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14 days ago
By motogp.com

Giving tradition a new lease of life

Livia Cevolini, the first female CEO in motorsport, led the project that made Energica the sole supplier of the MotoE ™ World Cup

Family, innovation, and the irrepressible desire to do are the engine and the (clean) energy that led Livia Cevolini to become the managing director of Energica Motor Company Spa, the sole supplier of the electric motorcycles that compete in the FIM ENEL MotoE ™  Cup. This project is the result of a life built towards intertwining engineering with innovation and work with passion.

Growing up in Modena, a city known as the Land of Motors, it was normal for Livia as a child to wake up in the middle of the night between Saturday and Sunday to watch the Grand Prix live on the other side of the world. Motorsport at a professional level was not the only reference market for CRP, the company founded by her father, but a real lifestyle shared by the whole Cevolini family.

Accustomed to walking through the paddocks since she was very young, as a child Livia dreamed of being a painter or a dancer: "Everything except what I'm doing - she laughs - Even if in reality there is a bit of everything in my work". "From the moment I started working in the family business, I always tried to do something that represented me or that in any case followed my strings, combining all this with technique".

Given her passions, it seemed difficult to find a common point between personal interests and the core business of a company at the forefront of motorsport. But, at times, the fear of giving up something important leads to decidedly radical ideas, very different to those planned: "After high school, I started the school of restoration, but I realized that I would not have wanted to give up what my grandfather and father had started. I liked that area but I didn't see myself in the office designing ".

Energica CEO reflects on an electrifying first MotoE™ race

From there the decision to go into the engineering business was taken and then, over time, their own space within the CRP was created: "In the company they were already very good even without me, what I wanted to do was to bring imagination, inspiration to combine it with technique and create a winning project. Then when I started working, I realized that I could live in a very technical environment, but carving out a role that was useful for the company and that at the same time made me feel satisfied. Usually, women are more imaginative, more creative, and more open to innovation ".

And it is precisely that innovation which fuels Livia's ideas and entrepreneurial projects. She explains to us: "If I saw limits I would not be an entrepreneur. The limit is sometimes physical because you can't do everything you have in mind. If there is anything that blocks me, it is security. I always think of others, of the people who work with me and I don't want to put them in a dangerous situation. We are setting ourselves challenges rather than obstacles to overcome ”.

Her father Roberto was her role model and mentor in both life and work: “He taught me that if you fall you get up knowing you have learned a lesson. If you make mistakes it means that you are doing something difficult because if you stayed in your comfort zone you would always find yourself doing the same things, you would never go wrong but you would not even learn anything new ".

The determination and the desire to never give up have allowed Livia to face new, risky challenges that over time have repaid her courage and commitment: "In 2008 we lost 80% of turnover. Lights out, a silent company, it was an unprecedented situation in 50 years of activity. At that point, I looked at my father and my brother and we thought about starting over with a new project, an electric motorcycle, a project that could be diversified, to help reinvent ourselves and to get out of the difficult moment ". And this is how Energica Motor Company S.p.a. was born, the first company producing supersport electric motorcycles in Italy.

A company in which there is a lot of Italian style but above all, there is a lot of Emilia, a region of Italy famed for its luxury cars and motorbikes;

 "We wrote Proudly Made In Modena on our bikes because our area has a very important history for engines. Made in Italy is synonymous with high quality, rigor in detail, but as far as the engines are concerned, we reach the extreme in our parts. We come from the land where Ferrari and Ducati were born, companies famous all over the world for making the most beautiful and most performing cars and motorcycles. And, from this point of view, we have a great responsibility ”.

Based on her own experience, combined with this tradition together with the desire to face the economic crisis, the first electric motorcycle models were born which participated in the first competitions and immediately won races. And it was in those same years that, carrying out development, the Ego road super sports car was born, the starting model for the racing version, the Ego Corsa, for a new and long-term project desired by Dorna Sports and the FIM.

"There is nothing new to invent. What you can do is let yourself be inspired by something that already exists, interpret it in an innovative way to create a unique combination. After all, this is what we are doing with the MotoE ™ World Cup: motorcycles existed, electric motorcycles as well, even races, but what did not yet exist were electric motorcycle competitions”.

On the other hand, returning to be part of the world of competitions as a great protagonist was what Livia was looking for ever since she entered the electric market: "In my opinion, from a marketing point of view, taking part in a championship is very important, it is one of the strongest, most direct communication methods for selling one's product ”.

Committed to finding the ideal situation, the opportunity arose when Dorna Sports and the FIM began looking for a single supplier to create a new Cup. This was an intriguing challenge for Livia and Energica, but at the same time complex: "Dorna is a very strong brand, it is the number one company in the world in this sector. They had to be sure to choose the single manufacturer with the best project, we, on our side, had to prove that we were able to offer bikes with all the required features and performance - she highlights before being able to say with satisfaction - We are the only manufacturers in the world of high-performance electric motorcycles and we worked tirelessly to get this far ”. In short, it was not at all easy to get the go-ahead, but the most complex part was yet to come.

“We are learning together, we are testing ourselves every day. We continue to discover what it takes to make a single-brand electric championship and Dorna continues to discover how to improve this type of Cup. Everything is new for everyone but none of us are satisfied, we are constantly confronting ourselves to improve this collaboration, in which ENEL also participates, who are not only a title sponsor but a very important supplier that gives life to this project. It is a white paper and three of us are writing it and what has been written so far shows that we are committed to a winning project ”.

The debut of the FIM ENEL MotoE ™ World Cup took place at Sachsenring, in July 2019, a couple of months later than the date originally planned due to a fire that saw all the bikes burn in Jerez during the pre-season test. An unexpected and dramatic episode to which Livia reacted without hesitation by immediately sending her employees home to reactivate the entire production chain: “I then immediately informed ENEL and Dorna, telling them that we would have redone the bikes in time to start the season in 2019. The first bikes were built in one year, the new ones in two months. There was no time to waste but only to roll up your sleeves and work ".

An unforeseen setback, which led to a fight against time that saw Livia and Energica come out victorious: “The first time I hit the track at the Sachsenring and saw all the bikes lined up, I realized what we were able to do. We hadn't set up just one team, we hadn't built two bikes, but we did an entire championship ”.

The worries, fears, sleepless nights spent designing were all worth it as the FIM ENEL MotoE™ World Cup came to fruition in 2019, and it is now readying itself for its third round of action in 2020, at the Grand Prix Lenovo in San Marino and the Rimini Riviera, scheduled to take place from September 11 to 13 at the Misano World Circuit Marco Simoncelli.

 

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