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Norton showcases battery tech

We might all be waiting for Norton to release a new range of 750cc twin-cylinder adventure bikes, naked roadsters, single-cylinder thumpers and more in the petrol line, but the firm has said it’s now working on the electric power that bikes will need in the medium term, if not sooner.

Things have been relatively quiet on that front – the Birmingham-based firm has a lot to do with not much time. But there was a quick glimpse of what’s coming at the CENEX-LCV conference, which recently took place at the UTAC Millbrook test centre.

Norton showcased an initial battery concept for its electric project, the ZEN – Zero Emission Norton, at the event. Developed along with Cosworth, the battery is a 40-cell unit with immersion cooling, and the ZEN project has been working on it with a number of partners including HiSpeed, Formaplex, M&I Materials, Indra Renewables, WMG, and the University of Warwick. The project aims to create a UK-based supply chain, simplifying the manufacturing process of an all-new Norton electric motorcycle.

According to Norton, this initial battery concept illustrates the innovations planned for the next stages of ZEN. That includes immersion technology with MIVOLT dielectric cooling fluids, sheet moulded composite battery enclosures, plus new wire bonding, current-collector designs and sealing methodology. All essential to produce a safe, premium battery pack for an electric bike.

Norton says the ZEN project is expected to create a significant number of jobs in the UK in manufacturing and R&D, as well as upskilling existing staff to be capable of electric motorcycle engineering. This, it says, will help address a skills shortfall while assisting the UK to return to a position it last enjoyed in the 1960s as the global technology leader for motorcycles.

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