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UK

20/06/2022

Norton Motorcycles, a wholly-owned outpost of India’s TVS Motor empire, is to begin developing electric motorcycles in the UK after winning a large investment from the government’s Advanced Propulsion Centre (APC) 19 initiative.

The project, Zero Emission Norton, is aimed at expanding the company’s vehicle engineering capabilities towards producing “world-class” electric motorcycles. Norton will work with specialist partners Delta Cosworth, HiSpeed, Formaplex Technologies, M&I Materials, Indra Renewable Technologies and academic partner WMG, University of Warwick.

Norton’s Indian parent TVS unveiled an electric bike development, manufacturing and export tie-up with BMW Motorrad in December 2021, to which Zero Emission Norton seems entirely unrelated.

At least its starting point recognises the conundrum that has baffled relative veterans in the e-firmament. “Electric products to date offer either range or performance, as the weight and size of the battery compromise design,” the Zero Emission Norton release statement opined. “However, using extensive engineering and design experience within the Norton team, this project looks to simultaneously deliver race performance and touring range.”

Good luck with that. Mighty Honda poured long millions into its Mugen Shinden electric superbike. After competing in TT Zero races on the 37.73-mile Isle of Man Mountain Course for several years, Honda’s monied effort, backed by enormous resources, only ever achieved a heavyweight one-lap wonder. Energica failed to solve similar problems with a control fleet provided for the MotoGP Moto E series, which struggles to reach an embarrassingly small handful of laps per event on grands prix short circuits.

Commenting on the APC deal, Norton chief executive Robert Hentschel enthused: “This significant funding is a momentous milestone for the brand as it marks the beginning of our electrification journey and fulfilling our ten-year product plan. Working alongside our partners, we’re confident that Zero Emission Norton will eliminate the current dispute between conventional and electric motorcycles, to create EV products that riders desire — motorcycles that blend Norton’s uncompromising design DNA with racing performance, touring range and lightweight handling.”