Energica comparison with Tesla: CEO wants competition

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Energica comparison with Tesla: CEO wants competition



Energica comparison with Tesla: CEO wants competition

Energica compares itself to Tesla
Energica boss wants more competition

In an interview, Livia Cevolini, CEO of Energica, compared the situation of her company with that of Tesla a few years ago and would like more competition.

Jens Kratschmar


In this article:

  • Energica like Tesla?
  • Energica with its own battery development
  • Cell structure is unique
  • Energica not quite like Tesla
  • Who is Ideanomics?
  • Competition welcome
  • Conclusion

Runs at Energica: The exclusive contract for MotoE has been extended until the end of 2022 and the Italians are currently celebrating an investment of the equivalent of 11 million euros from the American company Ideanomics. Besides, could Energica sell as many motorcycles in the first two months of 2021 as in all of 2019. Despite these successes, Livia Cevolini, CEO of Energica, currently feels a bit like Tesla a few years ago: “(…) when you are alone you have no competition and no real market. When you start to have competitors, you have a market and you can grow faster.”, she said in a recent interview.

Energica like Tesla?

A comparison with Tesla naturally attracts attention. In the case of Energica, as one of only two manufacturers that exclusively builds electric motorcycles and sells them worldwide, this is understandable. After all, a few years ago Tesla was the only automaker that had a small but purely electrically powered range and was on the market with no real competitors. Nonetheless, Tesla has continued to drive research and development in battery technology, making it a benchmark today. How far Energica is in terms of research and development cannot yet be precisely stated, despite the very good test results in MOTORRAD. Nevertheless, a look far behind the scenes shows: Energica goes to great lengths. The experiments in battery technology in particular win recognition from even a physicist with a doctorate in this technology.

Energica with its own battery development

For the 2020 model year, Energica was able to increase the capacity of the three available models by a good 50 percent to 21.5 kWh while saving a good five percent in weight. This is possible, among other things, because the development and further development of the batteries take place in-house. The batteries are currently made up of cells with nickel-manganese-cobalt (NMC) as the cathode material, since such a high energy density and many charging cycles can be easily combined. Nevertheless, the engineers are experimenting with new materials for the chemical structure. Including lithium cobalt oxide (LCO), lithium iron phosphate (LFP) or lithium nickel cobalt aluminum oxide (NCA). As an alternative cathode material, these new mixtures are currently not feasible for use in an electric motorcycle, either for reasons of stability or the construction of available cells. The next big step for Energica is the solid-state battery, which is also expected in the automotive industry.

Cell structure is unique

Energica has relied on so-called pouch cells for the construction of the batteries since the beginning. Pouch cells have a thin, light housing made of thin sheet aluminum, almost foil. As a result, they combine the advantage of high thermal conductivity, a simpler structure due to fewer parts, higher deformation tolerance and a certain degree of freedom in the design of the actual battery housing. Technically, pouch cells are considered to be the design with the highest potential in terms of energy density.

In contrast, for example, competitor Zero, like many car manufacturers, relies on prismatic cells. Their skin is also made of aluminum, but each cell is constructed like a stable cassette. This limits the number of cells and thus the potential energy density per battery housing, but gives a high level of resistance to mechanical influences. With this in mind, Energica’s architecture for two-wheelers is unique.

Energica buys the individual pouch cells – only logically – but the batteries are built in the factory, which explains the high proportion of the costs for the battery in the vehicle. A good 40 percent of the price is for the power storage unit, which, however, has a capacity of up to 1,200 charging cycles or the equivalent of a good 200,000 kilometers. And even then, 80% of the previous capacity is still available. Internal combustion engines that pack such mileage without revision are rare.

Energica comparison with Tesla: CEO wants competition


Energica Eva Ribelle in the driving report

Goes longer, goes faster

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Energica not quite like Tesla

Despite the constant further development of its own technology, the direct comparison with Tesla lags a little: Tesla has already sold the Model S very well without competition, was able to quickly establish itself on the market, penetrate it and thus exert pressure on the combustion industry. Strongly supported by their own problems with diesel engines and the subsequent political U-turn to promote e-mobility with unprecedented consistency. The motorcycle industry has not yet reached this point of rethinking.

Nevertheless, the pioneers’ stamina and the will to put electromobility on two wheels in a high quality and sporty way must be given maximum credit: A separate world championship in the MotoGP premier class with constant development of technology is a step and commitment that is missed by established manufacturers. When it comes to motorcycles, racing can still be a laboratory, and Energica seizes this opportunity.

Who is Ideanomics?

Ideanomics Mobility is a service provider that makes it easier for commercial fleet operators to adopt electric vehicles by adding Ideanomics to its business model “Sales to Financing to Charging” (S2F2C) offers vehicle procurement, financing and leasing as well as energy management solutions. In other words: make it easier for large companies and leasing companies to take electric cars and motorcycles across the board into fleets.

Competition welcome

Against the background of the 11 million euros that Investor Ideanomics is investing and thus holding 20 percent of the shares, Cevolini formally appeals to the motorcycle industry to also address electromobility on two wheels for the European market and thus the market will emerge and grow through competition to let. Energica wants to maintain and confirm its leadership role on one of these, she continues.

Energica comparison with Tesla: CEO wants competition


Zero SR / F Premium in the top test

Electric motorcycle in an intensive check

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In addition to Energica, may Zero Motorcycles – also part of it for 15 years – not to be forgotten. And the rest? Honda has just published its plan to stop selling internal combustion engines in cars from 2040 onwards and Kawasaki keeps up the image of the Endeavor EV with occasional teasers, flanked by a few patent applications. Smaller manufacturers like Triumph are either working on their own premium concept or return like First of all, Ducati is turning its back on e-mobility. The Pierer Group as the mother of KTM, Husqvarna and GasGas seems to be more differentiated here and sees electromobility mainly in inner-city areas as assertive. Harley-Davidson has taken a special step with its last step: The company founds a whole company under this name based on its only electric model LiveWire, which will then only produce electric motorcycles.

opinion poll

Which electric concept on two wheels is the right one for you?

Voted 9060 times

If so, then only a powerful electric motorcycle.

I can imagine an electric scooter for commuting and city traffic.

A small, agile electric moped is definitely fun.

None at all.


The Tesla comparison doesn’t help Energica. It is much more important to focus on your own strengths and challenges. On the way to profitability, the Italians need staying power, a lot of patience and, above all, further investments. The bottom line is that all of these signs are set at Energica and we hope that the mobility transition can be shaped by two-wheelers.

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