THE BRITS ARE COMING!
THE BRITS ARE COMING!
The famed British bike brand Triumph was established in 1902 and from Marlon Brando in The Wild One to Steve McQueen (actually, stunt rider Bud Ekins) in The Great Escape and including decades of racing success, their gas-powered motorcycles have played a huge role in both cultural and sporting history.
Now, especially with the UK making a hard push for zero-emission vehicles, Triumph has offered a teasing glimpse of what they had planned for their first electric motorcycle two years ago—the TE-1 platform.
Of course, there’s been no shortage of historically gas-powered vehicle manufacturers shifting resources and looking towards to an electric future. From General Motors saying it will be making only electric vehicles by 2035 to Harley-Davidson’s push with their impressive Livewire, Triumph is merely the latest iconic brand to follow along.
For Triumph, phase one of the TE-1 project was based simply on announcing the project’s existence. The next phase will be a working prototype. They already have the main motor and battery in prototype form.
Triumph didn’t put this together completely in-house. They chose to find companies with the expertise to make this the right way. They have been working on this concept with several partners, including Williams Advanced Engineering, Integral e-Drive, WMG at the University of Warwick, The Office For Zero Emission Vehicles and Innovate UK.
Williams came up with an innovative, lightweight battery and integrated vehicle control unit. Integral developed an energy-dense motor and a powerful inverter; WMG at the University of Warwick provided all the computer modeling; and Triumph did what they do best—developed a chassis and driveline that will
provide what they say will “feel and perform like a Triumph without any compromise.”
The project has been funded by the UK Government’s office for Zero Emission vehicles (OZEV) and delivered through Innovate UK.
THE POWER INSIDE
Integral Powertrain Ltd.’s E-Drive division used their experience to integrate the motor and inverter into one single, compact package to reduce mass and volume. The motor will put out a massive 130 kW, or about 180 horsepower, and weighs in at a svelte 10 kilograms.
“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.”
Triumph has been working in-house on their advanced vehicle-control software that incorporates all of the electrical systems to offer intuitive throttle response, regenerative braking, traction control and more. They’ll need all those controls for a bike this powerful to not be scary to ride, especially mapping the throttle response. There’s no word yet on whether they’ll have any rider-customizable features similar to the Livewire or any of the Zero motorcycles.
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 lineup.
“We are incredibly pleased to have the support of OZEV and Innovate UK, and to be working together with the UK’s electrification experts and academic leaders, in an endeavor that ultimately is focused on the future prosperity of the British industry and the future of motorcycling.”
Their plan is to get to the next phase and see how close their prototype is to their plan, then make improvements. From the looks of this design, it’s going to be a beautiful and sporty bike. Could the TE-1 eventually make its mark on the culture and history of e-bikes just as their vaunted Bonneville did for the legions of throttle twisters of the past. We’re going to be watching with anticipation.