Livia Cevolini, CEO of Energica Motor Company, the Italian manufacturer of supersport electric motorcycles and the sole official supplier for FIM Enel MotoE World Cup, on sustainable two-wheeled mobility, how India can accelerate EV adoption, and learnings from Tesla.
Can you reveal the journey of Energica Motor Company from a high-performance component supplier to an electric sportsbike manufacturer?
Energica was born from an entrepreneurial vision of my family between 2008 and 2009. During those years, we began looking at what we thought was the future — like electric vehicles.
We were originally interested in Tesla and the possibility to convert a racing car, but we realised that it was not the right time. In 2009, we took the opportunity to develop a fully electric racing motorcycle and so started with the eCRP project.
After two years of racing that served primarily as technology scouting, in 2011 we started working on the road version — Energica. We started to fit the needs of a street bike with the new electric technology and the differences in the racing market. From there, we arrived at the new version of Energica Ego, the one currently engaged in the international tour of
The design of the bike has played a key role because it is only thanks to the CRP technologies that we were able to make such an important project see reality. Projects that would normally take 4-5-6 years in the big companies in our case were made possible thanks to the CRP technologies developed for aerospace and F1.
Energica Ego Corsa
At present, Energica has three models — Eva, Ego and Eva Esseesse9. What is the demand trend for these electric superbikes?
The demand for electric vehicles is high all round the world. Certainly, the introduction of an electric motorcycles competition and being the single manufacturer for it will increase this demand. From our side, I can say that our Ego superbike has been confirmed as 2018’s best-selling e-motorcycle, followed by the streetfighter Eva. The third model — Eva EsseEsse9 — was voted as 2018’s Best Electric Motorcycle of the Year.
While the company is known for its high-performance bikes, would you also look at the low-cost/entry-level or commuter motorcycle segment?
We are now focusing on the production of our current models and on the MotoE project.
Livia Cevolini has been dubbed the 'female Elon Musk'
India, which is the world’s biggest two-wheeler market, is also the fastest growing automobile market. Are you considering entering this market with your EVs?
India is certainly a very interesting market. At the moment, we have no plans for this country but it will certainly be in our future plans.
India, apart from being a manufacturing hub, has also seen an increasing trend of global MNCs, Tier 1, technology and auto majors setting up R&D and design centres. Does Energica plan to have a similar setup here?
No, we have no plans for this. Energica is headquartered in historic Modena, the Italian motor valley and benefits in countless and immeasurable ways from the close relationship and consultation with parent company CRP Group, a pioneer in the world of international motorsports and a hub of excellence for its state-of-the-art technologies.
Energica Eva 107
We are very proud with what we have achieved in these years and to have carried out our work in our territory. We received a lot of support from the scientific community, so we are proud that our innovation and research is transforming Italy into a hub for sustainable two-wheeled mobility.
India is looking aggressively to switch from IC-engined vehicles to electric and greener vehicles. How do you think the country can achieve a higher rate of adoption for green vehicles?
To see a higher rate of EV adoption (in India), I suggest creation of an ecosystem that includes infrastructure, culture and incentives to start the market. There are some countries where this ecosystem already exists, like the Netherlands, where there is a shared plan (government campaigns, education, incentives and infrastructures).
Racing legend Randy Mamola with an Energica
You are also renowned as the ‘female Elon Musk’ in terms of pioneering EVs in a nascent segment. How do you perceive this?
What we are fighting now is what he was fighting in 2008. Tesla is for sure the one that we have to look at because it is working on motors and performance. It is well-rounded, has very high-quality products and now is conquering the big market. We’re doing the same in our market.
The automotive industry globally has been a male-dominated segment. As the CEO of Energica, what is your message for young women to take up a career in the auto industry? And how do you think women can take leadership roles?
The automotive industry, including motorcycles, is mainly male-dominated, but it’s changing. There are more and more women who are passionate about motors and are demonstrating that they can be very good at the business. I suggest they study and work a lot in order to demonstrate that you are as good as a man, or even better at your own job.
At present, while EVs are being looked upon as the future of green mobility, hydrogen-powered and other alternate fuels are also being explored. What are your views on the same?
There are many options but you need to test them before considering them a right choice. A product intended for the end-customer must comply with numerous tests such as durability.
What are your views on using 3D printed parts and are you utilising the same in your current product portfolio?
Energica prototypes have been developed thanks to CRP technologies like 3D printing. On the series bikes, there are still some pieces in 3D printing but according to the volumes we will replace them, always ensuring excellence in our products.
Bolid-E prototype, in collaboration with Samsung Italia, was showcased at EICMA
You have been selected as the single official partner for the FIM Enel MotoE World Cup. What is your expectation from the same?
Thanks to MotoE that we had in 2018, we will have for the next three years, an element of unique competitiveness. We will be the only company in the world to have an exclusive test bench to test new technical solutions with the best pilots in the world, the very same technical solutions that will then arrive on standard products. We are proud to have been chosen and that our products can have this great advantage.
(This interview was first published in the April 1, 2019 issue of Autocar Professional)
Also read: Energica and Dellorto to develop power units for small and medium electric bikes