Tacita Discanto: Electric Motorcycle vs. Dakar

Tacita Discanto
The Tacita Discanto, headed for Dakar at the end of the month. Photo: Tacita

The Dakar Rally is about to go green… sort of. Once again, the ASO (organizers of the event) are running an alternative energy category in the desert race, and once again Tacita is going to tackle the challenge. This time, they’re going to run their new flagship adventure bike, the Discanto.

In the past, Tacita made headlines by challenging the Merzouga Rally with an electric bike. Their two attempts, made about a decade ago, were learning experiences but they didn’t result in a big switch-over to longer rally raids like the Dakar Rally or Africa ECO Race. Tacita did run an electric motorcycle, its previous T-Race Rally model, at the 2020 Dakar—but that was only for the closing stage. That parade lap only lasted a few dozen kilometers and in no way showed the bike was ready for the full event.

Now, Tacita plans to challenge the Dakar Future Mission 1000 challenge. This is a sort of race-within-a-race, a separate class aimed at developing, promoting and exploring the realities of alternative energies in the world of rally raid racing. Tacita will bring its latest adventure bike for this event.

There are very few publicly-available details on the machine at this point. Tacita claims a running-order weight of 180 kg. That’s a surprisingly low number; electric motorcycles with long battery range generally weigh a lot, since their batteries are heavy. Perhaps Tacita has a plan for regularly quick-swapping batteries along the race course.

Tacita Discanto
The Tacita Discanto is here to challenge Dakar in 2024, but we don’t know much about the machine’s specs yet. Credit: Tacita

Aside from that, all we know about the bike is that it comes with a liquid-cooled motor and a five-speed transmission, which is unusual in the world of electric motorcycles; most run a twist-and-go throttle. Also, Tacita says the bike’s handling dynamics are improved, with better front-rear weight balance thanks to changes in chassis and battery placement when compared to the previous T-Race Rally.

Stay tuned on this one, because if Tacita does well, it might point a potential path forward for EVs at Dakar. As it stands right now, cars, buggies and maybe trucks look like they’ll figure out the challenges of electric racing, but nobody has really come up with a decent plan for racing battery bikes in the desert.

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