Writing about bikes for 20 years. Published in dozens of titles on five continents. Mildly obsessed with discovering how things work.
Triumph has confirmed that it’s developing a prototype electric bike – the TE-1 – to investigate battery-powered powertrains and prepare for future production models.
The firm has started collaboration with Williams Advanced Engineering, part of the Williams Group that also encompasses the eponymous F1 team, along with electric drive specialists Integral Powertrain and the University of Warwick. Funding is coming from the UK government’s Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy (BEIS) and the Office for Low Emission Vehicles (OLEV), via Innovate UK, a non-departmental UK government body that that aims to drive economic growth by supporting businesses in the development of new ideas and technology.
Together, the partners in the project will be aiming to develop an electric motorcycle that’s commercially viable and meets the needs of customers.
It’s the first time Triumph has expressly confirmed that it’s developing an electric bike, although rumours of its plans to do so have been circulating for a while.
Steve Sargent, Triumph’s Chief Product Officer, said: “Our future product strategy is focused on delivering the most suitable engine platforms for the changing landscape of customer needs, and we see a Triumph electric powertrain as a significant requirement alongside our signature twin and triple cylinder engines. As part of our electric motorcycle initiative, Project Triumph TE-1 represents an exciting collaboration that will provide valuable input into our future line-up. We are incredibly pleased to have the support of OLEV and Innovate UK, and to be working together with the UK’s electrification experts and academic leaders, in an endeavour that ultimately is focused on the future prosperity of British industry, and the future of motorcycling.”
Triumph is leading the project and providing the expertise on the chassis engineering and the manufacturing side of things, as well as laying out the requirements for the electric powertrain in terms of power delivery characteristics. Williams Advanced Engineering is responsible for the battery design and integration, while Integral Powertrain is working on the electric motors.
Craig Wilson, Managing Director of Williams Advanced Engineering, said: “The team at Williams Advanced Engineering is looking forward to applying our expertise in the electrification of transport with our partners. Williams has powered a number of world-renowned electric vehicles already and this will be a significant further step in our work by taking that knowledge onto two wheels.”
“Integral Powertrain has always pushed the boundaries of e-drive technology working with clients to find the best solution to meet their exact requirements”, said Andrew Cross, Chief Technical Officer at Integral Powertrain Ltd. “This project will draw upon the extensive motor and EV experience gained over the past 20 years working with major OEMs and Tier 1 suppliers in the automotive and motorsport sectors. We are extremely pleased to be supporting Triumph Motorcycles with their future electrification strategy and in a project where we can apply our experience to engineer an extremely power dense, efficient and highly integrated motorcycle electric drive.”
Professor David Greenwood, Professor, Advanced Propulsion Systems at WMG, University of Warwick, said: “Electric motorcycles will have a vital role to play in future transport across the globe - delivering reduced congestion and improved urban air quality as well as easing parking. They will also be great to ride, with copious, easily controlled torque delivered smoothly at all road speeds. WMG has experience of battery technology and vehicle electrification for road, rail, sea and air which it will bring to this exciting sector. Our expert team will lead the modelling and simulation work within the project, to ensure the vehicles are safe and efficient without compromise to dynamic performance.”