Triumph Motorcycles Begins Development Of Ebike

Triumph speaks about its electric motorcycle plans

Triumph logo
Triumph has begun development of an electric motorcycle, joining forces with Williams Advanced Engineering, Integral Powertrain, and Warwick Manufacturing Group.Triumph Motorcycles

Electric bikes are set to be the next big challenge for the world's major motorcycle manufacturers and Triumph has come clean about a joint project it's undertaking to develop a range of new battery-powered machines.

The initial step is a two-year development project—dubbed “Project TE-1”—that sees the firm joining forces with Williams Advanced Engineering, Integral Powertrain’s e-Drive Division, and WMG (Warwick Manufacturing Group) at the University of Warwick. The firm officially commenced the project after a six-month setup period to define its objectives and each of the partners’ roles.

Triumph, with its expertise in motorcycle design and manufacturing, is leading the project, responsible not only for the bike’s chassis but also defining the requirements from the electric powertrain. Williams Advanced Engineering, a sister company of the Williams Formula 1 team, is in charge of the battery design and integration. Integral Powertrain, an electric drive specialist with experience that includes supplying the motors for the Pikes Peak record-holding VW ID. R race car, is developing the electric motor, while WMG provides additional electrification expertise.

Triumph Chief Product Officer Steve Sargent left no doubt that the intention is to work toward electric production bikes, telling Cycle World, "The project is aimed at developing the technology and knowledge within Triumph and its partners for class-leading e-powertrains. The aim is to be ready to roll this technology out into motorcycles with our typical balance of handling, performance, and usability. We see a Triumph electric powertrain as a significant requirement in the future alongside our signature twin- and triple-cylinder engines, and this project is one of the key building blocks toward our future product lineup."

Understandably, he’s not keen to divulge details of the price, performance, and range intentions for whatever bikes the project leads to, but said, “We have set targets for the start of the project aimed at meeting identified customer needs. We are not publishing them at this stage, for obvious commercial reasons. A key part of the project will be to test and develop these targets pushing for the best balance of usability, performance, and range.”

Asked what style of electric bikes Triumph will be making, he explained, “We aim to develop e-powertrain technology that could feed into all areas of our range, where it will be applied first will depend on where the technology meets the customer demand.”

Triumph bike design
Will Triumph’s electric motorcycle look like a sporting classic, sportbike, naked, or something else entirely?Triumph Motorcycles

So can we expect to see a production-ready electric Triumph in two years’ time when the project is completed? Sargent didn’t dismiss the idea, saying, “This project has been designed to provide us and the partners with key learning and capability focused on the future delivery of a Triumph e-motorcycle offer. Of course this will include testing the technology in real-world situations. For the time being we won’t be specific with the time frame or specification of Triumph production e-motorcycles, but rest assured we see this as a key building block for the future of Triumph.”

Several of the world’s carmakers are already setting tentative deadlines, when they intend to move their production largely or entirely into electric vehicles. But at the moment Triumph reckons there’s still plenty of life in its gas-powered bikes. Steve Sargent told us, “We see a Triumph electric powertrain as a significant future requirement alongside our signature twin- and triple-cylinder engines. The transition from ICE to e-powertrain is not as well defined yet for the motorcycle industry but the project will ensure that Triumph is fully aligned to the likely future growth in customer demand and the fast increasing impact of changes in legislation.”