These days, motorcycle manufacturers are beginning to embrace electrification, as are car manufacturers. Some, like Cake and Zero, have been electric from the start, while others like Harley-Davidson and Husqvarna are adding electric vehicles to their lineups. Or at least, to their future lineups. And after months of radio silence, the Triumph TE-1 is ready to stretch its electric legs.
The Triumph TE-1 has gone from a sketch to a working electric motorcycle
Although the British brand Triumph is arguably best known for its retro bikes, it makes other models including scramblers and ADVs. And last year, it announced plans to develop its first electric motorcycle, dubbed “TE-1.”
At the time, the TE-1 only existed as a single battery and a few sketches. But the project has progressed over the past few months from Phase 2 to Phase 4. Although we’ll see what exactly that means shortly, for now, know that this bike isn’t just a drawing anymore. After initial component testing using a donor “mule” bike, the Triumph TE-1 is now a real working motorcycle.
At first glance, the TE-1 bears a family resemblance to the current Speed Triple. And it seems to be intentional, bike world said. However, while some of the components of the TE-1 mirror the equipment of its gas-powered relative, these bikes are unrelated. The TE-1 has a bespoke chassis, with a unique frame, subframe, wheels and body panels. And while its Brembo brakes and Ohlins inverted forks are commonplace in the high-end motorcycle world, its Ohlins RSU rear monoshock is a prototype. Additionally, no other current Triumph motorcycle uses a carbon belt drive.
As with the rest of the bike, the Triumph TE-1 is a collaborative project. Williams Advanced Engineering, a branch of the famed F1 team, supplied the lithium-ion battery along with its cooling system and charging connections. Meanwhile, Integral Powertrain developed the motorcycle’s inverter and electric motor. And preliminary simulations from the University of Warwick hastened the initial testing process.
However, this all happened during the so-called Phase 3 of the project. Now is the time for the Triumph TE-1 to enter Stage 4.
Now in phase 4, Triumph is preparing to properly test the TE-1
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Phase 3 of the Triumph TE-1 was to build this final prototype. And in phase 4, Triumph will put it to the test. Over the next six months, the TE-1 prototype will face a battery (no pun intended) of testing to eliminate any flaws or shortcomings.
In the rolling road portion, Triumph plans to tweak the throttle calibration, engine software and engine power of the TE-1, as well as evaluate the battery, cooling systems and software. Once that’s done, the TE-1 will head to the track to tweak its safety systems, like its traction control, as well as its handling, regenerative braking and performance. This type of test is normal for most motor vehicles, motorcycles or otherwise, but this is the first time Triumph has tested anything electric.
Given its prototype status, Triumph naturally has not released all of the specifications for the TE-1. We do know, however, that Triumph is aiming for a curb weight of 485 lbs, a range of 120 miles and a peak power of 174 hp. Additionally, the technical director of Integral Powertrain claims that the TE-1 could theoretically produce over 670 hp, Multi-channel network reports.
While that’s probably not the final number allowed on the road, it would make the TE-1 more than three times more powerful than the Kawasaki Ninja H2 SX SE. And this latest bike weighs 591 pounds. If Triumph can achieve its goals, its first electric motorcycle could deliver a truly electrifying level of performance.
When will the TE-1 go on sale?
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Triumph estimates Phase 4 testing will take around six months and plans to show the TE-1 fully tested by summer 2022. But it’s still not technically confirmed for production.
As noted earlier, however, several other brands are pursuing electric motorcycles. Harley-Davidson’s LiveWire is now its own sub-brand, and Ducati’s MotoE supplier deal could hint at an Italian two-wheeled electric vehicle. And that’s not counting the many electric motorcycle startups vying for market share. So Triumph has plenty of reason to pursue a road-legal version of the TE-1.
Based on the current testing schedule, it’s likely that a production electric Triumph won’t arrive until 2023 at the earliest. Again, that’s assuming such a bike is in the works. But considering the effort the build team put into the TE-1, it would be a shame to see it go to waste.
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