Ideanomics completed its majority share acquisition of Energica Motor Company with an announcement and press conference at Nasdaq last week and invited CleanTechnica along for an inside look. It was interesting looking under the hood at the business model, fundament assumptions, revenue projections, and technological advances planned for the company after the acquisition. But let’s start with the motorcycles, shall we?
After the press event, Energica outfitted me and a couple of other journalists with helmets and gave us a guided tour around NYC on their bikes. I got to ride the Esse Esse 9, a classic cruiser-style ride that showcases Energica’s shift from pure racing bikes to more ubiquitous models. This non-racing bike still goes zero to sixty in HOLY SH*T (2.8 seconds), has an impressive 109 HP motor, and sports a 153 miles combined city/highway range.
Plus, it’s so…freaking…beautiful. (BTW, CleanTechnica T-shirts available in our online store)
We rode the bikes for about an hour and change through and around the city, and the few times I was able to open it up, I will confirm this bike might just be able to peel skin from your face with its acceleration. I loved the handling in particular, and many of the comments about Energica bikes that I’ve read focus on the high end precision engineering that led to them being the premier electric motorcycle racing bike in the world, which was clear in the responsiveness of the bike and overall feel of stability and power. The words of Livia Cevolini, CEO of Energica, rang true, that given the company springs from Italy’s famed Motor Valley (home of Lamborgini, Ducati, Ferrari, and more), and that it started with the highest end of the market (racing), it HAD to be an incredible bike. That design and engineering focus has clearly created some great bikes, but it also hints at the bigger picture behind the acquisition by Ideanomics.
Ideanomics (Nasdaq: IDEX) started as a FinTech company and went through a bumpy period with a number of name changes and leadership changes. However, it has now been consistent in its approach, strategy, and leadership, with CEO Alf Poor overseeing the company’s transition into the EV world for 3+ years. The acquisition of Energica is the latest in a string of acquisitions executed by Poor and his team, acquisitions which include Solectrac (electric tractor startup from California), WAVE (Utah-based wireless charging), Treeletrik (Malaysia-based electric scooter company), US Hybrid (powertrain components for the electrification of fleets), and more.
So is Ideanomics simply a reimagined VC? Is the whole greater than the sum of the parts?
The key, according to Poor, is the synergistic relation between these companies with somewhat outwardly disparate business models. As he describes it, there is a ton of crossover in the tech underlying electric vehicles, whether light duty, heavy duty, part of a fleet, two wheels or four, flying or ground-based. According to Cevolini, the engineering behind their high performance bikes is like a book — the tech is supported by “more lines of code than the space shuttle,” she said. And the idea is that much of that engineering can be carried over to tractors, scooters, aviation, fleets, and more — the vehicle control units, the components, the AI…much of the book they’ve written can be chunked off into chapters to help in other types of applications of electrified transport.
They call it “Energica Inside,” and when I spoke with Poor about it, I asked if a comparison to Intel Inside was fair. Intel decided early on that instead of competing with other PC makers and building out the whole product, they’d focus on the engine and the tech inside those products — in other words providing chips to Dell, IBM, and other early movers in the PC space. Intel ended up dominating the chip market. Ideanomics feels this is a path forward for them, as an aggregator of best tech across multiple types of EVs and then also providing financing (they haven’t entirely moved away from their FinTech roots), they can lubricate the EV ecosystem and accelerate the transition across the board.
For those interested in a deeper dive into the business, I interviewed both Alf Poor and Livia Cevolini for CleanTechnica’s podcast CleanTech Talk, with episodes coming soon so subscribe on Apple, Spotify, or Stitcher!
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