Ducati’s position on electric motorcycles is a bit puzzling. Their CEO, Claudio Domenicali has said that the technology necessary to make electric motorcycles equal to or better than their internal combustion engine counterparts is not yet available.
MCN quotes Domenicali as saying:
“Electric bikes are fascinating but the technology is what it is; you cannot cheat chemicals. Right now, you remove 15kg of petrol but replace it with 150kg of battery. If there is a regulation to make electric bikes in five years, we will make it, but it will be a worse bike than we can make now.”
But only a few weeks later, he said:
So which is it? Is Ducati going electric or staying with internal combustion? Or could it be that they are looking at an intermediate step prior to going electric?
Recently, Ducati’s VP of Sales told MCN:
“We are thinking and working on electric. We are part of a group that’s going quickly towards electrification and it’s a good opportunity for Ducati.
“Will we produce an electric Ducati soon? No. We think that for the kind of machine we produce now, an electric motorcycle cannot guarantee the pleasure, the range, the weight etc that Ducati riders expect.” – Francesco Milicia to MCN
So what could an intermediate step be?
“We are also looking carefully at other solutions for zero or minimal emissions, such as synthetic fuel. Other brands in our group such as Porsche are looking at it and it’s something we are looking at in the medium term.” – Francesco Milicia to MCN
Synthetic fuel? What the heck is synthetic fuel (eFuel)? Ultimately, it’s a fuel that is produced by man, not the eons lengthy natural process.
To make synthetic fuel, water is separated into hydrogen and oxygen using wind-generated electricity. Then CO2 from the air is combined with the ‘green hydrogen’ produced earlier to form methanol. Thereafter, it’s turned into useable fuel by ExxonMobil-licensed Methanol to Gasoline (MTG) technology.
The eFuel manufacturing process. Image credit: Siemens Energy
Porche says that it will be able to produce 130,000 liters of eFuel by 2022. They also claim that this number will eventually climb to 55 million liters of eFuel by 2024 and 550 million liters by 2026.
eFuel as an intermediate step?
So Ducati may be sticking with internal combustion engine bikes for the not too distant future. What do you think of their plan and the eFuel concept overall?