Big name partners with Aussie electric bike company
FORGET throbbing V4 engines in an Italian big-buck sports bike capable of almost 300km/h - the latest newcomer from Ducati will be cheap, cheerful, use no fuel and be lucky to keep up with traffic.
The Italian sports bike manufacturer known for some of the world's most stylish and seductive motorbikes is changing course with its latest newcomer, an all-electric scooter made in China.
Volkswagen-owned Ducati has done a deal with fledgling electric bike manufacturer Vmoto, which has its headquarters in Perth and manufacturers bikes in Nanjing, China.
Technically the latest bikes won't be purebred Ducatis, but a Vmoto branded as the Special Ducati Edition.
They will come with distinctive red and white Ducati branding but be a rebadged version of the SuperSoco CUx scooter, which has a diminutive 2.7kW Bosch electric motor and a top speed of 45km/h.
It's claimed to use the same battery technology as Tesla and have a range of 75km between charges.
Vmoto says the Special Ducati Edition will have a higher price tag than the regular Vmoto CUx - which sells from about $4000 - and be a "premium" version.
It's a far cry from the iconic Ducati Monster and Panigale, each known for their characteristic sound and top speeds closer to 250km/h. The Panigale makes 157.5kW, more than 50 times more power than the Special Ducati Edition scooter.
All of which makes you wonder why Ducati would bother with something so different to every bike it has produced since its first in 1950.
Ducati's broad range of premium-priced sports-focused bikes is priced from $12,490 to $68,190 and the company produces more than 50,000 each year.
But a cheap electric scooter gives Ducati some presence in a new market segment, particularly in the all-important Chinese market, one of the key focuses of the Italian manufacturer.
"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," said Vmoto managing director Charles Chen.
"The deal will allow Ducati's fans to have the opportunity to access premium and high quality two-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."
Besides, the deal is only for a limited time, the Special Edition bikes only being sold until the end of 2020.
Ducati is also rumoured to be producing its own electric motorbike, although you can guarantee it will be very different - and much faster - than the one that will originally bear its name.