Electric Norton promises "race performance and touring range"
Great Britain's Norton Motorcycles, now under Indian ownership after some shady management from the previous owner, has announced an interesting electric motorcycle project promising to simultaneously deliver "race performance and touring range."
Freshly rescued from bankruptcy by India's TVS, the electric project kicks off as Norton looks to re-engineer and re-launch its 1,200cc V4SV superbike, and continues work toward the launch of its upcoming Commando 961 retro cafe racer.
With UK Government funding allocated by the Advanced Propulsion Center (APC) 19, project "Zero Emission Norton" will kick off shortly. Norton promises the bikes developed under this scheme will "still look unmistakeably Norton," in case you were worried about that, but it also believes it'll be possible to "eliminate that compromise" between range and performance that still plagues today's electric motorcycles.
That's a tall order – the closest thing we've seen to an electric tourer that's designed to play in the mountains is the new Energica Experia, and that bike's industry-leading 22.5-kWh battery can still only take it about 130 miles (208 km) on the highway. So it'll be interesting to see what Norton brings to the table.
Norton has recruited a group of collaborating companies to the table, including Delta Cosworth (which will design the battery pack), HiSpeed Limited (motor design and manufacturing), Formaplex Technologies (precision composites), M&I Materials (dielectric cooling oils), and INDRA (vehicle-to-home charging technology).
The academic partner on this project will be WMG (The University of Warwick), which will make contributions around battery technology, modeling and toolchain development. This group has had its sleeves up on a similar project recently, having been extensively involved with fellow UK company Triumph's gorgeous TE-1 electric streetfighter, which was presented in prototype format earlier this year.
"This significant funding investment is a momentous milestone for the brand," said Norton CEO Dr. Robert Hentschel, "as it marks the beginning of our electrification journey and fulfilling our ten-year product plan ... Working alongside our world class partners, we’re confident that project Zero Emission Norton will eliminate the current dispute between a conventional and electric motorcycle to create EV products that riders desire – motorcycles that blend Norton’s uncompromising design DNA with racing performance, touring range and lightweight handling."
Source: Norton Motorcycles