Shock! Victory Sparks Electric War

Date 03.2.2016

Presented by
  • Motorcycle Trader

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Victory Motorcycles has beaten Harley-Davidson in bringing an electric bike to market with its Empulse TT…

A decision is yet to be made if or when the bike will go on sale in Australia, however, Victory Motorcycles Australian Country Manager Peter Harvey says his team will go through a local evaluation process with riders before announcing its plans for the Empulse TT in Australia.

Unlike other electric bikes, the Empulse TT features a six-speed manual gearbox mated to its liquid-cooled electric motor. Higher gears assist with range, while lower gears create regenerative power. The rider engages the clutch only to change gears and neutral is located between second and third gear. The bike can be ridden in automatic mode in third gear.

Powered by a 10.4kWh lithium-ion battery that is smaller than that of Harley-Davidson’s LiveWire concept (14kWh), the Empulse TT has a peak output of 40kW and 82Nm instantly available.

Victory claims a top speed in excess of 160km/h while independent tests conducted by the Motorcycle Industry Council in the US demonstrated a city range of 151km and a highway/city range of 92km. The bike fully recharges in four hours using a Stage II charger available as an accessory through a 240V household outlet.

By comparison, Harley-Davidson’s LiveWire demonstrator is understood to deliver 55kW and 70Nm, which, if correct, is still substantially less than the Zero SR (50kW/144Nm). These figures may not reflect a production version, however, which has yet to be announced.

At 213kg, the Empulse TT features an aluminium-beam frame, lightweight aluminium wheels, adjustable suspension, and Brembo brakes. It is heavily based on the Brammo-designed Empulse R inherited by Victory when Polaris acquired Brammo’s assets earlier this year.

Victory engineers turned their attention to handling, battery capacity, updated display functions and a choice of ‘Eco’ and ‘Sports’ riding modes, the latter of which releases 20 per cent more battery power for increased acceleration.

The name Empulse TT celebrates Victory’s debut at the Isle of Man TT where team riders Lee Johnston and Guy Martin claimed third and fourth places respectively in the Zero TT for electric motorbikes.

Though still to be confirmed for production, Harley-Davidson’s LiveWire completed a six-month road show visiting more than 30 H-D dealerships across the US to give customers an opportunity to ride the bike and provide feedback. This year it travels to Canada and Europe.