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Meet the ‘female Elon Musk’ pioneering electric motorcycle racing

As the MotoE World Cup prepares for its sophomore season, Livia Cevolini, CEO of the series' motorcycle manufacturer Energica, believes technology and shifting public opinion mean zero emissions racing is ready to go mainstream."Finally, we're able to commit to each other," the 41-year-old Italian told CNN. "Motorsport is a big part of our everyday life, and environmental technologies have to be the same. So, it's good to see that we're able to commit to each other and collect attention from new people."READ: How a remote desert is powering the electric vehicle revolution

'Fan favorites'

Cevolini founded Energica in 2014, aged just 36, in her home town of Modena, Italy's motor racing heartland.The company counts the likes of Ferrari, Lamborghini, Maserati, and fellow two-wheeled manufacturer Ducati as neighbors, and its racing heritage runs deep.While she studied engineering, Cevolini interned with the Ferrari F1 team. Giancarlo Minardi, founder of the Minardi F1 team — which he eventually sold to Red Bull — is a company director. Energica's engineering pedigree also takes in the space industry, as well as motorcycle racing — CTO Giampiero Testoni worked with both the Fantic MotoGP team and CRP Racing.Cevolini accepts that some bike purists may remain reluctant to accept MotoE, but sees it as a natural progression for racing."Electric bike racing has to face the obstacles that any change in racing brought in terms of acceptance and recognition," she told CNN."We have seen it many times in motorcycle racing already, with the changes from two-stroke to four-stroke engines (500cc to MotoGP) and with the introduction of Moto3 and Moto2 categories. "All of these have emerged through time as fan-favorites, and MotoE will do just the same."READ: 'Your body is the limit to how fast, not the car'Cevolini sits on one of her company's Energica motorcycles.The technical challenges for the development of the category are already falling away, she believes. "In our first year we were able to match the Moto3 times on more than one occasion — which is an incredible achievement," she said. "So more than obstacles, I see potential in the near future."MotoE has proven its worth as a series already, Cevolini believes: "The motorcycles are all the same, so there are big battles. They're having a lot of fun, both the riders and the public." She added: "People are changing quickly their minds. So even if we think that it's slow, it's not so slow. It's going fast."READ: Fire destroys entire fleet of electric bikes ahead of championshipREAD: Phoenix from the flames — MotoE takes to the circuit just months after fire An Energica electric motorcycle.

Musk comparison

The fledgling race series has helped sales of Energica's road bikes, the company says. Energica is expecting 2019 revenues of about $3.5 million, which would represent 50 percent growth on 2018. Its order backlog for 2020 is already equal to 40 percent of its entire 2019 revenue, it claims."We are a relatively small and young company with a clear identity and a great mission," Cevolini says. "We are already seeing the benefits on our involvement in MotoE in terms of visibility and technology developed on track."Growth, she believes, will be organic. "We are pioneering electric motorcycling in an organic way," she says. "So, in five years I see Energica as a well-established institution with a global reach, and a brand that is recognized as a history-making manufacturer in electric motorcycling."The comparisons to Tesla founder Musk are flattering, Cevolini smiles. "It is obviously an honor to be associated to Elon Musk, someone who has changed the game and revolutionized the car industry," she says. "We want to lead by example as much as he did, but also do it our own way: car and motorcycle industries have some things in common, but also many differences."READ: Shark-fin styling for new Formula E car

Ferrari hero

She does however, have a male role model from closer to home."Being from Modena, and the fact that Energica dug its roots in the Italian motoRead More – Source