News of Royal Enfield building an electric motorcycle broke in 2018 when the then-president confirmed that a team in the company’s UK R&D centre was building prototypes.
It was surmised then that Royal Enfield would not strip down an existing motorcycle like the Classic or Thunderbird and shoehorn it with batteries and a motor to sell through its dealers. The company is believed to be seeing it as a completely new concept and an electrical platform is a brand-new approach. Connectivity and electrification are two areas that Royal Enfield would approach with a clean sheet.
As per a report last November on ETAuto.com, Royal Enfield’s electric bike plans appeared to be alive and healthy as the newly appointed CEO Vinod Dasari counted it in when mentioning spends of the 2.0 plan:
Just because there was a downturn, we did not cut down on our capex. I don’t think we’ll spend any more on any large (facility). Most of our capex will go into capability building, new products, electric and other stuff. And it will also go into many small assembly plants around the world
Dasari went on to add that he had ridden one such prototype, and this is what he had to say to CNBC-TV18.com:
Royal Enfield’s UK tech centre had rigged up an existing product into an electric motorcycle and it’s fantastic, I have driven it myself.
Not in a hurry with EVs, may take two to three years to launch one but want to get it right. Looking to maintain the Royal Enfield DNA in the electric segment. Who knows you may have a retro-styled electric Royal Enfield.
Royal Enfield Electric Bike team expansion
This week MoneyControl.com has spoken to the chief executive who confirmed that the Royal Enfield Electric Bike plan is progressing. He said that Electric is “something that we take very seriously” and it was studying which segment would be the right fit for it to make an entry. The company has looked at several segments and and will be expanding the EV team working on the project in the near future. Dasari repeated that the company had built several electric prototypes
Note that what Dasari has ridden last year is a prototype that is used to test and assess a concept and could be far different from what finally arrives on the market. By DNA of Royal Enfield, Dasari maybe referring to the ruggedness of the vehicle and one that is built for leisure-riding, self-discovery and long voyages as any obsessed Royal Enfield fan would tell you, so the fundamentals of the battery-operated Royal Enfield would be as they are today.
When will the Royal Enfield electric bike launch?
Given that Royal Enfield has commenced working on the project, expect the first Royal Enfield electric bike in showrooms in late-2022.
Expect Royal Enfield to go for considerable light-weighting measures and focus on aerodynamics to extract the highest performance from the electric bike. A touchscreen TFT display and a smartphone app that connects users to the motorcycle’s vitals are sure-shot features on Royal Enfield electric bike. One can expect it to arrive with a 8-10 kWh battery pack connected to a motor that develops about 40 hp & 100 Nm, priced at around the INR 3 lakh mark.
It won’t just be Royal Enfield that would sell an electric bike in 2022. Classic Legends, it was reported last month, has started developing its electric motorcycle which could either be a Jawa electric bike or resurrect the Yezdi brand.