The Ducati MotoE
The abbreviation "V21L" in Ducati identifies the first electric motorcycle to compete in the FIM MotoE World Championship starting from 2023. The Bologna-based motorcycle manufacturer will be the sole supplier of the electric class of MotoGP with 18 bikes on the track during each race weekend. In this section of Epaddock, we explore the various aspects of the Ducati MotoE.
On October 21, 2021, Ducati announced that it would become the sole supplier of the MotoE World Championship, the electric class of MotoGP, starting from 2023. The agreement signed with Dorna Sports, organizer and promoter of the MotoGP World Championship of which MotoE is part, has a duration of four years, until 2026.
This is a historic step for the Borgo Panigale motorcycle manufacturer which, following its custom of using racing competition as a laboratory for technologies and solutions that then become reality for all motorcyclists, enters the world of electric bikes starting from the sportiest sector, that of the electric class of the MotoGP World Championship.
Ducati MotoE it is the result of the joint work of the Ducati Corse team and the Ducati R&D designers, led by Roberto Canè, Ducati eMobility Director.
The most critical challenges in developing an electric racing motorcycle are related to the batteries' size, weight, and range. The declared target of Ducati is to make available to all participants of the MotoE World Championship electric motorcycles that are high performing and are characterized by lightweight. The stated focuses of the project, in addition to performance, are weight containment and constant power delivered over the race, also achieved thanks to the attention to the development of a cooling system fit for the purpose.
The technical characteristics of the V21L prototype
The work of the Ducati MotoE team led to the birth of an electric motorcycle with unique technical solutions. Starting with the battery pack, the most binding and characterizing element in terms of masses and dimensions, which on the Ducati MotoE is characterized by a shape specifically designed to follow the natural course of the middle area of the bike. The battery pack weighs 110 kg and offers a capacity of 18 kWh with a 20-kW charging socket integrated into the tail. Inside there are 1.152 cylindrical cells of the "21700" type.
The Ducati MotoE has a total weight of 225 kg (12 kg less than the minimum requirements set by Dorna and FIM) and can count on maximum power and torque figures of 110 kW (150 hp) and 140 Nm respectively, which allowed it to reach a speed of 275 km/h on a circuit like Mugello (Italy).
The inverter, with a low weight of 5 kg, is a unit derived from a high-performance model used in motor racing for electric vehicles, while the motor (21 kg weight and a maximum rotation speed of 18.000 rpm) was developed by a partner following the technical specifications provided by Ducati. The entire system is based on a voltage of 800V (with a fully charged battery pack) to maximize the output of the electric powertrain and, as a consequence, performance and range.
One of the most advanced technical solutions tested on the Ducati MotoE concerns the cooling system. The prototype components are in fact cooled by a particularly sophisticated and efficient liquid system with a double circuit designed to meet the different thermal needs of the battery pack and the motor/inverter unit. This guarantees extreme regularity of temperatures with important benefits in terms of consistency of performance but also in charging times. In fact, it is not necessary to wait for the battery pack to cool to start the process: the Ducati MotoE can be charged as soon as it enters the garage, and it takes about 80 minutes to recharge it up to 45% of its range.
The carbon fibre case of the battery pack also acts as a stressed part of the chassis, like what happens for the Ducati Panigale V4 engine, with an aluminium monocoque Front Frame for the front area weighing 3,7 kg. The rear is composed of an aluminium swingarm weighing 4,8 kg with a geometry like that of the Ducati Desmosedici racing in MotoGP. The rear subframe, which integrates the tail and the rider seat, is made of carbon fibre.
The suspension area features an Öhlins NPX 25/30 pressurized fork with 43 mm diameter upside-down tubes at the front, derived from the Superleggera V4, while an Öhlins TTX36 shock absorber is present at the rear and is fully adjustable. The steering damper is an adjustable Öhlins unit.
The braking system is supplied by Brembo and is sized for the specific requirements of the Ducati MotoE. At the front it is composed of a double steel disc with a diameter of 338.5 mm of increased thickness, which has fins on the internal diameter with the aim of increasing the thermal exchange surface area and improve disc cooling in conditions of extreme use on the track. Two GP4RR M4 32/36 calipers with a PR19/18 radial master cylinder operate on this double disc. At the rear, the P34 caliper acts on a single disc unit 220 mm in diameter and 5 mm thick with a PS13 master cylinder. Teams can also choose to equip their bikes with an optional rear brake control positioned on the left handlebar, which the rider can use as an alternative to the pedal one.
The development process of the Ducati MotoE also involved the Ducati Corse test team led by Marco Palmerini, who worked on the track applying the same methodologies used in MotoGP, thanks also to the support of the riders Michele Pirro, Alex De Angelis and Chaz Davies. Through the work on the electronics, the aim was to obtain a throttle response like that of an endothermic unit and a response from the electronic controls (such as Ducati Traction Control, Ducati Slide Control, Ducati Wheelie Control and throttle/engine brake maps) indistinguishable from that of the racing bikes that Ducati riders are used to.
The work plan of the Ducati MotoE project has already reached an advanced stage of development and will proceed towards 2023, the year in which Ducati will assume the role of sole supplier of the FIM Enel MotoE World Championship with 18 bikes on the track. The next goal for the Borgo Panigale manufacturer will be to take advantage of participation in the most important world electric motorcycle competition to experiment with new technologies, train new skills and study how to create, as soon as technology allows, a Ducati electric vehicle that is sporty, light, exciting and able to satisfy all fans.
The gallery of Ducati's electric motorbike
The technical sheet of the MotoE of Ducati
The MotoE Bike
The Ducati Electric Motor MotoE
The battery of the MotoE of Borgo Panigale
Brembo's braking system for the MotoE
The suspensions for the MotoE of Ducati
In the Technology section, you can find the basic key elements of an electric motorcycle and insights on various topics including the motor and the battery.
Photo and video: Ducati and Epaddock
MotoE World Championship
The ranking of the MotoE 2023
To be updated on the MotoE World Championship, subscribe to Epaddock's Whatsapp broadcast and receive all our news for free on your mobile phone in real time: find out how here.