Royal Enfield, a company known for its “thumping” cruisers, the iconic Bullet, could soon be developing an electric motorcycle. According to reports, the Chennai-based manufacturer is currently developing an electric motorcycle platform at its technology centre in the UK.
The maker of the Classic 350 motorcycle is planning for an electric motorcycle to remain relevant for a cleaner future. The news comes directly from president Rudratej Singh who confirmed that the company will soon be moving towards electrification.
He was quoted saying, “We are working on an electrical platform to advance the idea of pure motorcycling. How our platforms need to be re-engineered for the future is to be seen and we are working on it. It would help if the company can do with its current platforms, but new platforms will be built if required.” A “very small team” is working on the development at the UK technology centre, said Singh.
The company, which claims to be the oldest motorcycle maker in continuous production in the world, “may need to look at things differently for electrical because we are still learning”, he added.
But before that can happen, Royal Enfield has the mammoth task of overhauling its current lineup to meet the impending BSVI emission norms. So, an electric prototype can be expected only after 2020. The company, which claims to be the oldest motorcycle maker in continuous production in the world, “may need to look at things differently for electrical because we are still learning”, he added.
So far, Royal Enfield had limited product development, research and in-house innovation at its two technology and R&D centres in Chennai and the UK.
However, Royal Enfield isn’t the only company that will be joining the electric circuit. Prominent bike manufacturers such as Yamaha, Ducati and Harley-Davidson have amped up the development process of their electric platforms. The Milwaukee-based company has already announced that it’ll be launching a production-spec electric motorcycle by 2020.
As the Indian government aims to promote the use of greener vehicles, other two-wheeler makers in India, including Hero MotoCorp Ltd, Bajaj Auto Ltd, TVS Motor Co. Ltd and Honda Motorcycle and Scooter India Pvt. Ltd, are also considering foraying into cleaner vehicles, either by investing in start-ups, such as Hero’s investment in Ather Energy Pvt. Ltd, or building sub-brands, such as Bajaj’s chic and aspirational Urbanite brand
While this is a step in the right direction it will be interesting to see how a company that has always been associated with retro-styled motorcycles and old-school brand of motorcycling tackles the world of electric motorcycles. It’ll be even more interesting to see how its fan base would react to a Royal Enfield motorcycle that produces the whirring sound of an electric motor instead of the good-old thump.
The trademark thump of a Bullet may soon give way to the silent humming of an electric motor. Zig Wheels