‘Electric bike left me feeling flat’
Liam takes the prestigious electric motorcycle on a 300-mile round trip
As soon as the Energica became available I jumped at the chance to get to know it for a week. I love sci-fi and it doesn’t get much more spaceage than an electric motorcycle that sounds like a Star Wars speeder. After a couple of mornings commuting, the time had come to take the Eva a little further afield.
In Eco mode Energica claim a range of 124 miles. I wanted to test that, so I decided to visit my mother in sunny Yorkshire, 123 miles away. Perfect, right? Nope. Despite having a full charge, the range display on the dash never went anywhere near 100 miles, it tended to hover around 60, which meant sticking to 52mph (the limit in Eco mode), and stopping every 40-50 miles to charge up for 30 minutes.
And there’s one other small detail that resulted in a terrifying experience. Using the Zap-map app on my phone I’d figured out where my last stop before my mother’s was, and had enough charge to get there with 15 miles to spare. But it turns out if you run the battery too low the bike goes into limp-home mode, and limits top speed to 30mph. This happened just two miles before my planned stop... in the middle lane of the M1... while overtaking a lorry. Not ideal and actually quite dangerous.
Thankfully, on my return journey, I was able to make it back without an unplanned stint at 30mph, and on my final charging stop at Leicester Forest East Southbound the displayed range jumped to 109 miles. Fantastic! I did the obvious thing and put it straight into Sport mode and whizzed off into the night for all of five miles before the range plummeted to 55 miles. Bugger, Eco mode it is.
So are electric bikes the future? Yes, probably. But they are exactly that, the future. The technology isn’t quite there yet to replace traditional motorcycles, and neither is the infrastructure when it comes to the charging stations, but it’s not far off, and the instant hit of torque you get from an electric motor is unparalleled.
‘If you run low the bike goes into limphome mode, not ideal on the M1’