Could electrification be the spark Benelli needs?
Zhejiang QJmotor Co., the parent company of QJmotor and Benelli, unveiled an electric motorcycle concept called the QJ7000D at the 2021 Beijing Motor Show.
The “QJ” indicates that this prototype would be destined for the QJmotor brand, which currently sells more than a dozen gas-powered motorcycles for the Chinese market. The QJ7000D would be the company’s first proper electric motorcycle; however, with three e-scooters in the lineup, these folks are no strangers to electric propulsion.
Zhejiang QJmotor Co. purchased Benelli in 2019, and currently sells motorcycles under that brand name in markets outside Asia. With the Italian outfit unable to find solid footing in many years, could electrification be the solution to Benelli regaining relevant and competitiveness? Moreso, with several online sources saying the QJ700D could push the upper limits of electric performance, it may further reestablish Benelli’s presence.
While no tech specs were made available at the unveiling, the QJ7000D is a fully-faired sport bike with four LED headlights, an inverted front fork, rear monoshock, clip-on handlebars, and chain drive. Where you’d find the gas tank on a conventional motorcycle, the QJ7000D has a storage compartment big enough for a full-face helmet. A clean tailpiece points sharply upward, making for an aggressively high step in the two-piece seat. The prototype only carries a single brake disc out front, which we expect would be swapped to a twin setup if the rumored performance level comes to fruition.
Building a performance-focused motorcycle wouldn’t be out of the question for QJmotor, which already sells a 600cc sport bike (the QJ600GS-3B) with an inline four, KYB suspension and Brembo brakes. Time will tell, however, if and when this prototype will wear the Benelli badge. If it does, it could very well be the spark that Benelli needs.