With a 0-62 mph acceleration time of just 3.1 seconds, the Tesla Model S P85D — Tesla Motors’ flagship all-wheel drive variant of its popular Model S electric sedan — is the fastest production sedan in the world. It’s also the fastest production electric car in the world.
As a consequence, there’s little that can beat it on the drag strip — and there’s little that can evoke the kind of reactions in passengers as they experience the near 1g acceleration of its twin electric motor setup for the first time.
Yet while there are few production cars that can match the Tesla in a stop light derby– save for high-powered supercars three or four times its price — a new electric superbike from Italy has what it takes to take on Silicon Valley’s finest in a straight line.
Enter the Energica Ego, a 2015 model-year high-end, electric motorcycle that has just received official approval as a road-legal motorcycle in the U.S.
To prove its worth, the all-Italian steed recently took part in a special showdown filmed just for its YouTube fans.
Expertly filmed and cut, the sub 2-minute video pits the two-wheeled rocket against a variety of vehicles, including a Tesla Roadster electric sportscar, a Tesla Model S P85D, a BMW 1000RR HP4 Race-Ready motorcycle, a Ferrari 458 Italia and Zero S electric motorcycle (year not specified).
In every case, the Energica Ego easily pulls off the line, accelerating away on the repurposed runway to ultimate victory.
Of course, we’d like to note that the race isn’t all that long: this is a quarter-mile drag race, not a test of top speed (if it were, we suspect the BMW 1000RR, Tesla Model S P85D and the Ferrari would win both, since the Energica Ego is limited to a top speed of 240 kph). But as anyone who has ridden a motorcycle will tell you, while some high-performance cars may have the edge when it comes to sheer straight-line speed, a sports bike is far quicker through corners thanks to its superior braking and acceleration capabilities.
Which brings us nicely to the Ego’s specs. Built in a classic superbike style, the Energica Ego is fitted with a powerful oil-cooled AC electric motor which Energica says produces a maximum of 100 kilowatts at between 4,9000 and 10,500 rpm. Torque meanwhile, is a monstrous 143.8 foot-pounds of torque, delivered from standstill all the way up to 4,700 rpm.
With specifications like that, Energica has decided to forgo a traditional motorcycle gearbox and opt for a single speed transmission, something which it says helps the rider focus on more important things — like enjoying the ride and positioning the bike for the perfect corner.
Like most modern high-performance motorcycles today, the Energica Ego is fitted with a Bremo performance brakes front and rear, with double-floating discs and 4-pistons on the front wheel and a single-disc, 2-piston setup at the rear. ABS from Bosch is standard, while the Ego’s on-board control unit allows for four different regenerative braking maps on throttle roll-off: low, medium, high and off.
In a similar vein, the Energico Ego offers four main modes of riding: Standard, Eco, Rain and Sport. The names do pretty much what they suggest, with Eco providing the maximum range at the expense of a little acceleration, and Sport providing the highest-performance but shortest range ride.
Rain however may take a little explaining.
With so much power to the rear wheels and instant torque, Energica has developed a throttle map which cuts back on early acceleration when riding in the wet, helping riders stay on their bike rather than off it. It’s a clever response to such a powerful bike and one we’ve never encountered on an electric motorcycle before.
In addition, there’s a special Park Assistant mode in which riders can limit power to just 36 pound-feet of torque and a maximum speed of 1.74 mph. Designed to aid in maneuvering the bike for parking, this mode allows both forward and reverse motion, making it easier to move the 258 kilogram (568 pound) sportsbike without dropping it.
Onto the battery pack. The Energica Ego’s 11.7 kilowatt-hour lithium-ion battery pack isn’t the largest we’ve seen on an electric motorcycle, offering a range of 62 miles at 62 mph, 93 miles at 50 mph, and 118 miles at 40 mph. Flat out on a race track, Energica says the Ego’s battery pack can be flattened in less than 32 miles with hard riding, but for more daily commutes and legal riding duties, we’d guess 60-70 miles should be possible given a mixture of different road types.
Where the bike comes into its own however is its recharging capabilities. Fitted with both a Level 2 on-board charging system to recharge the battery pack from a domestic charging station in 3.5 hours, the Energica Ego will be available with optional DC CCS quick charging capability, a feature that Energica excitedly demonstrated recently in an official YouTube video.
At an expected price point in excess of $34,000, the Energica Ego isn’t cheap. Yet with a performance that leaves all but the highest-performance motorcycles and cars in the rear-view mirror, demand for the Italian two-wheeler is high.
Energica says its first batch of 2015 Energica Egos — due in Q3 this year — are almost sold out. Unless you’ve already placed an order, the chances are you’ll have to wait until the end of this year to get your hands on one.
Either that, or book a test drive at one of a handful of Energica Ego dealers around the world.
Are electric motorcycles finally here? Is this the Tesla of the two-wheel world?
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