I’ve done some testing before with several Zero models and configurations and recently tested out what adding a simple windscreen would do for my range (post coming soon, spoiler it did nothing). That is exactly what this test track I have made up is intended for. I ride it at a fixed speed of 100 kmh in both directions and then check how much battery was consumed and collect everything in a spreadsheet.
This time I put my Energica SS9+ with the 21.5kWh battery to the test. This bike has a battery of 1.6 times the size of the previous 13.4kWh Energica models and 1.5 times the size of the 14.4kWh Zero models. So that should result in quite a difference in range.
Should because there are some factors that apply here that won’t help with range. This test track of mine isn’t exactly flat, it’s always up or downhill. And the temperatures I test on (they are in the spreadsheet) have always been between 10 and 15 degrees Celsius so far. Plus this was a new bike that had only 100km on the dash, the battery was just charged once and only from half the SOC. I’ve learned from my Zero that range improves when you’ve used the bike (and mostly charged it) a few times.
What range I got with this Energica, more numbers
With the zero the best range number I got so far was 120 km in similar conditions. Just simply adding 50% would result in a total range of 180 km on highways. Now I didn’t expect that to work out since there is a lot more to take into account. For example the bikes have a totally different drive train configuration.
The zero uses an air cooled motor powered by around 100V and transferring that to the rear wheel using a belt drive. The Energica is a lot heavier, uses a higher voltage system, a liquid cooled motor and a chain drive.
Still I ended up using only 25% of the battery over that distance, a quick calculation then shows that the total range would’ve been 168 km or just shy of 170 km. And that is already pretty close to the claimed numbers and 1.5x the zero, again in similar conditions.
On the zero I know that I get an “instant” consumption indication on the dash that moves around (slowly correcting for differences in speed) between 75Wh/km and 95Wh/km on that specific track. They call it an instant consumption but it clearly uses a moving average cause you see the number constantly changing in a very slow way and you can even notice how it’s always running behind the actual consumption.
On the Energica the instant consumption is exactly that, the power currently used by the motor. So if you slow down you can see that number dropping right away. If you open the throttle it goes up as fast as you gain speed. So truly instant. I wish the Zero could display this.
It’s also in kWh per 100 km which is used by several traditional car manufacturers that now are producing electric vehicles also. Below screenshot gives an indication of the numbers I’ve seen on the dash on that same track. When leaving the highway the average was around 9kWh/100 km which seems to be higher than what zero uses for similar speeds.
While test riding this was also the first time I used this bike on the highway. The added weight for sure is a benefit at these kind of speeds, it feels much more stable and planted that the zero. I also discovered the cruise control is nearly impossible to activate while riding. And that the 100 kmh displayed on the dash seems very optimistic given that I had trouble even passing 90 kmh limited traffic. More about all that in the below video.
It wasn’t a complete honest comparison in other words. By now I’ve confirmed on the Zero that the 100kmh dash speed translates to 95 kmh on my GPS. So I’ll rerun this test on the Energica on the same GPS speed. Also I found out that I couldn’t use the ECO mode because of it’s speed limit but other users pointed out that the RAIN mode is a perfect solution for that. And I was running the zero in ECO so I’ll change that also when I rerun this test.
What Energica claims their bikes can do on a single charge
Just finish this article I’ll also give you some of the numbers that Energica has listed on their website. Their listing claims 230 km for mixed use and 180 km range for highway use. So all in all I wasn’t that far from their number. They probably tested on flat surface and with better temperatures. I bet I’ll achieve that range in those conditions.
That 400 km range in city usage is something Zero also has listed on their website but is rather useless. Unless you like riding in the city all day long. In that case I would recommend going for a lighter zero model anyway.