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Airtech Europe
Airtech Europe
Techtextil NA & TexProcess

28th June 2018, Modena

CRP’s technology in first Italian electric motorcycle

In Modena, homeland of supercars and motor valley of Italy, the first high-performance full electric motorcycle Ego was created by Energica Motor Company, using F1 technologies and the Windform family of high performance composite materials by CRP Group.

The use of Laser Sintering technology and Windform composite materials enabled Energica to be on the market quickly, accelerating the prototyping and product development phase. The Energica project stems from the entrepreneurial vision of the Cevolini family, owners of the CRP Group, after the CRP Racing experience in parallel with eCRP back in 2009.

The first high-performance full electric motorcycle Ego. © CRP Group

The CRP Group was involved in the industrial development of Energica since the very first prototypes, which contain parts made with Selective Laser Sintering technology and Windform carbon or glass fibre filled composite materials. The materials were engineered by the RD department of CRP Technology, the CRP Group’s company that has been dealing with professional 3D printing for over 20 years.

CRP Group also has over 45 years of experience as a supplier of innovative and cutting-edge technological solutions alongside the major F1, Moto GP, Rally Raid and ALMS teams. The Group has always provided these teams with a high level of support during the entire development phases of the projects, from the early stages of design and development to the construction process.

Energica Ego motorcycle motor housing

The motor housing is an important component of electric motorcycles, with highly complex features. From the very start, Energica engineers and CRP Group staff worked together to redesign the component, in order to accommodate the rotor, stator, and the speed reducer. The propulsion unit to be supported is so flexible and compact, that the Energica motor housing can be adapted to any vehicle.

3D printed functional prototype in Windform LX 2.0 housing assembly and processing tests. © CRP Group

The Energica Ego reducer is composed by straight-cut gear train that adds strength while providing simplicity of design and a pleasing sound. The structure holds the shaft and pinion and final drive to the wheel with a standard, tried-and-true motorcycle chain. For the redesign of the motor housing, Energica and CRP teams had to consider different requirements, namely lightness, high resistance, and the correct sizing of the gears and appropriate choice of materials/ heat treatments.

3D printed functional prototype

CRP Technology handled the construction of a functional prototype. The prototype was manufactured via SLS technology in Windform LX 2.0, composite polyamide-based material reinforced with a new generation glass fibre, now replaced by Windform LX 3.0.

Aluminum billet, CNC machined motor housing prototype – setting up phase. © CRP Group

The part allowed the technicians to validate the 3D CAD drawing and helped Energica mechanics to work on the development of the motorcycle. The 3D printed functional prototype was mounted directly on the motorcycle, enabling a full check of potential major issues related to the assembly of each part. “Being able to touch the 3D printed prototype of the motor housing was very important for us, as we are the ones who manage fit and assembly,” said the technicians of Energica Motor Company.

Prototype CNC aluminium billet

Once the CAD file has been validated, the next phase involved the choice of materials to create an aluminium prototype. The requirements, very similar to those required by the world of racing were performance, light weight, and resistance to temperature.

The aluminium alloys chosen were 6082 and 7075. CRP has produced the CNC machined from billet through CRP Meccanica’s 5-axis production systems. The central part, the largest, originally had a pass-through window to allow the motor to be positioned inside. Each side was a half shell of the whole. One of the two halves was to receive the gearing housing, with a cover to seal it all in. The pinion and oil pan are housed in the lower half of the motor housing.

Aluminium billet CNC machined motor housing prototype, mounted on Energica Prototipo Zero – road ready. © CRP Group

CRP Group selected 6082 aluminium alloy for the large motor housing and 7075 for lids. “This phase has been completed in a short time. CRP supported us very much, and we did not have any problem with the component, both during the bench tests and the assembly on the motorcycle: the tolerances required were very complicated and tight, as the project included two rows of bearings (those on the motor, plus the outer ones to support the output shaft). Later, we were able to validate the road-going prototype,” added Energica technicians.

Rapid casting and pre-series

The following phase involved the realisation of models for pre-series. The component was manufactured by traditional sand casting process, with the same alloy used in the second phase.

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