Norton Motorcycles has announced its intention to begin developing electric motorcycles in the UK after winning significant investment through a government scheme.
The iconic British motorcycle brand, which opened a new factory in Solihull last year, has been awarded funding by Advanced Propulsion Centre (APC) which helps businesses in the automotive sector in advancing their low-carbon offering while helping to accelerate the UK towards a net-zero automotive future, a future that Norton fully embraces.
As demand for electric motorcycles and micro-mobility solutions grow, the project, Zero Emission Norton, will expand Norton’s growing electric vehicle engineering capabilities and develop world class electric motorcycles.
The team will refine the traditional Norton design DNA, but with modern twists introducing industry leading innovations and digital solutions.
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.
To deliver this ambitious project, Norton will work with specialist project partners who have the same vision for innovation in the production of world-class electric motorcycles. The team includes Delta Cosworth, HiSpeed Ltd., Formaplex Technologies, M&I Materials, INDRA and academic partner WMG, University of Warwick.
Norton will work with these partners to develop world-class technology and products that will enhance the UK supply chain for all the critical components in electric vehicle (EV) technology including batteries, motors, chassis, cooling oils and vehicle to home chargers.
As a result, the 30-month 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 in turn will help address the UK skills shortfall in that space while helping the UK return to the position it last enjoyed in the 60’s, as the global technology leader for motorcycles.
“This significant funding investment is a momentous milestone for the brand as it marks the beginning of our electrification journey and fulfilling our ten-year product plan. Norton is an exemplar of modern luxury and unafraid to challenge the status quo, innovating for the future of mobility while staying true to our British heritage. It also brings into focus our desire to support the UK in its mission for a net-zero automotive future,” said Robert Hentschel, CEO Norton Motorcycles.
“Working alongside our world class partners, we’re confident that project Zero Emission Norton will eliminate the current dispute between a conventional and electric motorcycle to create EV products that riders desire – motorcycles that blends Norton’s uncompromising design DNA with racing performance, touring range and lightweight handling.”
Ian Constance, Chief Executive of the APC, said: “The projects receiving today’s investment highlight the breadth of technologies needed to help the UK accelerate to net zero emissions. They’re reimagining not just vehicles, but transport in general.
“Norton is an iconic British brand with a proud history. From making motorcycles, to supporting the second world war effort, to developing the world’s first production superbike, they are now looking to the future with an electric bike that will deliver both performance and range. This will radiate from a UK manufacturing base and strengthen highly skilled jobs and green growth.”
Each partner on the project will have a specialist part to play in project Zero Emission Norton. Delta Cosworth will design the battery pack, while HiSpeed Ltd. bring motor and inverter design and manufacturing skills. Formaplex Technologies has expertise in precision composites manufacturing and M&I Materials will support on applications of dielectric cooling with its MIVOLT fluids. Indra Renewable Technologies specialises in revolutionary vehicle to home charging technology, and WMG, University of Warwick, major on battery technology, modelling and toolchain development.
Andrew McGordon, Reader, Energy Applications Group at WMG, University of Warwick, said: “WMG is excited to be a partner in this project exploiting our research in battery and systems modelling to develop a zero-prototype modelling and validation methodology, including predictive smart charging and Vehicle to Grid technology. We will bring extensive electrification experience to this project having worked across many sectors already.”