You may remember that a couple of months ago I was invited by the English Electric Motor Company (EEMC) to go along to their launch of the new electric bike by Energica called the Eva Ribelle which was being held at Gridserve HQ in Great Notley. Although I was able to take the Eva for a ride at the launch, I obviously had limited time with the bike and thought it would be interesting to have the bike on a longer test to see what it is like to live with an electric bike.
EEMC are an electric motorcycle dealership and one of their brands is Energica, an Italian company and there are three models available – the Ego which has 215 Nm – 159 lb-ft of torque and was originally launched in 2013 and is described by Energica as the highest performing electric motorcycle in the world for road, race, or in between. Prices start from £21,190.
The EVA EsseEsse9 delivering 180 Nm – 133 lb-ft of torque and is described by Energica as the world’s first “classic” retro-styled electric motorcycle and is designed for touring and two up riding. Prices start from £17,690.
The EVA Ribelle which is the naked version of the EGO, with the same torque, power, acceleration and range with the main difference being the riding position and is, according to Energica, the only electric naked bike with DC Fast Charge which means it could charge up in about 40 minutes! Prices start from £25,190.
As you probably know by now I am a petrolhead. I love my cars and bikes and also the noise and smells that come with a combustion engine, I personally think you cannot beat the smell of a two stroke!
So the EEMC very kindly let me have the Eva for a week and Alec dropped the bike off late one afternoon. I have to say I am really impressed with the styling of the bike. It is, in my opinion, very Italian and looks to me very much like another Italian motorcycle company 😉
I don’t think when you first look at the bike you would know it is an electric bike and after having a closer look I noticed little details I hadn’t seen before like the brake reservoir, the stitching and bike name on the seat and the air ducts on the rear of the bike. A lot of thought has gone into the styling of the bike.
The Eva that I had came with extras including Ohlins suspension front and back taking the price up to £30,000.
The Eva weighs in at 260kg, 120kg of which is the battery! This for me, is quite a weighty bike and I have to say I did struggle with the weight a little while I had the bike but the Eva has a reverse gear which I have to say makes such a difference when moving the bike around. Without reverse gear I would have struggled moving the bike. My o/h who is taller and heavier than me did not find the weight too much of an issue.
One of the weirdest things for me was getting used to my left foot and hand not doing anything but after a while you don’t think about that. The lack of exhaust noise is also odd but again you just don’t think about it after a while. Other than it being an electric bike, it really is very much like riding a ‘normal’ bike.
Performance is clearly on par with larger engine petrol bikes and the handling was great and once riding it didn’t feel heavy, just when you are stationary you can feel its weight but again, that could just be me.
On one full charge of the battery you could expect to do about 120 miles and, as long as you can find a DC fast charging point you can be going again in 40 minutes. However, if you can’t find a DC fast charge then at an AC slow charging point you’re looking at a wait time of 5-6hrs.
When I was talking to Alec he did say that the 120 miles is dependent on how the bike is ridden so if you like to press on and do a bit overtaking you could cut that 120 to 80 which is quite a difference if you’re going for a ride on a Sunday morning to find breakfast. Some planning might have to go into the route you are going in case you need a charge top up to get home or to find cake 🙂
A couple of apps that are available for planning such routes with charging points are A Better Route Planner (ABRP) and Zap Map.
ABRP is free although you can upgrade to premium and get many more benefits from the planner. Amongst other things, this app enables you to plan routes and use charger availability in the planning, both in real-time and forecasts based on historical use, it allows you to avoid busy chargers and includes the wait times at the charging points in the total trip time.
Zap-Map has created a guide to EV charging with a series of step-by-step guides that cover all key issues related to electric vehicle charging, including public networks, charging at home and work, charge point speeds and model-specific charging guides.
On the Sunday that I had the Eva I went out for one of my usual longer rides to find breakfast and this particular route I did was about 90 miles in total. I had 100% battery when I started out and 35% when I got home. When riding I found myself constantly looking down to check the battery left but I suppose if you ride an electric bike more regularly you would become accustomed to roughly how much your journeys will use.
The range indicator I found constantly fluctuated depending on how I was riding for example, if I was riding in an urban area the range went up but if I was on an open road and pressing on a bit and doing a bit of overtaking then the range went down quite a bit. I assume if the battery and range were getting low then you would have to ride slower until you got home or to a charger.
The Eva is a really nice bike to ride, I love the feel of the bike when riding, it is nicely put together and I love the styling. I did find the bike heavy in corners and when maneuvering the bike although the reverse gear makes a huge difference as the bike is on the heavy side but, again, that could just be me.
I am really grateful that I was able to have the Eva on loan for a longer period to see what an electric bike is like to live with but I do still have concerns about the whole electric vehicle thing with regards to charging time, battery life and price.
In my opinion the charging time and price both need to come down a lot and the battery life needs to go up considerably!
Availability of chargers needs to be addressed too – I still think the best way forward is for manufacturers to make universal batteries to fit vehicles (be it two wheels or four) so you could pull into a charging station and swap your battery for a charged battery and carry on your way. A lot of time is wasted waiting for a battery to charge.
Another point of concern is not only that I missed the noise of a conventional bike, but also like electric cars, people do not hear you coming including pedestrians and cyclists. This is something that definitely needs to be addressed.
Thank you English Electric Motor Company for organizing for me to have the Eva, it was a privilege to ride 🙂
I did a walk around video of the Eva which you can see on my YouTube channel here:
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