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Here’s Triumph’s electric TE-1 project, ready for road testing

Almost a year after our last update, we finally see Triumph’s TE-1 electric motorcycle project again. This time, it’s in what appears to be a working prototype form, and Triumph is about to take the bike to the real world for testing.

In our last look at the TE-1, Triumph laid out the project’s details: Triumph itself was putting together the chassis and designing the software and safety electronics to make it work. Williams Advanced Engineering (tied to the Williams F1 team) developed the battery. Integral Powertrain designed the motor and. The Warwick Manufacturing Group, a subsidiary of the University of Warwick, tested all these components on a simulator rig, to see if they’d hold up.

Initial reports have been very positive. The TE-1 project is using a benchmark laid out by British authorities, detailing a standard for electric motorcycle designers to aim for, with adoption in 2025. Triumph’s components already exceed those standards at the early development stages, which bodes well for the project’s future.

Now that all the individual components have been tested and assembled into a prototype bike, Triumph says it plans to spend the next six months testing the TE-1 on a mixture of track and road surfaces. While the motor, battery, chassis, management software and electronic safety features (traction control, wheelie control, ABS, etc.) may all look good in bench testing, they need to be integrated into a real motorcycle and tested in the real world. From there, Triumph will build yet another prototype that integrates all the lessons learned, and present that to the world as the path forward.

Here’s what Triumph’s press release said about the coming moves:

With the completion of the prototype demonstrator, the full live testing phase of the TE-1 project can now begin (phase 4). Over the next 6 months the prototype demonstrator will undertake an extensive live testing program within Triumph’s state-of-the-art facilities, which will encompass:

Rolling road testing – core functional assessment to include:

  • Throttle calibration
  • Powertrain performance mapping
  • Power and torque output
  • Range and battery consumption assessment
  • Rider mode development
  • Software functionality validation
  • Thermal optimization

Track testing – encompassing dynamic rider assessment to include:

  • Handling
  • Acceleration
  • Braking and braking regeneration strategy
  • Traction control
  • Front wheel lift control

The testing program has been designed to provide direction into the final set up and calibration of the prototype demonstrator.

So, the next half-year will be spent getting all the details right, and at the end of it all, we should see the first real prototype, not just a collection of parts mashed-together for testing.

It’s exciting times for Triumph and its partners, and the UK motorcycle industry as a whole. Long playing catch-up to the Japanese factories since the late ’60s, this is a chance for the British moto industry to re-invent itself. Will Triumph lead the charge to a battery bike future for the UK? If so, this is an important step.

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