Vmoto has announced that it has signed an agreement with Ducati to produce the Italian brand’s new electric scooter. Vmoto is a Perth-based company listed in Australia with its manufacturing done in Nanjing, China through its partnership with Shanghai-based manufacturer Super Soco Intelligent Technology. Vmoto and Super Soco’s current distribution network primarily targets Asian and European markets. Super Soco also makes electric motorcycles like the TS, TC, and more recently the TCmax.
The agreement suggests that Ducati may choose to revise and repackage a new, more premium version of the Super Soco CUx electric scooter. Ducati will probably want to make enough changes to differentiate its own e-scooter from the base machine which Xiaomi also sells as its crowdfunded Super Soco CU Electric Smart Scooter (the Beijing-based electronics company helps fund Super Soco). It will also have to compete in the electric scooter market that already has competition. The new e-scooter will be an official Ducati-licensed and marketed product — produced and distributed by Vmoto in limited quantities. The second-generation 2019 Super Soco CUx currently features a 1,300 W Bosch hub motor with a 1.8 kWh removable lithium battery pack, range of 75 km, top speed of 45 km/h, and a front-facing HD camera.
“This is an exciting agreement for Vmoto and we are thrilled that Ducati – renowned for being a top-end manufacturer of Italian motorcycles – has agreed to associate its premium reputation and brand with our electric vehicles. The deal will allow Ducati’s fans to have the opportunity to access premium and high quality 2-wheel electric vehicles supplied by Vmoto and create more confidence to Vmoto’s expanding distributors especially in Europe and further grow Vmoto’s product awareness in these markets,” said Charles Chen, Managing Director of Vmoto. “The release of these premium, limited-edition 2-wheel electric vehicles will command higher pricing and profit margins and are expected to contribute to sales growth over the next two financial years.”
“I am very happy to have contributed to the realisation of this project,” said Graziano Milone, Director of Vmoto Soco Italy. “Vmoto has been able to better interpret the needs of the European consumer by promoting quality products and sophisticated design.”
Ducati has progressively been investing in the development of electrified products. After all, it partnered with Thok E-Bikes to make its MIG-RR electric mountain bike. Ducati CEO Claudio Domenicali has confirmed the brand’s direction towards electrification several times, hinting that an electric motorcycle is being developed. While visiting Thailand, Domenicali even rode someone’s custom electric Hypermotard with a Zero FX powertrain. In the same vein, a collaboration between the Ducati Design Studio and the Milan Polytechnic School of Design (Master in Transportation and Car Design) resulted in a rendered concept by Fernando Pastre Fertonani and Bart Heist.
In an interview for Motorcycle News, Ducati’s Head of Innovation, Pierluigi Zampieri, discussed the challenges that the premium performance brand faces when contemplating electrifying motorcycles. "We’re still developing our production bikes with the aim of being the best on the track. But with electric the difficulty is a compromise between weight and performance or range. Today the whole package is not as good as we would like it to be, because the energy density that you can store is not high enough. The main challenge, technically, is reaching our performance and weight targets."
“Being a company that is usually state of the art, we could arrive (with a product) that’s state of the art or even better than all of our competitors. The problem is: is now the right moment? It’s a small market and we’re still trying to understand when it’ll be ready for such innovation… You try to push the customer but need to know if they like it or not. Would our customers appreciate an electric bike? Is it the right moment for them? Today they want a V4. The big question is: will they want it tomorrow, the day after tomorrow or later still? One day Ducati customers will ask for an electric Ducati, the difficult part is knowing when.”
“We know how long it takes to develop a good bike. We are already drawing what the perfect electric bike is. The problem is: when do we want to bring it out? It is a challenge, but I’m confident we can make an electric bike that’s pure Ducati with pure Ducati character," added Zampieri.