Electric Cafe Racer, Anyone?

Triumph Is Bringing an All-Electric Motorcycle to Market


May 16, 2019 Cars : Motorcycles By

If there’s one motorcycle brand synonymous with old-school style and heritage, it’s Triumph. Bikes like the Thruxton, Bonneville and the entire Modern Classics range exude a timeless style. But with the whole industry moving towards electric power, the writing is on the wall. Triumph knows this — so it’s not surprising to hear the brand just announced it’s developing the first-ever all-electric Triumph motorcycle, dubbed “Project TE-1.”

To help Project TE-1 along, Triumph is entering into partnership with Williams Advanced Engineering (the same firm that helped Singer with the DLS) and Warwick University. The school will handle all the research, while Williams takes care of electric powertrain development and integration. That leaves Triumph to cook up a chassis and design worthy of the fabled name.

Even more ambitious: the timeframe for this new project. Triumph intends to bring the new motorcycle to life in just two years, a shockingly (pun intended) short time frame for such an ambitious project.

Triumph’s announcement may seem out of the blue, but it was inevitable. The electric motorcycle market is quickly going from a boutique field to a serious option for many modern motorcycle buyers. And with more major manufacturers realizing the potential of an all-electric option in their lineup, it’s only accelerating the seismic shift.

As the segment becomes increasingly crowded, however, Triumph has a chance to stand out by leaning into its heritage and create the first mass-produced electric motorcycle with classic styling, rather than taking the futuristic tack many other makers have chosen. That’s the brand’s forte, after all. Perhaps the TE-1 will wind up looking like an iconic cafe racer…but without any gas fumes to spoil the taste of your cappuccino.

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