First Ride

Energica Eva (2019) review

Visordown is spending some time with Energica’s premium electric motorcycle. Is this the first electric bike to take the fight to the petrol-powered masses?

Details
Manufacturer:
Energica
Category:
Naked
Price:
£ 23999
Overall
4.5
Average: 4.5 (1 vote)
Is this the first truly premium electric motorcycle?

ELECTRIC motorcycles, at some point we are all going to have to jump on the battery-powered bandwagon and leave the internal combustion engine in the past. And after riding Energica’s Eva for a few hundred miles, I’m not remotely worried by what the future holds.

Energica Eva video review

Who is Energica?

Energica is the motorcycle manufacturing arm of Italian engineering giants CRP. You might not have heard of the parent company, but the chances are you’ve seen their products racing in championships such as F1. Energica was founded in 2014, with the goal of building high-performance sustainable motorcycles.

Fast forward to 2019 and the Energica range includes the Eva (as ridden), the Ego sportsbike and the Eva EsseEsse9 café racer. The brand also supplies all the bikes for the biggest electric motorcycle racing series on the planet, the MotoE World Cup.

Power system

At the heart of the Eva is a permanent magnet AC motor that is oil-cooled. The unit will produce a maximum power output of 145bhp, which ensures some eye-wateringly fast performance figures, regardless of its fuel type. The control system that links your right hand to the flow of electrons is about as hi-tech as you can get and means you can pick the bike up on the throttle mid-corner with sniper-like accuracy.

With the range of an electric motorcycle being the big talking point for everyone, it’s good to see that Energica haven’t compromised on the batteries, as a 13.4kWh lithium-polymer system nestles neatly between your knees. While those stats and numbers don’t quantify easily to the average biker, the inbuilt charger and 0-80% recharge time of just 20-mins will probably get most people’s attention and makes the Energica a genuinely usable motorcycle for those willing to plan ahead a little or whose journeys rarely change, such as the commute.

In the real world and away from the lab-coats and rolling roads, the Eva is good for over 100-miles of spirited riding, although the harder you hit the B-roads, the more you’ll drain the battery. The bike makes the power of a 750cc sportsbike, with tons more torque and just seems to never stop pulling. It’s like being sat on the runway in a jetfighter and the pilot opening all the throttles at once!

The world’s first premium electric motorcycle?

What sets the Eva apart from the rest of electric motorcycle manufacturers is the fit, finish and premium detailing of the machine. From the classy looking trellis frame to the exquisitely finished carbon fibre undertray, each part of the bike looks like it’s been put together with aircraft-grade accuracy.  Calling upon parent company CRP’s expertise has paid dividends when it comes to the detail and it genuinely sets this machine apart from the rest of the pack.

Suspension

Aside from the jewellery of the bike we have one of the only electric motorcycles that has proper, top-spec cycle parts, all complimented by that underslung MotoGP-style swingarm. Front forks are fully adjustable Marzocchi 43mm units, with a Bitubo side-mounted shock at the rear. It’s nice to see that in a world of electric motorcycles where the good quality kit stops at the battery and motor, Energica has gone for top-spec and fully adjustable suspension, right through the range.

Complimenting the suspension are Brembo items all around, with 330mm discs and four-piston calipers up front and 240mm two-piston item at the rear. The brakes inspire confidence with good feel at the lever and more bite than I’d ever need. The Bosch ABS is switchable, but in its active mode is unobtrusive enough to not bother switching it off.

Handling

Weighing in at about 280kg, the Eva should feel much less spritely than it does on the road. Sure, it’s not lithe and light like a 600cc sports bike, but thanks to the suspension, brakes and low centre of gravity, flicking the bike from ear to ear seems effortless. It’s also surprising how quickly you feel at home on the Eva, it rapidly bonds with you making you feel perfectly comfortable whether you’re blasting along your favourite twisty or plodding along the dual carriageway.

The one thing helping this relationship is a fancy regenerative braking system, that takes the energy that’s normally wasted when coasting and turns it into usable power to top up the battery. The system has four maps, low, medium, high and off. On its lowest setting, the bike slows on a closed throttle a lot like an old two-stroke would, with a small amount of resistance.

The medium setting is more akin to a four-stroke, four-cylinder engine and the high setting feels like the engine braking of a big V-twin or a single. For many riders the lack of engine braking is a turn-off, losing some of the feel on corner entry. But the Eva feels about as ‘normal’ as a petrol-powered bike, just without any gears or a clutch to muddy your thought process.

Comfort

The 795mm seat on the Eva is softly padded, with a rounded contour that blends into the composite side panel. The bars are wide and set you in a riding position that’s tilted forwards enough to prevent any lower-back pain. The switchgear on each handlebar is clearly laid out and easy to find, although changing some of the menus is tricky as one button may have a couple of uses, although this stops being an issue after a few hundred miles. All in all, we’ve ridden the Energica Eva for more than 400 miles and have had no problems with aches and pains or cramp of any sort.

Equipment

As you’d expect from a bike with such technologically advanced running gear, the TFT dash of the Eva is laden with riding modes, stats and graphs to rely information to the rider. To start with there are four riding modes, Eco, Urban, Rain and Sport. With each offering varying levels of power output, traction control setting and regenerative braking map. Each mode is distinctly different, and offers different range from the battery, with Eco mode able to deliver the best results. The dash also has multiple layouts that are easily flicked through with the left-hand switch cube.

The switchable traction control system has six levels of intervention and works in harmony with the eABS (engine braking/regen system) and the Bosch ABS to prevent slides. The whole system works flawlessly, preventing any slow or high-speed mishaps, even on damp and slippery surfaces.

The Eva also has the functionality to hook up to your phone via the MYEnergica App, allowing the rider to monitor the bikes state of charge (SoC) and even help you to find your nearest EV charging point.

The hills are alive with the sound of speed

One complaint of electric motorcycles is the lack of any sort of sound, causing people to step into the road without being aware of the incoming vehicle. Compared to a bus, lorry or even a family hatchback, e-bikes just don’t register on your average city-dwelling pedestrian’s radar yet. To combat this, the Eva features straight-cut gears that are mounted within the step-down box inside the motor casing. The gears give off an audible whine at low speed that turns into a shriek as you move through the rev-range. Not only does the sound warn pedestrians and other road users of your approach, but it’s also actually an appealing noise when you’re sat right on top of it, like a tiny jet engine is propelling you along the road!

Verdict

Energica’s Eva feels like a bit of a landmark moment in electric motorcycle design and manufacture. I’ve not ridden another electric bike that ticked so many boxes in terms of usability, dynamics, range and recharge time. For me, it is the closest you can get to a conventional petrol-powered motorcycle, albeit in electric form. At £23,999 you’d expect it to feature levels of connectivity that top-flight superbikes can’t match, and it does. But also includes acceleration that will out-drag the best superbikes on the planet and a quality that is otherwise devoid in the electric motorcycle marketplace.

Another plus point for the Eva is that it feels like the complete package on the road, more than any other electric machines I’ve ridden, it’s got some soul to it. It might be the shriek of the straight cut gears when you hammer hard on the throttle but, it seems to have a character and that’s something you don’t really get with EV’s – like it’s more than just a machine.

Electric bikes aren’t for everyone, we know that already. For some, the type of riding they do, the distance they cover, and location just won’t suit an electric motorcycle. But for more and more people, living in the planets overcrowded and congested cities, the option of an electric motorcycle that’s exciting to ride like the Eva is becoming more and more appealing.

For more information the Eva and the rest of the Energica range head to the website below:

www.energicamotor.com

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