2016 Energica EVA - FIRST RIDE REVIEW

A softer, gentler electric superbike.

Energica EVA on-road action

Electric superbike sounds like an oxymoron. By the standards we have used to evaluate the two concepts, they should never be combined. Yet Modena, Italy-based Energica Motor Company is making it happen. And it could only happen here, in the so-called "Motor Valley" where Ferrari, Maserati, Lamborghini, and Ducati are all located.

To be correct, it is not Energica itself, but its parent company, the CRP Group, that began the project. Officially, Energica branched out from CRP in 2014, but before that the company sponsored a Moto2 race team. From that experience the engineers laid down the basis of the chassis, while the propulsion system came from their vast knowledge in electronics.

Energica CEO Livia Cevolini regards electric supercar maker Tesla as a valuable indicator that the time is ripe for rapid expansion of the high-performance electric motorcycle market. Energica's first model, the Ego, was introduced in 2014, and can legitimately be called the first true production electric superbike. It is powered by a synchronous, permanent-magnet, oil-cooled electric motor that delivers 100kW/134 horsepower and 144 lb.-ft. of torque. With 100 percent torque on tap at all times, there is no need for a clutch or gearbox.

details of Energica EVA cantilevered single shock on right side arm and swingarm pivot

Cantilevered single shock on right side arm and swingarm pivot.

From the swoopily faired Ego superbike Energica has now derived a naked roadster called the Eva. The chassis is exactly the same, with a Marzocchi 43mm inverted fork, steel-trellis frame, and heavily triangulated cast-aluminum swingarm with Bitubo shock positioned far forward on the right side. Geometry is state-of-the-art with 24 degrees of rake, 100mm of trail and a 57.7-inch wheelbase. Wheels are the customary 17-inch shod with 120/70 front and 180/55 rear Pirelli Diablo Rosso II radials. The braking system include twin 330mm front rotors with radial-mount four-piston calipers and a 240mm rear rotor with two-piston caliper.

From here, the Eva diverts from the Ego’s specs sheet. Seat height is 31.3 inches—.6 of an inch lower than the Ego, which makes the Eva more accessible to shorter/female riders. Weight has not been disclosed, but without a fairing the Eva is presumably fractionally lighter than the Ego, which weighs 569 lbs. But the most relevant difference is power, as the Eva has been detuned to produce 75kW/101 hp and 125 lb.-ft. of torque. Power is supplied by an 11.7kW/h lithium-ion/polymer battery pack. Recharging time plugging into a 110-Volt AC outlet takes 8 hours. Where 60A/330V DC recharging stations are available, recharging time is slashed to 30 minutes.

The morning is very cold when I leave the Energica factory aboard the Eva testbike. Yet even so, my first impression is incredibly positive. Throttle control is extremely precise and power is managed in a totally natural way. With the motor set in Urban mode, torque is impressive, with slingshot-like acceleration, but perfectly under control. When I roll the throttle back, the regenerative braking comes in surprisingly strongly. Then I notice that whenever the test rider leading me out of town shuts off, his brake light starts flashing.

Energica EVA static left-side on test day

The Eva is a confidence-inspiring machine, with strong but absolutely reassuring manners and a beautifully balanced chassis. Coming to the open road, I start probing the speed potential. Again, what is most impressive is the acceleration: Whenever I open it up, I hit 80-85 mph in a flash. The bike isn’t lightweight, but it doesn’t feel heavy. The front end follows my chosen line and keeping the proper balance in relation to lean angle is very instinctive through the accurate ride-by-wire throttle. Unfortunately it began to rain before I could sample the full Sport power mode, verify the claimed 120-mph top speed, or check the range—Energica says the Eva will go 124 miles in Eco mode.

But that’s okay. Testing a new concept bike like the Eva is not all about blasting around at full-speed. What amazed me was its incredible maneuverability at low speed; it can turn on a dime, and I never felt the need to put a foot down to assist the operation. In town, this bike is king because of its acceleration, response, and maneuverability. To make things even easier, it offers a low-speed reverse gear.

We are entering into a cyber motorcycling era.

SPECIFICATIONS
|2016 Energica EVA
ENGINE TYPE|Permanent-magnet AC electric
SEAT HEIGHT|31.3 in.
CLAIMED WEIGHT|Approx. 569 lbs.
BASE PRICE|Approx. 25,000 euros

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Energica EVA action.Energica Photo

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Energica EVA action.Energica Photo

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Energica EVA action.Energica Photo

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Energica EVA static front 3/4 right-side with bags.Energica Photo

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Energica EVA static rear 3/4 left-side with bags.Energica Photo

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Energica EVA static front 3/4 right-side with bags.Energica Photo

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Energica EVA static rear 3/4 left-side with bags.Energica Photo

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Energica EVA static left-side on test day.Energica Photo

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Energica EVA static front 3/4 left-side on test day.Energica Photo

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Energica EVA static rear 3/4 left-side on test day.Energica Photo

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Energica EVA details: Brembo monoblock radial 4 piston caliper and 330mm rotor front disc brake.Energica Photo

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Energica EVA details: super advanced instrumentation here showing selected power mode Sport and regenerative braking mode Medium.Energica Photo

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Energica EVA details: cantilevered single shock on right side arm and swingarm pivot.Energica Photo

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Energica EVA details: dual recharging socket and cooling fan under net screen.Energica Photo

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Energica EVA details: dual plug-in for fast recharging, left socket is for AC standard recharging if it is the only plugged-in.Energica Photo

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Energica EVA details: fast recharging DC socket for 30 min. recharging time.Energica Photo

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Energica EVA details: this image better explains how recharging sockets work, DC is plugged, AC is open.Energica Photo

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Energica EVA details: seat open to access recharging sockets.Energica Photo

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Energica EVA details: electric motor, rated 70kW on Eva and 100kW on Ego, side cover hides gear type primary reduction, on opposite side final transmission chain sprocket pokes behind the case.Energica Photo

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Energica EVA details: steel tubing trellis frame structure looks familiar and very Italian.Energica Photo

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Energica EVA details: rear and front suspensions are both rather standard looking: a heavily triangulated cast aluminum swingarm at the back and a MarzocchI 43 mm male slider fork at the front.Energica Photo

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Energica EVA details: rear and front suspensions are both rather standard looking: a heavily triangulated cast aluminum swingarm at the back and a MarzocchI 43 mm male slider fork at the front.Energica Photo

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Energica EVA details; headlight, handlebar, and mini screen.Energica Photo

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Energica EVA details: double headlight with LED technology units, very powerful.Energica Photo

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Energica EVA studio front 3/4 right-side with lights on.Energica Photo

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Energica EVA studio right sideEnergica Photo

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Energica EVA studio left side.Energica Photo

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Energica EVA studio right side with bags.Energica Photo

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Energica EVA studio right side.Energica Photo

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Energica EVA studio front 3/4 right-side.Energica Photo