But the Efesto hybrid kit is the first we have head of that will attach to an existing fuel-powered bike.
It consists of a 100hp electric motor, battery pack and chain drive, plus electronic controls that allow the rider to select the Ducati engine, the electric motor or a combination of the two, yielding 299hp and 300Nm of torque.
Luca unveiled the Efesto protoype at the recent EICMA motorcycle show in Milan.
On the prototype, the electric motor sits underneath the bike, but Luca says it does not compromise clearance or lean angles.
The inverter is hidden behind the radiator and the high-voltage battery pack is installed below the tail subframe. It looks a bit ugly, but it’s not as bad as some electric bikes we’ve seen.
The electric motor is connected via chain to the secondary shaft.
Riders can select the power mode via a control on the left switchblock.
Mode 1 is purely Ducati’s 205hp L-twin engine. Meanwhile, the battery is being recharged by taking some of the engine’s power and through regenerative braking.
The battery can only be recharged via these methods using Efesto’s special software. You cannot plug in the battery to the mains to recharge.
To select mode 2 for pure electric drive, the rider has to select neutral and switch off the Ducati engine.
In this mode, it is twist-and-go like a scooter with no gears.
Luca claims it will ride for 30 to 40 minutes in urban traffic below 70km/h.
They called it xDrive Hybrid, but it was for a two-wheel-drive motorcycle, not a hybrid-powered bike.
At the time, BMW Motorrad Australia GM Andreas Lundgren said there was a “very thin border between fact and fiction in their pranks … the concept is plausible”.
The Bavarian jokesters are famous for their April Fool’s Day jokes, having begun running spoof advertisements on April 1 in the early 1980s.
BMW’s marketing department says April Fool jokes are “designed to teeter on the verge of credibility” and often focus on a new and revolutionary piece of technology, but “push the idea just beyond the plausible.”
Some of their other April 1 pranks were a self-cleaning car, remote-inflatable tyres, dog-repellent bumpers, tyres that melted snow and a self-driving car that follows you when you go for a jog.
However, BMW may still be serious about a two-wheel-drive adventure motorcycle in the future.
There have been several other two-wheel-drive motorcycles before, most notably Yamaha’s 2WD system called 2-TRAC. They used it to tackle the Dakar Rally but it never made it into mass production.
The idea is not dead yet with Yamaha, either. Their PES2 electric bike is 2WD and the Japanese company has filed a patent for a new 2WD system with an electric motor driving the front wheel.
Other 2WD products and concepts include the Christini dirt bikes, Suzuki Nuda concept, Rokon, Ural 2WD outfits and Australia’s own Drysdale stroker which was intended for the Australian Army.
But the biggest hint that BMW may actually be considering a 2WD bike comes from BMW accessories company Wunderlich.