Geek Review: Energica Eva EsseEsse 9+ Electric Motorcycle

There are expectations when it comes to electric cars, of beautiful vehicles that do not pollute the environment but to also offer a level of luxury not common in four-wheeled vehicles. But reduce the wheels by two, into electric motorcycles and initial thoughts would inadvertently conjure imagery of the less than impressive electric scooters – relatively quick two-wheelers that cannot possibly match combustion engines in terms of performance. 

But the Energica Eva EsseEsse 9+ will change your mind.

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A relatively newcomer in the industry, Energica started operations in 2010 and has quickly developed a strong footprint in the electric motorcycle market, as it is powering motorcycles for MotoE, the electric counterpart to the more well-known MotoGP race.

The EsseEsse 9+ is the base model available with some MotoE technology and engineering within, but toned down for the average rider. The sleek design of the bike is less aggressive but yet sporty with a more upright riding position. The overall design does resemble the Ducati Monster with its trellis frame and overall stance, but the EE 9+ offers a sportier look, thanks to the angular fairings. Energica calls it a “Classic” retro-styled bike, but classic is subjective here depending on your preferences and expectations.

The circular round headlamp does tone down the aggressive front end a bit, and the bench seat, while somewhat classic in design, does resemble the Yamaha XSR series of bikes, and one can definitely see some design influence taken from the Japanese brand. This is not a bad thing though, as both the Monster and XSR bikes are widely popular and will have wider appeal than, let’s say, a full-on race bike design like the Energica Ego, which is the brand’s top of the line consumer bike available.

However one glaring omission on the EE9+ is the lack of exhaust pipes, which is, of course, entirely unnecessary on an electric motorcycle. While exhaust pipes are there for a practical purpose, they also add to the overall bike aesthetics and without it, one can feel that the bike is missing something. The absence of it is noticeable on the EE9+, though Energica has done a relatively good job of creating a muscular looking bike that holds its own, without the need of an exhaust system.

Energica is keeping it relatively simple, with three models available – EsseEsse 9, Ribelle, and Ego. There are several specifications users can opt for, but no matter what model you decide on, it will offer some of the best parts available – Marzocchi Front suspension, Bitubo rear mono shock, Brembo brakes front and back, Pirelli Diablo Rosso III tyres for the 17 inch wheels, and so on.  You can choose various different specifications, like battery size and power for each of the three models and across all Energica Models, the RS variant will give you the best performance but of course this will increase the price.  For this review, we tested the Eva EsseEsse 9+.

So how does the it handle on the roads? Exhilarating. Like electric cars, you’ll find yourself having power without any flat spots, or delayed shifting, with instant power at the twist of the throttle. In Sports mode, you can achieve 0-100 in 3 seconds, with a top speed of 200km/h. While some would point out that this cannot compete with top end petrol powered race bikes on the market, it will match up to the 600 – 750cc bikes, and even more so.  This is more than enough for most riders, and with the instant response the bike gives, we wouldn’t recommend more power unless you have the skill set to handle it.  

With this type of performance, the question is how the battery can keep up, and Energica has done a good job balancing this on the EE9+. The top end 21.5 kWh battery allows riders to get up to 420km (261 miles) of city riding, and 246km (153 miles) in the urban and highway, and around 198 km (123 miles) for highway. While you can opt for a battery with less power, you will also experience more weight added to the bike, as the 21.5kWh battery is newer, more efficient and lighter. From our experience in predominantly sport mode, we were averaging 150 – 160 km around the city, which is on par with a combustion engine motorcycle of the same size.

For newcomers to electric motorcycles, the lack of a clutch and gears will be foreign, though those that ride scooters or mopeds may find this similar. Due to the weight of the bike (260kg/576lbs), those used to a more traditional bike with gears and clutch may struggle with maneuvering the bike at slower speeds but it’s definitely something you will overcome, though it will be noticeable on your first few rides. One good thing Energica included with the bike is reverse and slow forward moving settings, to aid in parking the bike, or for moving it around in less than ideal situations, like hills, tight parking areas and or wet pavement where one can’t get solid footing and needs to push the bike.

In terms of riding modes for the motorcycle, there are four: Eco, Urban, Rain & Sport. Rain mode offers the best grip among the three for operating under wet conditions, by throttling response and horse power and providing better traction control, and Urban offers more power for city riding. It’s not going to give you the instant power and response sport does compared to sport mode, which optimises maximum power and torque.

Eco is where you will maximise the battery life of the motorcycle to its full potential, but performance is limited in terms of top speed and torque, which will be reduced. Also you have four settings for regenerative engine braking to provide that familiarity one has on standard motorcycles, where you can use the engine braking to slow down and simulate downshifting gears on the bike. There is no perfect setting on this and depends on one’s preferences, but in our tests we found mode 3 to be the best for feel.

Once you get used to the weight, speed and settings of the bike, the EsseEsse 9+ is a joy to take on the roads. With less to think about since it acts like an automatic car and does most of the heavy lifting, you can concentrate on riding and being more aware of your surroundings. For those who love a good rumble from the exhaust, the bike does make a pseudo turbine engine sound, resembling the Dark Knight’s Tumbler to some degree, but it’s still quieter than a standard exhaust system. Sadly, this means that the chances of cars hearing the roar as you tear past them is far less obvious than one would prefer. This is something we hope the brand can look into because as the saying goes, “Loud Pipes Save Lives”, and without some noise to alert drivers, motorcyclists on electric bikes need to be more aware of the presence they bring to the roads.

In terms of price, this is where it gets tricky in tax-heavy Singapore. The starting price for the EsseEsse 9+ is around S$70,000, due to the local tax system and current lack of rebates for electric motorcycles. The price is on par with the top-of-the-line BMW’s, Ducati’s, and Harley Davidson’s. One factor to consider is the amount saved on petrol. With the rise in oil prices, electric may be a more viable option as the cost is far less than what an average tank of petrol costs for a motorcycle. Case in point, a full tank of petrol for a motorcycle in Singapore can set up back S$20 – 35 dollars, depending on grade and the size of the tank, but a fast charge up to 80% on the EsseEsse 9+ will only set you back around S$4, so the savings will definitely add up over time, and may sway you to think more green.

Overall the experience with the Energica EsseEsse 9+ was much more positive than negative. The downsides we found have more to do with us adjusting as riders to an electric motorcycle than it had to do with the bike itself. Hopefully, the authorities will look into offering more rebates for electric motorcycles, as it’s the road forward. If so, we can definitely see one in our garage.

Equipment used for the video review:

  • Handling - 8/10
  • Performance - 9/10
  • Design - 9/10
  • Comfort - 9/10
  • Practicality - 8/10
  • Value - 7/10