Sports

Motorbike racing goes electric

From a roar to a whirr — MotoGP goes electric

By Jonathan Hawkins, CNN

Updated 12:08 PM ET, Thu June 14, 2018

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(CNN)It's motorbike racing but not as you know it.

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MotoGP administrators Dorna announced in February that a new all-electric series, The Enel MotoE World Cup, will be joining its three existing classes — Moto3, Moto2 and MotoGP — from 2019.

A big departure

It will mark a big departure for a series characterized by loud, boisterous gasoline-fueled racing, and Dorna has been weaning fans onto the concept with demonstration laps by former grand prix stars, including Max Biaggi, Colin Edwards, Randy de Puniet and Loris Capirossi, at each race.Read MoreMotoE has taken a standard production bike, the Italian-built Energica Ego, and is adapting it to race specifications, much like Formula E has done with its race car.Capirossi, a hugely popular MotoGP veteran, with nine premier class wins to his name, has played a key role in testing the machine.');$vidEndSlate.removeClass('video__end-slate–inactive').addClass('video__end-slate–active');}};CNN.autoPlayVideoExist = (CNN.autoPlayVideoExist === true) ? true : false;var configObj = {thumb: 'none',video: 'sports/2018/05/24/nico-rosberg-gen2-formula-e-car-formula-one-f1-supercharged-spt-intl.cnn',width: '100%',height: '100%',section: 'domestic',profile: 'expansion',network: 'cnn',markupId: 'body-text_13',theoplayer: {allowNativeFullscreen: true},adsection: 'cnn.com_specialreports_formulaesupercharged_inpage',frameWidth: '100%',frameHeight: '100%',posterImageOverride: {"mini":{"width":220,"type":"jpg","uri":"//cdn.cnn.com/cnnnext/dam/assets/180522153935-nico-rosberg-formula-e-gen2-2-small-169.jpg","height":124},"xsmall":{"width":307,"type":"jpg","uri":"//cdn.cnn.com/cnnnext/dam/assets/180522153935-nico-rosberg-formula-e-gen2-2-medium-plus-169.jpg","height":173},"small":{"width":460,"type":"jpg","uri":"//cdn.cnn.com/cnnnext/dam/assets/180522153935-nico-rosberg-formula-e-gen2-2-large-169.jpg","height":259},"medium":{"width":780,"type":"jpg","uri":"//cdn.cnn.com/cnnnext/dam/assets/180522153935-nico-rosberg-formula-e-gen2-2-exlarge-169.jpg","height":438},"large":{"width":1100,"type":"jpg","uri":"//cdn.cnn.com/cnnnext/dam/assets/180522153935-nico-rosberg-formula-e-gen2-2-super-169.jpg","height":619},"full16x9":{"width":1600,"type":"jpg","uri":"//cdn.cnn.com/cnnnext/dam/assets/180522153935-nico-rosberg-formula-e-gen2-2-full-169.jpg","height":900},"mini1x1":{"width":120,"type":"jpg","uri":"//cdn.cnn.com/cnnnext/dam/assets/180522153935-nico-rosberg-formula-e-gen2-2-small-11.jpg","height":120}}},autoStartVideo = false,isVideoReplayClicked = false,callbackObj,containerEl,currentVideoCollection = [],currentVideoCollectionId = '',isLivePlayer = false,mediaMetadataCallbacks,moveToNextTimeout,mutePlayerEnabled = false,nextVideoId = '',nextVideoUrl = '',turnOnFlashMessaging = false,videoPinner,videoEndSlateImpl;if (CNN.autoPlayVideoExist === false) {autoStartVideo = false;if (autoStartVideo === true) {if (turnOnFlashMessaging === true) {autoStartVideo = false;containerEl = jQuery(document.getElementById(configObj.markupId));CNN.VideoPlayer.showFlashSlate(containerEl);} else {CNN.autoPlayVideoExist = true;}}}configObj.autostart = autoStartVideo;CNN.VideoPlayer.setPlayerProperties(configObj.markupId, autoStartVideo, isLivePlayer, isVideoReplayClicked, mutePlayerEnabled);CNN.VideoPlayer.setFirstVideoInCollection(currentVideoCollection, configObj.markupId);videoEndSlateImpl = new CNN.VideoEndSlate('body-text_13');/*** Finds the next video ID and URL in the current collection, if available.* @param currentVideoId The video that is currently playing* @param containerId The parent container Id of the video element*/function findNextVideo(currentVideoId) {var i,vidObj;if (currentVideoId && jQuery.isArray(currentVideoCollection) && currentVideoCollection.length > 0) {for (i = 0; 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Just push the button

"It's a strange thing because, when you jump on, you're looking for the clutch, there's no clutch; you're looking for the gearbox, no gearbox; and also, no sound, the engine has no sound, just you push the button and the engine is on," Capirossi told CNN Sport from his Monte Carlo home. While the production Energica Ego is no slouch, with a top speed of around 150mph and a 0-60mph time of three seconds, the bike is a far cry from the multi-million-dollar MotoGP monsters that can reach over 220mph.Nevertheless, Capirossi has been impressed with its characteristics. "You start to open the throttle and you see immediately, you feel immediately the torque of the bike, the acceleration of the bike, and when you're on the track you're thinking only about braking and acceleration, the rest you don't need."Another thing that is noticeably absent, of course, is the roar of the engine. "You feel just the speed, you feel the wind," Capirossi explains. "When you touch the ground, you hear just the sound of the (knee) slider on the surface."

Keeping costs down

Nicolas Goubert, who left MotoGP tire manufacturer Michelin to head up the MotoE series, says the focus is on competitive racing. Part of that involves keeping the costs down for entrants. "Cost is a really big issue for an organizer. Every series, you name it, Formula One included, has to be careful with the cost," he told CNN. Described as "the funnest car I've ever driven" by none other than Kanye West, the Tesla Model S is now being used for<a href="https://edition.cnn.com/2018/04/25/sport/electric-gt-motorsport-series-esports-spt/index.html"> a new zero emissions racing series</a> organized by Electric GT. Photos: Driving the futureTesla Model S P100D – Described as "the funnest car I've ever driven" by none other than Kanye West, the Tesla Model S is now being used for a new zero emissions racing series organized by Electric GT. Hide Caption 1 of 32Details of the<a href="https://edition.cnn.com/2018/04/25/sport/electric-gt-motorsport-series-esports-spt/index.html"> EGT Championship</a> were unveiled in April, with the inaugural season set to commence in the southern Spanish city of Jerez on November 3, 2018. Photos: Driving the futureTesla Model S P100D – Details of the EGT Championship were unveiled in April, with the inaugural season set to commence in the southern Spanish city of Jerez on November 3, 2018.Hide Caption 2 of 32Able to accelerate from 0-60mph in just 1.85 seconds, the all-electric Rimac Concept Two is one of the fastest cars ever made.  Photos: Driving the futureRimac Concept Two – Able to accelerate from 0-60mph in just 1.85 seconds, the all-electric Rimac Concept Two is one of the fastest cars ever made. Hide Caption 3 of 32Unveiled at March's Geneva Motor Show, the Croatian hypercar boasts top speeds of 258mph (412kph) and is claimed to be "as capable on track as it is crossing continents." It can travel a quarter of a mile -- from standstill -- in just 9.1 seconds. Photos: Driving the futureRimac Concept Two – Unveiled at March's Geneva Motor Show, the Croatian hypercar boasts top speeds of 258mph (412kph) and is claimed to be "as capable on track as it is crossing continents." It can travel a quarter of a mile — from standstill — in just 9.1 seconds. Hide Caption 4 of 32Designers claim the Concept Two has a range of over 400 miles (650km.) With facial recognition in lieu of a traditional key, it's one of numerous electric supercar concepts lighting up 2018. Photos: Driving the futureRimac Concept Two – Designers claim the Concept Two has a range of over 400 miles (650km.) With facial recognition in lieu of a traditional key, it's one of numerous electric supercar concepts lighting up 2018.Hide Caption 5 of 32Offering a "new kind of luxury mobility," the interior design of the Aston Martin Lagonda Vision was overseen by Savile Row tailors. Photos: Driving the futureAston Martin Lagonda – Offering a "new kind of luxury mobility," the interior design of the Aston Martin Lagonda Vision was overseen by Savile Row tailors. Hide Caption 6 of 32As well as lush carpets of silk and cashmere, the self-driving car boasts front seats that rotate 180 degrees to facilitate face-to-face conversation on the move. Photos: Driving the futureAston Martin Lagonda – As well as lush carpets of silk and cashmere, the self-driving car boasts front seats that rotate 180 degrees to facilitate face-to-face conversation on the move. Hide Caption 7 of 32Designed in collaboration with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, the new Lamborghini concept is like nothing else on the road. Photos: Driving the futureLamborghini Terzo Millennio – Designed in collaboration with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, the new Lamborghini concept is like nothing else on the road. Hide Caption 8 of 32Italian for "Third Millennium," the Terzo Millenio would not look out of place in a sci-fi movie. Photos: Driving the futureLamborghini Terzo Millennio – Italian for "Third Millennium," the Terzo Millenio would not look out of place in a sci-fi movie. Hide Caption 9 of 32Stefano Domenicali, Lamborghini CEO and Chairman, said the project "intends to write an important page in the future of super sports cars." Photos: Driving the futureLamborghini Terzo Millennio – Stefano Domenicali, Lamborghini CEO and Chairman, said the project "intends to write an important page in the future of super sports cars."Hide Caption 10 of 32All-electric four-seater saloon from China, the LVCHI Auto Venere claims to have a range of 403 miles (650km). Photos: Driving the futureLVCHI Auto Venere – All-electric four-seater saloon from China, the LVCHI Auto Venere claims to have a range of 403 miles (650km).Hide Caption 11 of 32It's longer than a Range Rover but that doesn't stop it shifting. The Auto Venere can reportedly accelerate from 0-100kph (62mph) in 2.7 seconds, delivering a top speed of 168mph (270kph). Photos: Driving the futureLVCHI Auto Venere – It's longer than a Range Rover but that doesn't stop it shifting. The Auto Venere can reportedly accelerate from 0-100kph (62mph) in 2.7 seconds, delivering a top speed of 168mph (270kph). Hide Caption 12 of 32Designed to transport up to to six passengers simultaneously, the EZ-GO concept is Renault's "vision of shared urban mobility." Photos: Driving the futureRENAULT EZ-GO – Designed to transport up to to six passengers simultaneously, the EZ-GO concept is Renault's "vision of shared urban mobility." Hide Caption 13 of 32The shared, electric driverless vehicle has been "built for the city" and has level four autonomous technology, meaning it would be able to handle all routine circumstances on recognizable roads. Photos: Driving the futureRENAULT EZ-GO – The shared, electric driverless vehicle has been "built for the city" and has level four autonomous technology, meaning it would be able to handle all routine circumstances on recognizable roads. Hide Caption 14 of 32The days of the steering wheel may soon be over. Most controls aboard the IMx Kuro can be controlled via hand gestures and eye movements, according to the Japanese manufacturer. Photos: Driving the futureNissan IMx KURO – The days of the steering wheel may soon be over. Most controls aboard the IMx Kuro can be controlled via hand gestures and eye movements, according to the Japanese manufacturer.Hide Caption 15 of 32Brain-to-Vehicle, or B2V, technology enables the KURO to interpret signals from the human brain, speeding up reaction times and paving the way for cars that learn from each other. Should the driver wish to sit back and let the car do the work, its seats recline and the steering wheel retracts into the dashboard. Photos: Driving the futureNissan IMx KURO – Brain-to-Vehicle, or B2V, technology enables the KURO to interpret signals from the human brain, speeding up reaction times and paving the way for cars that learn from each other. Should the driver wish to sit back and let the car do the work, its seats recline and the steering wheel retracts into the dashboard.Hide Caption 16 of 32Expected to hit the roads by "2022 at the latest," the I.D. Vizzion is also designed to be used predominantly with voice and gesture. Photos: Driving the futureVolkswagen I.D. Vizzion – Expected to hit the roads by "2022 at the latest," the I.D. Vizzion is also designed to be used predominantly with voice and gesture. Hide Caption 17 of 32The car, unveiled at the Geneva Motor Show, is said to boast a range of 413 miles (665km) between charges and level five autonomous driving -- meaning it can handle any situation a human could negotiate.  Photos: Driving the futureVolkswagen I.D. Vizzion – The car, unveiled at the Geneva Motor Show, is said to boast a range of 413 miles (665km) between charges and level five autonomous driving — meaning it can handle any situation a human could negotiate. Hide Caption 18 of 32Capable of accelerating from 0-60mph in 4.5 seconds, the first ever all-electric Jaguar has 395bhp and a range of 298 miles. Photos: Driving the futureJaguar I-Pace – Capable of accelerating from 0-60mph in 4.5 seconds, the first ever all-electric Jaguar has 395bhp and a range of 298 miles. Hide Caption 19 of 32"Every Jaguar feels like no other car on the road," says a statement from the iconic British manufacturer. "Moving to all-electric power doesn't change this." Photos: Driving the futureJaguar I-Pace – "Every Jaguar feels like no other car on the road," says a statement from the iconic British manufacturer. "Moving to all-electric power doesn't change this."Hide Caption 20 of 32With a "revolutionary" four-wheel drive powertrain developing 671bhp, the Elextra will reportedly move from standstill to 62mph (100 kph) in less than 2.3 seconds. Photos: Driving the futureElextra – With a "revolutionary" four-wheel drive powertrain developing 671bhp, the Elextra will reportedly move from standstill to 62mph (100 kph) in less than 2.3 seconds.Hide Caption 21 of 32The Swiss-German built four-door car will have its top speed limited to 155mph (250 kph) but it boasts a range of over 600km on a single charge. <br /> Photos: Driving the futureElextra – The Swiss-German built four-door car will have its top speed limited to 155mph (250 kph) but it boasts a range of over 600km on a single charge.
Hide Caption 22 of 32Hyunda claim the Le Fil Rouge adheres to the golden ratio -- a mathematical pattern found in nature -- culminating in a "sensuous sportiness." Photos: Driving the futureHyundai Le Fil Rouge – Hyunda claim the Le Fil Rouge adheres to the golden ratio — a mathematical pattern found in nature — culminating in a "sensuous sportiness." Hide Caption 23 of 32French for "common thread," Hyundai claim Le Fil Rouge is a car that connects Hyundai's past, present and future designs. Photos: Driving the futureHyundai Le Fil Rouge – French for "common thread," Hyundai claim Le Fil Rouge is a car that connects Hyundai's past, present and future designs. Hide Caption 24 of 32This one-seater offering might not be the fastest -- boasting estimated top speeds of just 82mph (130kph) -- but the diminutive three wheeler will zip you around the city where few other cars can go for just $15,500. Photos: Driving the futureElectra Meccanica Solo – This one-seater offering might not be the fastest — boasting estimated top speeds of just 82mph (130kph) — but the diminutive three wheeler will zip you around the city where few other cars can go for just $15,500. Hide Caption 25 of 32Described as the "safest SUV ever," the new Model X seats seven but can accelerate from 0-60mph in just 2.9 seconds. Photos: Driving the futureTesla Model X – Described as the "safest SUV ever," the new Model X seats seven but can accelerate from 0-60mph in just 2.9 seconds. Hide Caption 26 of 32An amalgamation of the BMW i3 and BMW i8, the i Vision Dynamics concept has a range of 373 miles and accelerates from 0-62mph in four seconds. Photos: Driving the futureBMW i Vision Dynamics – An amalgamation of the BMW i3 and BMW i8, the i Vision Dynamics concept has a range of 373 miles and accelerates from 0-62mph in four seconds. Hide Caption 27 of 32Expect to see all-electric Minis on the roads by 2019, marking the 60th anniversary of the legendary marque's first car. Photos: Driving the futureMini Electric Concept Car – Expect to see all-electric Minis on the roads by 2019, marking the 60th anniversary of the legendary marque's first car. Hide Caption 28 of 32A four-wheel drive SUV concept from India, the futuristic looking e-Survivor will be powered by dual electric motors on each wheel and be equipped for autonomous travel.    Photos: Driving the futureMaruti Suzuki Electric e-Survivor – A four-wheel drive SUV concept from India, the futuristic looking e-Survivor will be powered by dual electric motors on each wheel and be equipped for autonomous travel. Hide Caption 29 of 32Designed for track use only, the Chinese single-seat Techrules Ren RS can be configured with up to six electric motors, delivering up to 1,287bhp. Photos: Driving the futureTechrules Ren RS – Designed for track use only, the Chinese single-seat Techrules Ren RS can be configured with up to six electric motors, delivering up to 1,287bhp.Hide Caption 30 of 32That lets it travel from 0-62mph (0-100kph) in three seconds with a max speed of 205mph (330kph).  Photos: Driving the futureTechrules Ren RS – That lets it travel from 0-62mph (0-100kph) in three seconds with a max speed of 205mph (330kph). Hide Caption 31 of 32<a href="https://www.facebook.com/cnnsport/" target="_blank"><strong>What electric supercar concepts have you found most exciting in 2018? <em></strong>Have your say on CNN Sport's Facebook page. </em></a> Photos: Driving the futureTechrules Ren RS – What electric supercar concepts have you found most exciting in 2018? Have your say on CNN Sport's Facebook page. Hide Caption 32 of 32Electric GT car Electric GT car The Rimac C_Two electric supercarThe Rimac C_Two electric supercarThe Rimac C_Two electric supercaraston martin lagonda electric car concept aston martin lagonda electric car concept frontLamborghini Terzo MillennioLamborghini Terzo MillennioLamborghini Terzo MillennioLVCHI Auto Venere rear electric carLVCHI Auto Venere side angle electric carrenault ez go electric car conceptrenault ez go side angle Nissan IMx KURONissan IMx KURO conceptvolkswagen vizzion geneva motor show  side viewvolkswagen vizzion geneva motor show Jaguar I-PaceJaguar I-Paceelextra electric car front viewelextra electric car rear viewhyundai le fil rouge concept carhyundai le fil rouge concept car interior Electra Meccanica Solo electric three wheel carTesla Model X electric car BMW all electric i Vision Dynamics concept carMini Electric Concept CarMaruti Suzuki electric e-Survivor car jeeptechrules racing electric car spoilerTechrules Racing electric car steering wheeltechrules racing electric car"You also have to make sure that you have different teams competing with bikes at about the same level. Basically, the approach was to say okay, we're not going to ask Honda, Yamaha and Ducati to come up with prototype electric bikes because that's going to cost an awful lot, and then maybe one of them will be a lot faster than everybody else and it will not be a good show."Energica has a three-year contract to supply bikes to the series, but Goubert says key changes will be made to the production machine. "There will be modifications, of course: battery, brakes, suspension, wheels," he explains. "We'll make it a race bike, but technology will be very similar; so, it won't be a million-dollar prototype, it will be something down to earth, and that's important."READ: Saudi Arabia to host Formula E

Evolution

All seven privateer outfits from the MotoGP paddock will enter the new series in 2019. Hervé Poncharal, Principal of the highly successful Tech3 team, has been impressed by what he's seen so far. 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Nico Rosberg tests the new Gen2 Formula E car 01:55 Unlike Formula E, MotoE will race on the same calendar as its bigger petrol-driven cousin, and Poncharal sees this as a crucial move. "In Formula One and Formula E you have two championships fighting each other, but MotoGP will be a hybrid championship, because the same championship, the same promoter, the same race day, will have a petrol engine and an electric engine," he told CNN. "So that means there will be comparisons on the same day with the same conditions, on the same circuit. We will compare lap times and hopefully we will see the gap between, say, a Moto2 and a MotoE bike reduce and shrink every single race."

Green appeal

Poncharal also sees commercial benefits in MotoE's green credentials. "You run a race team, and you run a business," he added. "And more and more you meet potential sponsors and they tell you, 'yeah, but you know, the CO2 emissions, this is the past, and we don't want to be part of that image'. Hopefully it could help us (to attract new sponsors)." The Frenchman also wants the series to play a role in developing technology for consumers. "I would like to see MotoE like an R&D project for the person who will use a bike to commute in town or around the city. This is exciting, because you're part of the future."But while sponsors may find environmentally friendly racing attractive, it remains to be seen whether bike culture — traditionally defined by its noisy, occasionally grimy nature — is ready for electric racing.

Convincing racers

Capirossi admits that people may take convincing. "When you talk with every rider, like Valentino Rossi, he says well, everybody says 'we don't like,' 'we like the sound,' 'we like the noise (of petrol bikes),'" he concedes, "you know because nobody really properly tested that type of bike."The Italian believes it will come down to the racing itself. "It's really important we have 18 good riders on the track; for sure then the show becomes interesting."Goubert is also optimistic that fans can be won over. "When you have a change in technology you always have people doubting it. "I am sure with electric bikes that some people will be reluctant at the beginning but gradually, over time and with technology changing, I am convinced that will change."Visit CNN.com/sport for more news and featuresIf MotoE takes off, might bike fans one day be willing to say goodbye to the roar of petrol engines? Goubert believes even that may change in time. "If that technology is successful, for sure in 20 years' time you will see young guys looking at us as if we were mad to go racing with all this noise."Original Article

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