Triumph has just revealed a raft of information about its all-new TE-1 electric concept.
Considering the amount of work that has already gone into the TE-1, chances are we are not going to have to wait too much longer to see the first battery-powered production motorcycle from the British factory.
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The ambitious, multi-year project is a big undertaking for a manufacturer that has only ever focused on petrol-powered machinery throughout its long, illustrious history, and that’s why Triumph has joined forces with some of the biggest names in the game to add some specific knowledge and expertise to its electric endeavour.
What is the Triumph TE-1?
As you probably know, the TE-1 is Triumph’s first-ever electric motorcycle. But at this stage it’s just a concept, so that means it’s unlikely that the bike we can see in the released design images will be the same as the one that makes it into production in the future.
Essentially it’s a prototype motorcycle that provides proof of concept, a basis for future development and drums up interest in Triumph’s electric future. That’s not all. It’s also a chance for Triumph (and the other stakeholders in the project) to showcase expertise and enhance the UK’s reputation in the field of electric vehicles.
It’s a Triumph motorcycle, so it might seem obvious to say that Triumph’s the driving force in this project. It’s the big name in biking, so it makes sense that the British factory’s significant knowledge of designing, producing and selling its motorcycles across the world will play a massive part in getting punters to take the leap and try an electric machine.
But it’s not alone, as there’s some big names on board to back up Triumph’s knowledge of motorcycling with some more specific electric-based expertise.
First there’s Williams Advanced Engineering (WAE). A subsidiary of the famous brand behind the Williams F1 team, it has made a name for itself in the world of electric motorsport, and it’s now focused on bringing that technology to the consumer market.
It specialises in lightweight battery design, integration and management systems – and that’s exactly what it’ll be helping Triumph with.
Then there’s Integral Powertrain’s E-Drive division. This is another firm who’s been heavily involved in electric racing, most notably as part of the team that helped the Volkswagen ID-R electric Pikes Peak car to its record-breaking victory at the historic hill climb even in the USA.
Alongside the two electric motorsport specialists is WMG at the University of Warwick, who will be on hand to help with research and development and the commercial impact of the bike using modelling and simulation based on future market needs.
Finally, the project will also be supported by the UK Government’s own Office for Zero-Emission Vehicles (OZEV). It’ll be helping with funding, as well as providing support with the rollout of charging point infrastructure across the UK.
What about the production TE-1?
At this stage we still don’t know. The sketches Triumph has released so far are of the concept, not of a finished production machine, but if they’re anything to go by, then the TE-1 could end up looking like a slightly more futuristic Speed Triple in its frame design and overall shape. Now wouldn’t that be something…?
It’d actually be a logical choice for Triumph. The Speed Triple is much loved and the factory has expressed its intention of trying to create an electric motorcycle that has the feel and dynamics of a conventional petrol-powered motorcycle. It will manage that by centralising the (not insubstantial) mass of electric technology.
It’ll need to hide the battery, the management systems and motor inside the frame without compromising handling – all while creating a machine that is immediately identifiable as a Triumph. And if the concept sketches are anything to go by, it looks like the factory (and its partners) are on to a winner.
What’s next for the Triumph TE-1?
With high-level performance data acquired, the final concept sketches complete and the release of information about the battery and powertrain, Phase 2 of the project is now complete. That means the next stage of the project is the exciting bit: actually creating the bike.
Although there’s no official timeline for when we’ll get to see a production machine in the flesh, there’s been a suggestion that it might actually be as soon as the end of this year.