The iconic British motorcycle brand, Norton Motorcycles, has been awarded funding by Advanced Propulsion Centre (APC) 19, an initiative that aims to assist businesses in the automotive sector to advance their low-carbon offerings while helping to accelerate the UK towards a net-zero automotive future, a future that Norton fully embraces.
As demand for electric motorcycles and micromobility solutions grow, the project, Zero Emission Norton, will expand Norton’s ever-growing electric vehicle engineering capabilities and develop world-class electric motorcycles.
Guided by a design-led philosophy and a relentless commitment to perfection, the electric products will still look unmistakably Norton. 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 encompasses Delta Cosworth, HiSpeed Ltd, Formaplex Technologies, M&I Materials, Indra and academic partner WMG, University of Warwick.
Norton will work alongside 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 country return to the position it last enjoyed in the 60s, 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 10-year product plan. Norton is an example 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 of 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 blend Norton’s uncompromising design DNA with racing performance, touring range and lightweight handling.”
Ian Constance, APC’s CEO, 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 World War II 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, a reader of the 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.”