Triumph and Williams form alliance to start building electric motorcycles
May 22, 2019  Loz Blain

Triumph is preparing to get into the electric vehicle business, and has
formed a government-sponsored alliance with Williams Advanced Engineering,
Integral Powertrain Limited and WMG from the University of Warwick to get
things moving(Credit: Triumph Motorcycles)

Team Britain has begun assembling its forces to join the battle for electric
motorcycling supremacy. Now, in a government-supported push to develop
electric motorcycle capabilities, Triumph and Williams Advanced Engineering
have entered an alliance with Integral Powertrain and WMG.

"Project Triumph TE-1" will be a two-year effort, partially funded by the UK
government in the hopes that this alliance can place the UK in a position to
compete in an emerging electric motorcycle market. Here's how each group's
contributions will break down:

    Triumph will lead the effort, providing all the "cycle" parts of the
motorcycle prototypes as well as specifying what is needed from the electric
powertrain. It'll also get involved in the design and integration of
regenerative braking and advanced safety systems.

    Williams Advanced Engineering will design, develop, produce and
integrate a lightweight battery pack, battery management unit and vehicle
control unit.

    Integral Powertrain's e-Drive division is in charge of the motor, a
custom-built unit with high power density and a silicon carbide inverter
integrated into the motor housing.

    WMG, at the University of Warwick, will be concentrating on
commercialization issues, modeling and simulating future market needs.

    And Innovate UK, a government agency founded to promote science and
technology, will provide government support and administer funding. If this
partnership can get more electric motorcycles onto the road, it'll be a win
for various government agencies tasked with reducing road congestion and
vehicle emissions.

The overall goal here is to develop each partner's capabilities in a
motorcycle-specific context, while putting Triumph in a position to get
something electric onto the market within a few years.

"We see a Triumph electric powertrain as a significant requirement alongside
our signature twin and triple cylinder engines," says Triumph Chief Product
Officer Steve Sargent. "As part of our electric motorcycle initiative,
Project Triumph TE-1 represents an exciting collaboration that will provide
valuable input into our future line-up."

So, we won't be seeing anything we can sling our leg over for some time yet,
but in the meantime it's interesting to speculate what an electric Triumph
might look like. It'll be hard to give it the kind of retro heritage look
that drives much of the company's catalog, given the motor-centric design
that tends to entail. The easiest fit might be to hide a generally fairly
boxy and unattractive electric powertrain underneath a fairing.

But the greatest win for the industry in general might come if this alliance
can find a way to make an electric motor and battery pack actually look
actively awesome. Motorcycle people in general love a beautiful motor, with
some visible mechanics to it. There might not be much in the way of moving
parts to enjoy with electric motors, but we suspect once they start looking
cool, they'll start capturing the imagination of the enthusiast market.
Project Triumph TE-1 - Creating UK Electric Motorcycle Capability
15 May 2019  Triumph Motorcycles announces a unique collaboration with UK
industry experts, academic leaders and Innovate UK, to develop specialist
electric motorcycle technology and innovative integrated solutions. This
two-year project, in partnership with Williams Advanced Engineering,
Integral Powertrain Ltd, and WMG, at the University of Warwick, will provide
significant input into potential future electric motorcycle offers from
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