Recently, I sat down with Livia Cevolini, CEO of Energica Motor Company, one of the leading electric motorcycle manufacturer globally. This was part of a press trip to cover the acquisition of Energica by Ideanomics, where I joined the execs from both companies at the Nasdaq for the announcement, investor preso, and a ridiculously fun ride around New York City on the insanely sick Esse Esse 9 , Energica’s cruiser bike. #bloggerperks!
Cevolini was our latest guest on the CleanTech Talk podcast (embedded below).
I asked Cevolini to discuss the Ideanomics acquisition. On the surface it looks a little chaotic — Ideanomics has acquired everything from micromobility startups to electric tractors to wireless charging to, now, electric racing motorcycles. But Cevolini explained it, saying “Ideanomics is the perfect group for us.” Ideanomics is doing the same type of thing (infusing capital into EV startups) with other companies, so she points out the synergies are helpful to the entire ecosystem.
According to Cevolini, Energica has a big advantage compared to the rest of the industry. She indicated that when they started 12 years ago, no one was doing what they were doing. So they had to build everything from scratches, and she said they made a lot of mistakes, which they can now advise the other EV startups in the Ideanomics ecosystem to not make those mistakes. She said they want to do this with all the companies inside the group, as well as companies outside the group.
“The whole industry has to grow as fast as possible,” she said.
Her analogy to a book is helpful in understanding how the Energica acquisition will help the other EV players in and out of the Ideanomics ecosystem. The story is not how Tesla leapfrogged the rest of the automotive industry, but it has an unlike added twist. Energica created a high end racing motorcycle in Italy’s motor valley…it is probably one of the most difficult undertakings in engineering to brush elbows with Ducati, Lamborgini, and others in that area of Italy, and to create an EV that performs at that level while Being top quality, fast AF, top-level handling, and, of course, gorgeous. The resulting blueprint for the bikes, including the vehicle control units, contains more lines of code than the space shuttle. She uses this analogy to explain that chapters from that book could be replicated and tweaked to help e-scooters, electric tractors, etc., to simply perform better.
Cevolini goes on to talk about how the Ideanomics investment will help facilitate Energica’s expansion, plans for further products, the bikes, and the reason she believes Energica will beat the bejeesus out of Harley Davidson’s electric motorcycle offerings (my words, definitely not hers!) .
Throughout the conversation, I was simply floored by Cevolini’s humility — as a woman who has blown the top off the glass ceiling in one of the most male-dominated industries in the world, she is easily one of the most accomplished and influential CEOs in the clean tech universe. Yet she maintains a sense of the greater good in a way that defers the glory that she rightfully deserves. Listen in!
For much more on these topics, listen to the full podcast interview via the embedded SoundCloud player above or on your favorite podcast network: Anchor, Apple Podcasts/iTunes, Breaker, Google Podcasts, Overcast, Pocket, Podbean, Radio Public, SoundCloud, Spotify , or Stitcher.
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