Having done some distance on both electric motorcycles now it’s clear to me that the Zero is a bit more efficient than the Energica. But by how much? Let’s find out together in this post!
After some longer rides I also wondered how to ride these electric bikes in the most efficient way possible, time wise. So how to cover the most distance in the least amount of time. An in order to calculate that I needed to know their consumption anyway.
To collect these numbers I’ll ride the bikes in similar conditions aiming at around 15 degrees Celsius ambient temperature and a flat road surface. I’ll use the GPS to ride at a certain speed, thinking of 50, 70, 90 and 120 kph since those are the most common road limits we have here. GPS is needed cause previous tests revealed that Energica is indicating rather high which would give it an advantage.
And it did, using the GPS I found that Zero would report about 2 to 4% higher while Energica does a whopping 10% extra. So on that one I have to ride 99 kph on the dash to go 90. And 128 kph to go 115 kph. That’s almost riding 130 kph on dash! This was already reported by other Energica users so I know it’s not just my bike. I noticed it first when I was doing my range test on the highway and couldn’t overcome heavy transport riding 100 kph on dash while they are only allowed 90 kph.
I started testing consumption riding the following speeds with my zero. It happens to be a nice day so 20 degrees Celsius it is. My rear tire has a small leak so I had to add some air first. Both tires per instructions were set to 2.5 bar. Battery charged at 63% on departure and after 204 km (counted from last full charge) it went to 0% after which I rode it for another 15 km before I gave up. All the numbers in the graph however are in ECO mode and well before reaching even 40% SOC. The first reduction in output on the zero you can feel at 20% SOC.
50 kmh (52 on dash) was 31-33 W/km
70 kmh (72 on dash) was 51-53 W/km
90 kmh (92 on dash) was 71-73 W/km
115 kmh (120 on dash) was 100 W/km
It was a bit of a hassle to get these numbers cause I don’t live near flat roads and the “instant” number on the dash clearly changes a lot based on incline. It was only at 120 kph that the influence of landscape was less noticeable. Likely because most of the consumption then is introduced by drag.
Next up was my Energica. That one was parked right after the 710 km ride charged up to around 80%. I gave it a wash and cleaned and lubed the chain. Tires per instructions set to 2.9 bar. Also around 20% it really starts to reduce output. Except for the 90 and 120 kph numbers this was in ECO mode. Energica has a speed limit at 90 kph (on dash) for the ECO mode so I used RAIN mode for the other numbers.
50 kmh (54 on dash). was 50 W/km
70 kmh (77 on dash). was 90 W/km
90 kmh (98-99 on dash) was 100 W/km
115 kmh (128 on dash). was 150 W/km
So yes it is using a lot more energy. And yes I can ride it at 120 kph on the dash and still be safely below the highway speed limit. Surprising numbers I have to say.
Above is one of the graphs I added in this spreadsheet. The yellow zero numbers seemed way too optimistic compared to the red Energica ones. I can understand its more efficient but not by that much right!? And I know for sure that the App has the units swapped so I experimented with the zero values to get to the blue ones instead.
I also started changing units on the dash hoping I would find a similar error. That didn’t happen though. On the dash the unit conversion seem to be correct. Eventually I discovered that the trip average is way more accurate. That one was showing 50 Wh/km while riding 50 kph. So my corrected numbers are probably right. The upper I’ll retest and update on the graph later on.
Another great suggestion in the comments on this video is to just ride the two bikes together and get an average that way. In my own riding I have an overall average of 82Wh on the Energica versus 72Wh on the Zero. That sounds about right but lacks the breakout per speed and anyone riding electric knows how big the impact of speed on range is.
Having these numbers we can calculate how long it would take to cover a given distance at these speeds. I was pretty convinced I’d need the Energica for optimal long distance rides because of the CCS fast charging. Even if the Energica consumes more it still charges twice as fast.
Just to get a feeling of these numbers I divided the available nominal battery capacities of their batteries by the recorded consumption to get these numbers. Again the non corrected Zero numbers are way too optimistic and would match range of the Energica despite the smaller battery. Another indication these numbers ate wrong.
I understand this range is not realistic anyway because IRL you have to adapt speed for traffic and rarely ride from 100 to 0% battery. But just to compare the two it works. On my corrected numbers I would expect the Zero to do a little better on higher speeds.
Only 80 km range at 115 kph seems a bit too low. However I once did a highway only ride starting at 80% battery riding 120 kph on dash and had to slow down and eventually got stuck with the zero at 0% SOC after doing only just over 60 km. So maybe that’s not too far off.
About charge speeds
For the sake of completeness and comparison I added my Zero SRF in this comparison anyway. For both I’ll start from and count with their optimal charge speeds. I know you can run into issues with heating batteries or slower chargers but let’s not over complicate this for now. So a constant charge speed it is. 12kW for the Zero versus 24kW for Energica.
About that battery temperature issue with the Energica I still need to confirm what the exact threshold is. I know from experience I can charge time after time from 30 to 80 % and at 24kW this results in a 20 min charge time.
The Zero is a little different in that it charges slower at 12kW if you find the right charger but it also throttles less. Again I’ll verify to be sure but I know I can charge from 10% or even lower at full speed up to 80% at least. Going below 10% reduces output too much while riding. At 20% it’s equal to riding in ECO mode. Charging from 10 to 80% takes 43 minutes. From 20 to 80 % is 37 minutes and to compare with the Energica 30 to 80% takes 30 minutes. Note you’ve got a smaller battery so 50% is not equal on both platforms.
For the graphs and full calculations on these charge versus ride speeds and ranges to cover the most distance possible you’ll have to wait for me to get the correct Zero numbers. I also want to double check how much of the Energica battery we can really use without overheating it while fast charging.
Whatever bike you have the best way to cover any distance is to ride it fast. The faster you go the more frequent you’ll have to get a charge stop and it looks like the difference of time gained by rising faster reduces how faster you go. But at a legal 120 kph it’s still in favour of covering more distance by riding faster.
So I would just try to ride at least 90 kph and based on what you prefer ride faster or not. Then just stop as much as needed for charging or breaks as a rider. On my next long distance attempt I’ll use way more highway for sure.