This one’s going to generate some conversation and we’re ready for it. Can you ride an electric motorcycle across Australia? Short answer, yes!
Last year we were inspired, impressed and dumbfounded by the story of Ed Darmanin, a retired electrical engineer from Sydney who made an awesome 8,500km journey crossing the country on an electric motorcycle. The first leg of his journey was from Sydney to Cape Tribulation in Far North Queensland and back. His next trip was 4,500km from Perth to Sydney crossing the Nullabor Plains. Ambitious? Incredibly. Insane? Not so much! But a calculated risk…
Reading Ed’s story and talking to him yielded some interesting insights into what it would take to make this journey. The nature of electric motorcycle technology means that long endless stretches of highway aren’t your friend. Electric motorcycles work in the opposite way to internal combustion engines. City riding will give you more range on an electric bike because of regenerative braking/less power pushing through the motor/less wind drag/etc.
But if you’re on a 200km stretch of highway between charging points – what’s an electric moto rider to do?
Ed’s answer to the current charging infrastructure was to ride as slow as possible – 50km/h to make sure his battery lasted between long rest stops. Painstaking. However, with patience and an unbeatable sense of adventure he was able to cross the Nullabor Plains, and make it all the way to Sydney. If an electric motorcycle can handle the Nullabor Plains, that’s the biggest test to pass – 720km of limestone desert.
Nullarbor is mostly highway riding, so Ed could only count on 150 kms of range at a time. A little more if you have some nice tailwinds. There can be up to 200 kms between rest stops, and looking at the EV chargers along his route, there was a leg of 1,400kms between Madura WA and Tanunda SA with no fast charging.
The bike Ed was riding was a Harley Davidson Livewire. The 2022 model has a 15.5 kWh battery with a top speed of 175 km/h with a motor that will give you about 105hp. The riding range on the Livewire ranges between 110 km of highway riding and 250 km of city riding.
His technique of using regenerative braking on the highway, making use of the tailwinds and the good ol’ kindness of strangers saw him safely across the plains. Some nights he would have to charge his Livewire for up to 11 hours using just a plain old wall socket, something else to consider if you’re going to make a journey of this magnitude.
Incidentally – cross country trips like this will become infinitely easier and quicker once the NRMA rural charging infrastructure project with the Federal government is complete:
If you’re thinking of making this kind of journey yourself we would encourage you to read Ed’s story, there is some critical advice in there. However, with the increasing advancement of electric motorcycles, Ed’s journey would look much different, even just one year on.
If Ed were to attempt this journey again with an updated bike and new charging stations across the country it would have been a much quicker ride for him.
Comparing the HD Livewire to the recently released Energica Experia is what gives us the confidence to say that yes, you can ride an electric motorcycle across Australia. The Experia is the first ever completely green tourer and it’s a huge leap forward for electrical adventure riders.
Comparatively to the Livewire the Energica Experia has a combined riding range of 257km (420km in urban areas, 210km highway). At least these were the official reports from Energica. As we started letting the Experia loose on Australian riders, their testimonials have yielded some interesting insights.
Our client Brett from Brisbane took home the first Experia in Australia and a few weeks after it arrived we heard this from him.
“I did a ride out to Mt. Glorious yesterday via D’aguilar from my house in Belmere, ~96km each way, basically 200km…and still had 48% SOC remaining…so not bad at all, I “guesstimate” in excess of 345+ would not be out of the question. I was just riding normally, no fast stuff, but not too slow either, just speed limit stuff”
Interesting. It was great to hear that in reality the riding range of the Experia yields more than what the brochure had to say. If Ed were to make his journey again with an Energica Experia on the road, having that extra 100 kms would have been very reassuring.
If an adventurous electric motorcycle rider can make a journey of up to 8,500km on the Livewire, we have no doubt having the superior Experia would handle the journey no problem. Just make sure to clear your calendar if you’re planning to make the journey, this is an adventure that requires patience and planning.
Last week Ed swung by our electric motorcycle dealership in Burleigh Heads to pick up his new Energica Experia. We have no official word if/when Ed would be making a cross country journey like this, however we’ll be here cheering him on when he does.
The Energica Experia is available for test riding at the Australian Electric Motor Co dealership in Burleigh Heads. Get in touch with us if the Experia is something you would like to consider as your adventure companion.