The Battery of the Ducati MotoE
What does a Ducati MotoE look like in detail? Here's everything we know so far.
The battery is the heart of any electric vehicle because it stores and transfers energy to the engine and all the vehicle systems. On an electric motorbike, the battery pack is also the most constraining element in terms of mass and dimensions: on the Ducati MotoE, it is characterised by a design to specifically follow the natural shape of the bike's central area. The weight of the element is 110 kg; it has a capacity of 18 kWh and a 20 kW charging socket integrated into the tail section. Inside the battery pack are 1.152 cylindrical cells of the "21700" type, the chemistry of which Ducati has not declared. The entire system relies on a voltage of 800V (full charge) to maximise the electric powertrain's efficiency, performance and range. Developing a high-voltage architecture represents something never before tackled on a motorbike. In addition, the battery pack casing is made of carbon fibre and also acts as a stressed part of the chassis, as does the aluminium front frame.
The battery is cooled by a liquid system. This system ensures extremely stable temperatures, with important benefits in consistent performance and recharging times. An electric battery tends to heat up both during use and recharging, which is why the temperature must be kept below a specific value before the start of each of the two phases. To recharge the Ducati MotoE, on the other hand, it is not necessary to wait for the battery pack to cool down completely: the process can begin almost when the bike returns to the box because the cooling circuit keeps the battery cells within the design temperature range both on track and during charging. It takes about 80 minutes to recharge the bike to 45%.
Ducati disclosed all this information through official notes. But, for those who like to delve even deeper into the technicalities, Epaddock has obtained more details. From this point on, you will find the additional information we obtained by interviewing some key people involved in the project.
Let's start with the battery casing. It is made from two carbon shells coupled along the longitudinal axis of the motorbike. Between the two parts, a supporting and reinforcing metal element is inserted for greater battery robustness, which, as mentioned, must perform the function of the central element of the MotoE chassis.
The outer body, when closed, completely isolates the battery elements from the external environment. For this reason, this model of energy accumulator is called a 'fully sealed' type. On the right side is a vent valve to compensate for pressure variations between the inside of the battery and the external environment. On the left side, on the other hand, there is a rupture disc: its function is to allow the escape of gases generated by a possible cells malfunction. The position of the rupture disc was chosen to direct the venting of gases away from the rider.
As we have already seen, the MotoE battery is a structural element of the frame. Frontally it is connected to the Front Frame via two points on each side. At the rear is linked to the two plates connecting the swingarm pivot to the electric motor. The latter is rigidly attached to the lower part of the battery body. The electrical connections are at the end of the battery, the part that extends under the rider's seat.
One of the main features of the Ducati MotoE is the cooling system for the battery. The coolant's circuit, composed of water and appropriate anti-corrosion additives, consists of a radiator, a circulation pump and a highly branched system for heat exchange with the 1.152 cells. The radiator is positioned at the front of the motorbike, as in a normal internal combustion engine model; in a lower position, however, there is a smaller radiator for the electric motor and inverter. As the coolant exits the radiator, it passes through a pump that increases the pressure so that the fluid can pass through the narrow passages of the cooling system inside the battery. From the entry point at the bottom of the battery, the fluid flows in passages that touch the cells to achieve capillary and uniform heat exchange throughout the battery. Once the internal path is complete, the fluid exits the battery again from the lower part to be routed back to the radiator. The main advantage of this system is that it maintains the temperature of the Ducati MotoE battery at its optimum value both on track and during charging. This makes it possible to avoid long pauses for battery cooling between sessions and thus increase the bike's uptime.
Always present on both sides of the battery are the safety lights: green when everything is normal, red when the electrical integrity of the bike is compromised, and only safety personnel are authorised to touch the bike.
The gallery of Ducati's electric motorbike
The battery of the Ducati MotoE is supplied by Podium Advanced Technologies, an engineering company based in Pont-Saint-Martin in Valle d’Aosta (IT), which has been cooperating with Ducati's e-Mobility department for over a year. The role of the Italian company is to carry out development work and supply high-voltage batteries for the MotoE of Borgo Panigale, following the design and project guidelines defined by Ducati.
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