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Common Tread

Triumph updates electric motorcycle project

Mar 23, 2021

Triumph has released an update on progress on the electric motorcycle project it is pursuing with design and engineering partners in Britain, including the first photos of the drivetrain and concept sketches of an electric motorcycle.

Triumph says this completes phase two of the four-phase project, which is backed by funding from the UK government. Triumph and its partners have claimed several advances in battery and powertrain design that surpass the 2025 goals set by the UK Automotive Council. Working with Triumph on the project are Williams Advanced Engineering, a firm with roots in the Williams F1 team, which is working on battery design and integration; Integral Powertrain Ltd.'s e-Drive Division, which is developing the motor and inverter; and WMG at the University of Warwick, which is providing electrification expertise and modeling and simulation for testing.

Williams focused on optimizing the battery layout to make it as light as possible and allow flexibility for positioning in the frame, to enhance the handling of the motorcycle. They also integrated the vehicle control unit into the battery pack.

Triumph electric prototype
Williams focused on constructing a battery that could be placed in the optimal position in a motorcycle frame to enhance handling. Triumph photo.

“The energy density of this new battery will be a significant step forward from existing technology, giving the rider more power, for longer," said Dyrr Ardash, Senior Commercial Manager, Williams Advanced Engineering. "WAE has also designed and developed an electronic control unit from the ground up, combining the battery management system with the bike control functions in one package. This is a first for this market, benefiting packaging and integration while optimizing performance and range.”

Integral Powertrain took a similar approach to making the electric motor more compact by combining it with the inverter, which converts electric power from direct current to alternating current. That makes the entire package lighter and more compact and reduces the number of high-voltage connections. Andrew Cross, Chief Technical Officer at Integral Powertrain Ltd., said the result is a motor that produces almost 180 horsepower but weighs just 22 pounds.

compact electric motor
Integral Powertrains says the motor produces nearly 180 horsepower but weighs just 22 pounds. Triumph photo.

"Ultimately, this is really going to be an industry-leading powertrain that will help define the future of electric mobility," Cross said.

Meanwhile, WMG has developed computer simulation models and a physical rig to test systems to be used on the motorcycle.

Of course even if the tech truly does advance the state of the art, you can't ride an electric motor by itself. So you're here to see a motorcycle and Triumph naturally included a concept.

drawing of Triumph electric motorcycle
A sketch of what an electric Triumph motorcycle might look like. Triumph photo.

"Overall, with the styling we wanted to create something that is fresh and exciting but a natural evolution of the Triumph brand," said Triumph Chief Product Officer Steve Sargent. "Something desirable in its own right, with distinctive Triumph DNA and definitely not something that is different just for the sake of being different."

drawing of Triumph electric motorcycle
The Triumph family resemblance is easy to spot in the concept sketches. Triumph photo.

You can definitely see the Street Triple resemblance — probably too much resemblance for the segment that complains about the Street Triple's headlights. Considering that this is just phase two of the project, the end result — or results — when they finally reach consumers, could be anything. So it's too early to go try to put down a deposit at your nearby Triumph dealer, but it looks likely the British are coming, and fully charged.