Electric Dreams: Energica EVA EsseEsse9+ (Part 2)

Energica Eva EsseEsse9

In part one of this review, I shared my first impressions of the Energica EVA EsseEsse9+. Here I tackle the question of how, in the context of Singapore, would it be to live with the Energica EVA EsseEsse9+ in a world that’s still addicted to fossil fuels?

Home on the Range

The ongoing question around high-performance electric vehicles is that of speed vs range. Power consumption increases dramatically as speeds rise, although with regenerative braking, a small amount of that charge is restored to the battery. This makes the EVA more efficient in city traffic or on curvy, undulating paths than on flat open roads.

Energica have positioned the EVA EsseEsse9+ as a practical high-performance street bike, and they seem to have hit the sweet spot; with a 21.5kwh high-energy lithium polymer battery, translating to a maximum range of 400km in mixed riding conditions, while achieving the century dash in 2.8 secs, and a top speed of 200km/h.

There are a couple of caveats, though. The first is, at constant highway speeds, range drops to less than half, which isn’t a deal breaker, but is something to adjust to when touring.

Energica Eva EsseEsse9 charging

Fill Me Up, Baby

The EVA’s onboard battery charger accommodates AC charge modes 2 and 3, and DC fast charge mode 4. SPGroup and Shell Recharge stations support mode 4, which is how we topped up the EVA on our ride.

Forty-two minutes and S$5.80 brought reserves up to 60% (10.54kwh). Not bad for a relatively quick boost over a cup of gourmet coffee, especially since the charge cost about as much as our coffee. At current pump prices, that’s equivalent to about a third of a petrol top-up for a high-performance bike, which is decent savings.

Better still, if your residential or work parking facility has a charging station, then you can arrive, plug in, and forget. If you have time to kill, modes 2 and 3 are gentler on the battery and go up to a few hours for a full-charge depending on the maximum power output of the station you’re connected to.

A note on keeping your battery in peak condition; current lithium battery technology recommends you keep your battery between 80% and 20% with minimal top-ups in between. So even if you have access to a charging point at home, there’s no need to keep your EVA plugged in every night, unless you ride long distances daily.

I mentioned a couple of caveats, and the second is literally the elephant in the room.

The impressive range of the EVA EsseEsse9+ is a direct result of advanced battery management coupled with that ginormous battery. So, the EVA, as smart and capable as she may be, has a curb-side weight of 358kg. Yes, your eyesight is fine.

While the actual number shocked me into rechecking it a few times, in reality, as I shifted the EVA off her side-stand and moved her around, the bike didn’t feel particularly unwieldy, probably because of good mass centralization and a friendly seat height. Plus, I was moving the bike around on flat ground.

If you’ve muscled a heavy bike around a parking lot, you’ll have experienced how weight is really felt in near-static manoeuvers or on uneven ground. Thankfully the EVA’s “Park Assistant”, which works in both forward and reverse, means the beginning and end of each journey won’t require a full-body workout, or the services of a powerlifter.

Energica Eva EsseEsse9 charging

What About Maintenance?

The EVA has 80% fewer moving parts than a regular internal combustion engine, so maintenance is generally limited to external wear and tear components like sprockets, chains, bearings, fluids, seals, and pads. Oil changes for the transmission and inverter happen at 30,000 and 45,000km respectively. That’s an oil change at intervals for which you’d be doing a valve clearance or three and adds to the EVA’s suitability as a practical and fun bike for short touring trips.

The EVA’s battery is good for 1,200 charge cycles which works out to anywhere between 200-400,000km before needing to be replaced, and a charge-balancing function helps keep your battery healthy if you’re not using it as a daily rider.

The overall lower maintenance, combined with reduced “fueling” costs should, over time, produce a sizeable offset from the price of entry for being an early adopter.

Not that cost would be much of an issue for someone considering the Energica EVA, right now. The EVA is a uniquely beautiful machine, and that exclusivity comes at a price of S$69,000 at current COE levels. This isn’t crazy money, neither is it a small chunk of change, which brings me to our detour of the day.

A Note on Battery Safety

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In the world of large-sized high-energy batteries, you get what you pay for. A lithium battery for the automotive industry is a self-contained unit, with heat management, environmental protection, on-board processors, and safety cut-offs working together; to ensure that any kind of failure doesn’t result in combustion. The batteries are also put through a battery (pun intended) of stringent tests for the effects of drops, punctures, heat, and pressure.

When you’re putting a high-performance motorcycle containing a large store of high-energy between your legs, you need to know that under no circumstances is it going to light up your underpants. And as anyone who follows the trend of spontaneously combusting PMDs knows, the difference between a well-made lithium-based power system and one where corners are cut, can be a matter of life and death.

Final Thoughts

The EVA + model’s big battery, range, and amenities, make touring stress-free in regions, like parts of Europe, where charging infrastructures are developed. But what about closer to home?

Our tiny island boasts around 2,000 charging points, via the Shell, SPGroup, BlueSG and BYD networks, which should be more than sufficient for potential owners.

This number is expected to grow to 60,000 by 2030 under Singapore’s ambitious Green Plan, and will increasingly cover industrial, commercial, and residential developments, which translates to the possibility of never having to visit a petrol station again.

To buy a bike like the EVA only to ride it around town would be a bit of a waste, so what happens if you decide to take it across the border?

Well, things get a little dicier with approximately 300 charging stations, in a land mass more than 450 times our size. However, there are charging points within range from Johor all the way to Perlis, mostly on the West Coast, so with careful trip planning, taking the EVA on a tour of Malaysia is a definite possibility.

Personally, the thought of riding a high-performance bike up north, without the accompanying heat, is rather tantalizing. So, as I slowly unshackle myself from my cheap and cheery petrol-guzzling two-wheelers, I’ll continue to live in electric dreams.

Energica Eva in Singapore

The Energica EVA EsseEsse9+ is available in Singapore from Ifyni Pte Ltd. For test ride enquiries, they can be reached at info@ifyni.com.

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