “Every time you get on the track the bike does better and better and you can really express your full potential,” said De Angelis. “They provide you with a map based on your riding style so both for acceleration and engine braking, they can change all the maps you want based on the track, the type of corner and your riding style. Riding an electric bike is actually quite different from the usual. In exiting slow corners, you have to get back up like in MotoGP, because the acceleration of an electric bike is even stronger than in MotoGP. Only when I came out of the pit the first time with the Ducati MotoE, giving full speed, I realized I had not seen anything yet.”

    The V21L is Ducati’s first electric motorcycle. It’s a prototype right now, but starting in 2023 it will be the sole bike competing in the FIM MotoE World Cup. Ducati will be the sole supplier, with 18 bikes on the grid during each race weekend.

    duacti v21l at vellelunga
    The all-electric Ducati V21L in action at Vallelunga.


    The prototype and all 18 bikes are the result of a cooperation between the Ducati race team and the rest of the Ducati engineering team, the largest such cooperative ever at Ducati.

    Here are a few more specs released today: The V21L is recharged via a 20-kW charge port in the tail. The inverter sits under the seat on the carbon-fiber tail of the bike and weighs just 11 pounds, pulled from an unnamed “electric racing car” (Formula E?). The motor was developed by a supplier to Ducati’s specifications—it weighs 46 pounds and can spin up to 18,000 rpm. The entire system operates at 800 volts for maximum performance and range, Ducati said. The carbon-fiber battery case is bolted into an aluminum front frame while carbon fiber is used for the back half of the bike. The rear aluminum swing arm is similar to that found on the current MotoGP bike, Ducati said. There is one liquid cooling system for the battery pack and another for the motor and inverter.

    It’s not all just for racing, though the prototype they’re working on now is for track-only. Still, Ducati is looking toward an electric future.

    “For Ducati, having the opportunity to be a supplier to the MotoE World Cup is not only an exciting technological venture, but it is also our way of interpreting the challenges of the new millennium,” said Ducati R&D director Vincenzo De Silvio. “Increasing in-house expertise is essential in order to be ready when the battery technology and charging network availability will be sufficient to put the first vehicle into production.”

    And what will that electric future be like? The racing prototype gives a hint.

    “I admit that I was excited when I rode our MotoE for the first time,” said test rider Michele Pirro. “Those were the first laps for the Ducati-branded electric bike and honestly I admit that I had my own misgivings, but after a few meters I had to reconsider, because it was a racing bike. The feeling with the throttle was quite similar to that of MotoGP. As I went through the first three corners I started smiling under my helmet and I thought, ‘If this is just the beginning, surely we’ll have great electric bikes in the future.”

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