Ever since TVS acquired Norton Motorcycles back in 2020, the possibility of future Norton electrification has raised its head more than once. You can’t really call it a rumour when TVS joint managing director Sudarshan Venu was the one who brought it up in an interview all the way back in 2020. He was speculating about what Norton’s path forward might be, and suggesting (but not declaring) that it could be a viable path.
That discussion came about shortly after Norton became part of the TVS family. A year later, in June, 2021, Norton got involved with supporting the University of Warwick’s electric motorcycle development programme. Students in this programme work on developing electric motorcycles. Pre-pandemic, the goal was to race in the Isle of Man TT Zero, but even though that particular aspect changed, they’ve still continued to work toward greater electric motorcycle understanding. The Warwick Manufacturing Group at the University of Warwick has also been deeply involved in Triumph’s electric motorcycle development, Project TE-1.
On 17 June 2022, Norton Motorcycles finally made the big announcement we’ve been waiting for, and the name says it all: Project Zero Emission Norton. After receiving funding from the UK government’s Advanced Propulsion Centre 19 initiative, Norton is all systems go on its own particular niche of electric motorcycle development.
What will it look like? According to the official announcement, quite naturally, “the electric products will look unmistakably Norton.” What will it go like? There, the company is setting itself an extremely high bar. Here is Norton’s stated goal, in its own words:
“Electric products to date offer either range or performance, as the weight and size of the battery compromise vehicle design. However, using the extensive engineering and design experience within the Norton team, this project looks to eliminate that compromise while simultaneously delivering race performance and touring range,” the statement spells out in no uncertain terms.
Norton’s certainly not alone in working to crack the code on a desirable, range-rich electric motorcycle. Experienced electric brands Energica and Zero, as well legacy OEM Triumph have also been busy exploring the territory. There’s also Damon Motorcycles, which in June 2022, is currently busy constructing its production facility in British Columbia, Canada.
Of course, Norton is pulling in a crack team of subject experts to hit the ground running on a viable design. Project partners include Delta Cosworth, HiSpeed Limited, Formaplex Technologies, M&I Materials, INDRA, and WMG at the University of Warwick. Delta Cosworth is working on the battery pack, and HiSpeed Limited is lending its motor design and manufacturing expertise.
Formaplex Technologies is hard at work on composites, while M&I Materials will address the crucial task of dielectric cooling oil development. That leaves INDRA, which will work on vehicle to home charging tech, and of course WMG will assist in battery technology, modelling, and software development.
No timeline has been publicly announced, but it’s early days yet. We look forward to following Project Zero Emission Norton as it develops.