There’s been quite a lot of noise about Triumph’s TE-1 project on the internet and in various other media outlets. Certainly more noise than you might expect, considering the TE-1 is nothing but a prototype, and Triumph, nor any of its technical partners, have any plans to put it into production. In fact they haven’t once even suggested they might, insisting that the project was only about driving innovation, capability, nurturing relationships within the industry and enhancing the credibility and profile of British industry and design. Until now.
Because today, Triumph finally released a statement admitting that the TE-1 project will “provide an input into Triumph’s future electric motorcycle offering”. Let’s be fair, we all knew it would anyway, so that’s hardly news, is it? But I think the fact that Triumph are now openly saying it, means something. I think it means they’ve decided it is going to happen, and it might be happening soon.
The statement came in the latest press release about the TE-1 Project, which was all about their completion of phase three. You can read all about phase three of the TE-1 Project here, but here it is in a nutshell; Triumph, with the help of Williams Advanced Engineering, Integral Powertrain, the University of Warwick and the Office for Zero Emissions Vehicles are working together on a development project, and they’re at a stage where they have a ready-to-ride prototype (which they are calling a ‘test mule’ but I’m calling a prototype).
Phase three was building the prototype. Phase four, which they are about to start, will be testing it. It’ll be tested on the dyno first where they’ll calibrate all the electronics, test the power output and all that kind of stuff. Then, they’ll take it to the track. On the track, they’ll test (and presumably tweak) everything that can’t be tested on the dyno; suspension, handling, brakes, rider aids, etc.
And by the sounds of it, it ought to be a bit of a weapon on track. They are saying it’s got 180bhp, full Öhlins suspension, Brembo brakes, and a very similar chassis to the Triumphs we know and love.
It’s hard to get too excited about a bike that doesn’t really exist in the real world, but I’m now more convinced than ever that soon, it will. I can understand Triumph’s reluctance to promise us all a TE-1 production bike in X amount of years’ time, because who knows how long it’ll take? And the project might have been a flop. The other partners might take umbridge to Triumph marketing something that isn’t all their own work. And whilst the Office for Zero Emissions Vehicles is paying for the project, it’d be a bit of a rum do if Triumph tried to make a load of money off the back of it.
But putting all those politics to one side, if the ‘consortium’ (let’s call it) have created a bike as good as they say they have, they really ought to let us at it. Because not only has it got the potential to make them all a load of money, it might just be a way for a few motorcyclists to help save the world.