What is MotoE? | Here’s everything you need to know
MotoE is one of the latest editions to the MotoGP race weekend. This FIA-sanctioned racing format runs as a feature series alongside the main show and with its third year coming to an end, it has gained a lot of attention in motorsport. MotoE or as officially known as the FIM Enel MotoE World Cup was inaugurated in 2019, but found itself delayed after a fire destroyed all the competition motorcycles. However, this setback was quickly sorted and since then, MotoE has been the hub for research and developments in the field of electric motorcycling. A season in MotoE consists of seven races that runs on the same tracks as MotoGP. So, without much further ado, let us get deep into the electrifying waters of MotoE.
The 18 FIM Enel MotoE World Cup riders use the Energica Ego Corsa motorcycle to battle out the championship title. It is built by the Energica Motor Company which was officially founded in 2014 with the sole purpose of creating high-performance sustainable motorcycles.
The power of a MotoE bike comes from a permanent AC magnet motor that generates 158bhp and 215Nm of torque from standstill. Top speed comes in at 270kmph which is at par with its sister class, Moto2 where the top speed is around 295kmph. The juice for power is stored in a 20 kWh High Voltage Lithium-Ion battery which has its own air intake to keep it cool during a MotoE dogfight. But here’s the spec sheet of the Energica Ego Corsa for more information:
Motor: Permanent Magnet AC, Oil Cooled
Top Speed: up to 270kmph – (168 mph)
Torque: 215 Nm from 0 to 5000rpm
Type: High Voltage Lithium-Ion
Capacity: approx. 20 kWh
Recharging: Fast Charge DC Mode 4
Wheels: Forged Aluminium
Fairings: Composite material Windform®
Frame: Steel Tubular Trellis
Swingarm: Cast Aluminum
Tyre: Michelin MotoE developed tyres
Front Fork: Ohlins FGRT, adjustable in preload rebound and compression, with pressurised cartridge
Rear Suspension: Ohlins AG PRX, adjustable hydraulic preload, rebound and compression
Brakes: 330mm steel T-Drive rotors (f), Brembo GP4 Nickel-plated four-piston monoblock radial-mount callipers, Z04 pads, and Brembo master cylinder, 220mm rotor (r), Brembo calliper
As you can see, the chassis on this bike is at par with the current Moto class. But to put matters into perspective, let us compare a few of the statistics with a Moto2 bike. A Moto2 bike generates roughly 138bhp from a 765cc triple-cylinder engine made by Triumph. So in direct comparison, the MotoE bike makes 20bhp more than a Moto2 bike. And it’s another ballpark altogether when it comes to torque. A MotoE bike makes torque instantly from zero rpm when compared to a Moto2 bike. But that’s not all. According to MotoGP Tech Talk presenter Simon Crafar, a MotoE generates torque roughly “double the amount of a 600cc sports bike”. But the only disadvantage is range. While a Moto2 race runs for 40 minutes, we can only see seven laps of a MotoE race. Moreover, a MotoE bike also needs to recharge even after a warm-up lap which is not a factor in any of the other Moto classes.
We know the architecture of an IC engine motorcycle, but when it comes to a MotoE bike, the architecture is turned on its head. So let us see how the power from the batteries reaches the road. In a MotoE bike, the Lithium-ion battery pack is placed in the position where an IC engine would fit. 400 volts from the battery is then sent to an inverter which sits right where the fuel tank would be placed. The inverter converts the 400 volts of DC into 3-phase AC. This is done because an AC engine is more efficient and more powerful when compared to a DC engine.
Then there is the power loss aspect. An IC engine loses roughly 25 to 30 per cent of the power generated in the engine by the time it reaches the rear wheel. The loss is due to the various mechanical moving parts and heat. But in a MotoE bike, the power loss from the battery to the rear wheel is as low as 15 per cent. Most of the loss occurs as heat loss taking place in the inverter, which is liquid-cooled for that very reason.
There is also no clutch involved in a MotoE bike as the torque delivery is instant and runs to 5000rpm. Beyond that, the torque delivery drops but the power delivery remains constant till 10,000rpm all the way from zero.
Enel X is the official Smart Charging Partner and sponsor of the MotoE championship. Enel X along with JuiceRoll Race Edition has introduced an innovative way to charge a MotoE bike by making the infrastructure for two separate battery charging units. The first battery charger is called the Semi-Mobile Unit or SMU which has a DC output of 50kW, a main AC input of up to 22kW, and an integrated capacity of 51kWh. The second battery charger is called the Mobile Unit or MU, which has a 10kW DC output.
The mobility that is available with the MU helps the teams to charge the motorcycles easily in the pits or at the starting grid. But the main advantage that we get from the SMU and the MU systems is that it takes the load of charging these superbikes off the circuit’s electrical grid. Think of the SMU and the MU as a power bank that can be charged from a normal grid supply but can re-supply that stored charge at much higher power (up to 50kw in DC). This also nullifies the use of diesel generators which were previously used to charge the MotoE bikes.
Now, when we talk about safety in the Moto world, it is a small read as rider safety in the Moto series doesn’t amount to a lot apart from their leathers and their custom helmets. But here, we are talking about the safety of the marshals who recover the motorcycle in the event of a crash. The way of recovering a MotoE bike is a lot more dangerous when compared to their ICE counterparts. When a MotoE bike crashes, there are risks of a battery explosion, electrocution and chances of getting poisoned from the fluids in the battery.
Due to the high risk of dangers to the marshals, all the bikes come fitted with a Vehicle Control Unit. Among its other uses, this unit is directly connected to Race Control who get live information about the status of the bike. In the event of a crash, live information will be recorded by Race Control which in turn, will allow the stewards to control the marshals who recover the vehicle. Moreover, there is also a light fixed in the MotoE bike, which if glowing red, means that the marshals should wait for specialists to recover the vehicle.
With the 2021 MotoE championship coming to an end at Misano alongside the MotoGP on September 20, Alessandro Zaccone (Octo Pramac MotoE) leads the championship with 80 points, followed by Eric Granado (One Energy Racing) with 73 points and Jordi Torres (HP Pons 40) at third with 72 points. Clearly, the championship title is still up for grabs and the last two races will provide a good showdown as the riders are neck and neck on the points table. You can watch the races in Discovery+ or Eurosport. Stay tuned to evo India for more motorsport content!