On April 18, 2022, two Energica riders at two opposite ends of the U.S. set out on a single mission: To break the current electric cross-country motorcycle Cannonball record. In keeping with the original 1971 Cannonball, the entire 2,906-mile route between New York City’s Red Ball Garage and the Portofino Hotel in Redondo Beach, California, was the course for both bikes. If all went according to plan, the riders would both cross their respective finish lines on April 22—Earth Day.
It’s called the Charging Across America Challenge 2022. On that chilly April day on the east coast, rider Rob Swartz, who owns Energica of New England and Rob’s Dyno Service, started his run from New York City, heading west on his 2022 Energica EVA EsseEsse9. Simultaneously, rider Steven Day started his journey from Redondo Beach east to New York City on his 2021 Energica EVA Ribelle. (For those unfamiliar, Day already holds a cross-country electric motorcycle record, after riding from Florida to San Diego in 93 hours and becoming the first person to finish a cross-country electric motorbike run in under 100 hours.)
Prior to the challenge, the current electric motorcycle cross-country Cannonball record was set by Diego Cardenas, who took 178 hours and 17 minutes to pilot his Harley-Davidson LiveWire across the country. (It’s worth noting that he did it at a leisurely pace, and wasn’t strictly going for a speed run—a fact other electric motorbike enthusiasts readily acknowledge.) Steven Day and his 2021 Energica EVA Ribelle set a new record of 111 hours to complete his CAAC 2022 run from Redondo Beach to New York City.
Swartz unfortunately ran into some extremely bad luck on his run, which left him unable to complete the challenge this time around. Both riders set out with support vehicles behind them, to shoot photos and video of their attempts and also as backup if anything went wrong. Unfortunately, a semi rear-ended Swartz’s support truck along the way, which you can see and hear about in Day’s post-CAAC 2022 video report above. Luckily, although the semi ended up jackknifing and rolling over, all the people involved were mostly OK, if of course very shaken up by what happened.
Both the Energica EVA EsseEsse9 and EVA Ribelle have DC fast chargers, and were able to achieve at least 90 percent of a full battery after an hour’s charge time. Of course, electric motorcycle batteries aren’t the only things that need recharging during a cross-country trip, so as Elektrek notes, Day also took naps in a chair nearby while his bike was charging.
According to Day, there’s currently a longer video in the works about the journey, using some of the footage that his and Swartz’s support crew shot along the way. Congratulations to Day, Swartz, and everyone involved in making this challenge possible, and we look forward to seeing that video when it comes out!