Victory introduces its first road-legal electric motorcycle, the Empulse TT
Victory Motorcycleshas turned a new page by unveiling its first fully electric motorcycle. The 2016 EmpulseTT is a road-legal electric streetbike based on Brammo's Empulse R. The company's entry into the electric market follows itssuccessful participation at the 2015 Isle of Man TT Zero race, where its Empulse-poweredracebike emerged as the fastest US electric motorcycle.
Oregon-based Brammo's electric motorcycle business was bought in January by Victory's mothercompany, Polaris Industries, so common sense dictated that it was a matter of timebefore an electric motorcycle would emerge from either Victory or Indian – orpossibly both. After all it was Harley-Davidson that had drawn first blood withits project Livewire. Now that the production version of the electric H-D hasofficially been put on hold, Polaris has an opportunity to take the initiative.
The EmpulseTT is effectively a rebadged Brammo Empulse R. The naked electric sportbikefeatures a twin-spar aluminum frame, fully adjustable suspension with an invertedfork and a single rear shock, dual-disk brakes at the front and lightweightcast aluminum rims all around. A notable difference from the Brammo model isthe change from 180 to a 160-section rear tire.
It is poweredby a Permanent Magnet AC Induction electric motor, peaking at 54 hp (40.3 kW)and 61 ft-lb (80.7 Nm). The power source is a Brammo Power Li-ion battery, withan output of 10.4 kWh; a marginal increase over the 10.2 kWh of the 2014Empulse R. It requires 3.9 hours for a full charge with a Stage 2 charger, whichis available as an accessory. With a Stage 1 charger the same process will need8 hours.
These outputnumbers are a far cry from the 150 hp this motor was making in racetrim at the 2015 Isle of Man TT Zero (the obvious inspiration in naming the EmpulseTT).
Victory Electric Product Manager Joshua Katt describes the Empulse TT as a "versatile motorcycle that can be used for impressively sporty riding or asa casual commuter" – this is a road going motorcycle and, as such, inevitably subjectto practical demands. Although it is capable of top speeds over 100 mph (160 km/h),it needs to deliver a viable range with a single charge. Victory informsus that the Empulse TT battery is sufficient for a range of about 65 miles (104km), though a maximum of 100 miles (160 km) is achievable with throttle management anduse of the motorcycle's regenerative charging. During testing the Empulse TTdelivered a "combined 70 mph (112 km/h) highway and city range" of 57 miles(91.2 km) according to the Motorcycle Industry Council's standards.
The electricmotor can be operated in two modes; the Eco mode is sufficient for everydayriding, while the Sport releases 20 percent more battery power for strongeracceleration.
A centralfeature in the Empulse TT is the use of a six-speed gearbox mated to a wet multi-plateclutch. It is designed to enable the rider to take full advantage of theengine's potential, while at the same time allowing for a more efficient use ofthe bike's battery. Downshifting assists in creating regenerative power – evenmore so in Sport mode – and also mimics the engine braking effect that most ridersare used to from conventional motorcycles.
One couldargue that six gears are far too many for an electric motor; two or three shouldbe more than enough. Interestingly, in this transmission neutral is found between second andthird gear, as the third is used for most riding speeds and conditions. Starting the Empulse TT translates to turningon the power, selecting third gear (without using the clutch) and just twistingthe throttle. Evidently the bike's rider will rarely run through all six gears.
The clutch isanother feature that will not see much use. It is needed only when shiftingbetween gears, not for taking off or coming to a stop.
Apparently this transmission system is also designed to provide familiarity for thetypical motorcyclist who is not used to a single gear electric motor.
The EmpulseTT is scheduled to be available in the US by the end of 2015 at an MSRPstarting at US$19,999, complemented by a line of Genuine VictoryAccessories that include Victory performance forks, frame sliders, tall andshort windscreens and panniers. Victory says it will determine its internationalsales plan according to the global demand for the bike.
Watch the Empulse TT in action in the official promo video below.
Source: Victory Motorcycles