Triumph partners with F1 team in multi-million electric push

An electric future is quickly, if quietly coming... and the government is putting Triumph at the forefront of it

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WHILE the four-wheel industry has made rapid advances in electric technology to a point where what was once a compromising leftfield choice is quickly becoming the preferred choice for environmentally-conscious motorists, by contrast zero emissions bikes haven’t quite caught the same slice of the green pie.

With buyers – purists at least – turned off by the lack of ‘that’ engine note and satisfaction that comes from clicking through a snappy transmission, electric motorbikes have remained somewhat on the fringe of the industry.

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However, with instant acceleration and a large proportion of motorbikes being used in cities, where the persistent tightening of emissions regulations makes the automotive industry a frequent target for change, it is surely a case of when and not if a chunk of the industry will focus on more sustainable power for their two-wheel run-around.

Here in the UK, Triumph has announced its plans to future-proof its business in an initiative that will see it join forces with three other ‘major UK industry and academic leaders’ Williams Advanced Engineering – the technology arm of its historic Williams F1 team – Integral Powertrain Ltd’s e-Drive division and WMG at the University of Warwick.

Launching Project Triumph TE-1, by utilising the four companies’ strengths in their respective field, the plan is to transform the electric motorcycle industry in the UK to make the technology convenient, affordable and advanced.

“This new collaboration represents an exciting opportunity for Triumph and its partners to be leaders in the technology that will enable the electrification of motorcycles, which is driven by customers striving to reduce their environmental impact, combined with the desire for more economical transportation, and changing legislation,” said Nick Bloor, Triumph CEO. 

“Project Triumph TE-1 is one part of our electric motorcycle strategy, focused on delivering what riders want and expect from their Triumph, which is the perfect balance of handling, performance and usability.”

Moreover, the initiative ties in with the UK government’s Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy (BEIS) and the Office for Low Emission Vehicles (OLEV) pledge to support British businesses in investing in green projects. 

A pot of £25 million has been made available to a series of proposals, including Project Triumph TE-1, and goes towards the government meeting its bold pledge for all new road-going products to be zero emission by 2040.

“The team at Williams Advanced Engineering is looking forward to applying our expertise in the electrification of transport with our partners,” added Craig Wilson, Managing Director of Williams Advanced Engineering.  “Williams has powered a number of world-renowned electric vehicles already and this will be a significant further step in our work by taking that knowledge onto two wheels.”

The project will be organised into four main phases, with one of its key aims being increased systems integration. By developing individual components of automotive-based electric drivetrains and optimising them into innovative combined units, the project aims to deliver sophisticated electric motorcycle systems which reduce mass, complexity and package requirements.

So, even if you aren’t ready to trade in the sensations of fuel-powered machine for something with a conscience-soother as standard, government investment into Triumph for eco-projects alone can only be regarded as a very positive validation for the company’s future.