Ducati’s first electric motorcycle is years away as batteries aren’t ready

Ducati won’t launch an electric motorcycle for consumers anytime soon, making the motorcycle manufacturer an outlier in Volkswagen AG’s €89 billion ($94 billion) push to electrify its stable of businesses.

The Italian brand will be the sole producer of e-bikes racing in the FIM Enel MotoE World Cup this year and presented its first electric motorcycle prototype for the project in June. But Jason Chinnock, chief executive officer of Ducati’s North American operations, said the company still has work to do improving battery range and performance before an e-bike will be ready for showrooms.

“It’s going to be some years,” Chinnock told Bloomberg Television on Thursday. “The battery technology really isn’t there.”

Chinnock’s view contrasts not only with VW’s embrace of batteries for electric passenger cars, but with rival Harley-Davidson Inc.’s enthusiasm for e-bikes. Harley launched the LiveWire — its first plug-in model — in 2019 and executed a spinoff of its electric motorcycle division last year, merging it with a special purpose acquisition company to form LiveWire Group Inc.

Electrification is hitting the motorcycle segment more unevenly than it is passenger cars. While Honda Motor Co. recently announced plans to roll out at least 10 models worldwide by 2025, BMW AG has so far only unveiled concept bikes.

As one of the four brands under Volkswagen’s premium group that shares research and production resources, Ducati is exploring alternative fuels and other technologies to reduce its carbon footprint.

“There isn’t a consumer bike directly in development because this is still so early,” Chinnock said. “It’s really going to take battery tech to evolve.”

“Once that is evolved to the point where it makes sense for us to integrate it in, where we can address performance and range and weight, that’s the trifecta,” Chinnock said. “It still needs to be distinctly a Ducati.”


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