The trident of Ducati's strategy: MotoE, E-Fuels and Hydrogen

The trident of Ducati's strategy: MotoE, E-Fuels and Hydrogen
Ducati MotoE for the World Cup 2023
Ducati MotoE for the World Cup 2023 (Photo: Ducati)

On the day of the presentation of the prototype for the MotoE, the CEO of Ducati, Claudio Domenicali, illustrated the various directions that are being explored in Borgo Panigale to produce zero-emission vehicles: electric motorcycles, E-Fuels and Hydrogen.

The initials "V21L" in Borgo Panigale identifies the first Ducati electric motorcycle, a prototype that will compete in the FIM MotoE World Cup starting from 2023, of which the Bolognese motorcycle manufacturer will be a partner as a sole supplier with 18 bikes on the track during each race weekend.
In the official presentation of the Ducati MotoE which took place a few days ago, the CEO of Ducati, Claudio Domenicali, illustrated the various directions that are being explored in Borgo Panigale to produce zero-emission vehicles.
Ducati's strategy, Domenicali explained, involves electric motorcycles, fuels from renewable sources (the so-called E-Fuels) and Hydrogen, both as fuel and in fuel cells to produce electricity.
MotoE represents how Ducati has decided to explore electric mobility to gain a competitive advantage in this market. The MotoE project has strategic importance for Ducati as it allows it to develop skills for its future and to experiment with technological solutions by racing, up to transferring them to production electric motorcycles.
On the E-Fuels side, with the MotoGP moving to 40% E-Fuels from 2024 and 100% of this type of fuels from 2027, Ducati will develop the skills necessary for zero-emission internal combustion engines.

The electric motor of the MotoE of Ducati
The electric motor of the MotoE by Ducati (Photo: Ducati)

Regarding the Hydrogen, Domenicali explained that Ducati, together with several Japanese manufacturers, is exploring the use of this substance as a fuel. “It is very interesting for us as motorsport fans that hydrogen can also be used to burn in a conventional engine. The Japanese are doing tests in this sense, we are gaining experience with this and so it's an interesting field."
On this side, the challenge is to produce “green” hydrogen from renewable sources. Currently, most hydrogen is of the “brown” type, ie. produced from hydrocarbons or by electrolysis using electricity generated from traditional sources. On the other hand, “green” hydrogen is produced by electrolysis from water using energy obtained from renewable sources (ie. solar or wind energy). An example of a plant to produce “green” hydrogen is the one that Shell will build in Rotterdam by 2025 and that will become the largest plant of its kind in Europe.
“Hydrogen is a very fascinating fuel,” said Domanicali, “sometimes even too good, because it catches fire very quickly, so it's not an easy fuel. In terms of combustion, it is completely carbon free, so if you look at a piston that has burned hydrogen, it is completely clean and there is no carbon residue anywhere. It is a very nice and clean engine and the hydrogen burns very fast, so it is very interesting for high rpm engines.”

Ducati MotoE track tests
Two prototypes of the Ducati MotoE during the tests on track (Photo: Ducati)

Moving on to illustrate in detail the prototype of the first electric motorcycle by Borgo Panigale, this is what the managers of Ducati declared at the event.

Claudio Domenicali (Ducati CEO)
“A few weeks ago I had the extraordinary opportunity to ride the Ducati MotoE on the track and I immediately realized that I was living in a historic moment. The world is going through a complex period and environmental sustainability is an element that all individuals and all companies must consider a priority if we want to preserve the delicate balance of the planet. As Ducati, we have grasped this need and we went in search of a challenge that would allow us to contribute to the common goal of reducing CO₂ emissions and at the same time to keep faith with our DNA linked to racing. We agreed with determination to develop the most performing electric racing bike that current technology makes possible and to use this project as a laboratory in which to build our future. The result we have achieved is surprising. As soon as I sat on the bike I realized the quality of the work done by the team and when I returned to the garage I felt a deep sense of pride for what we were once again able to achieve.”

Vincenzo De Silvio (Ducati R&D Director)
“For Ducati, having the opportunity to become suppliers of the FIM MotoE™ World Cup is not only a technologically exciting venture, but also the best way to interpret the challenges of the new millennium. Racing competition represents the ideal terrain on which to develop innovative technologies that will then transfer to production motorcycles. At this moment, the most important challenges in this field remain those related to the size, weight, autonomy of the batteries and the availability of the charging networks. Ducati's experience in the FIM MotoE™ World Cup will be a fundamental support for product R&D, together with the physiological evolution of technology and chemistry. Helping the company's internal expertise to grow is already essential today to be ready when the time comes to put the first street electric Ducati into production.”

Ducati MotoE the project team
Roberto Canè, Ducati eMobility Director with the MotoE team (Photo: Ducati)

Roberto Canè (Ducati eMobility Director)
“I remember the birth of the MotoE project and every phase of the composition of the work team well, with the involvement of Ducati Corse colleagues and the search for contacts within the Volkswagen Group who could give us suggestions on how to develop this project. To make this bike we followed the same procedure that we usually follow on a production bike. We started by defining the design of the bike and in parallel the technical office began to design the various vehicle components. The initial brief was to create a racing bike that respected the minimum performance characteristics required by Dorna. As a matter of fact, this project has made and is making the whole team involved fall in love and is pushing us to create a bike with better characteristics than initially requested by the organizer.”

The test on track

The viceo of the Ducati MotoE in action at the Vallelunga circuit (Source: Ducati)

Photo and video: Ducati

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