Although Energica is primarily known as an electric motorcycle maker, its electrification plans definitely don’t stop with bikes. As early as 2020, the Italian OEM partnered with fellow Italian company Sealence—and if you’re unfamiliar, the name is probably giving you ocean vibes because it is, in fact, all about ships. In fact, the two firms joined hands specifically so they could develop electric propulsion systems for ships.
Then, in September, 2021, American electric vehicle firm Ideanomics took a 70-percent controlling stake in Energica. That company’s stated goal is to “accelerat[e] the commercial adoption of electric vehicles,” by focusing on the vehicles themselves, charging infrastructure, and the financing necessary to make it happen. What would change for Energica? What would stay the same? Obviously, those on the outside of the deal couldn’t do much more than speculate.
In March, 2022, Energica officially announced its new Energica Inside program, meant to partner with OEMs and startups to get their own electrification efforts off the ground. At the time of the announcement, of course, our main thought was about electric motorcycles—after all, motorcycle history is filled with tales of chassis-makers who used supplier engines to match up with their frames, and went on to great acclaim. Why couldn’t that tradition get a new twist in the 21st century?
Now that it’s March, 2023, it seems that Energica is about to venture into some new territory: Flight. It’s partnering with not just one, but two flight-related firms to help electrify ultra-light and light aircraft. The first is Phenix Air Corp, a French tech consulting firm. The second is airplane manufacturer Pure Flight.
So far, under the Phenix Air Corp partnership, an Energica electric powertrain has been integrated into an airplane propeller for testing. The next step, the firms say, is to try integrating the electric Energica powertrain into an ultra-light seaplane for flight testing. Elsewhere in Phenix-land, a separate parallel project is already underway that involves an Energica powertrain inside a purpose-built Sonex airframe for small aircraft applications. The plan here is for things like training, intrastate travel, and of course aerobatics.
What about Energica’s partnership with Pure Flight? In this case, engineers are currently puzzling out ways to integrate an Energica powertrain into Pure Flight’s ΦNIX airplane. Their goal, as stated, is “to achieve the highest possible range for all-electric intra-European air travel.”
"With this collaboration, Energica's technology is literally taking to the skies. Aviation is one of the most challenging industries to decarbonize and I am very proud to be supporting the industry-leading Phenix Air Corp on their journey to develop and bring to market zero-emission ultralight aircraft," Energica CEO Livia Cevolini said in a statement.
Sources: Energica, Ideanomics