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First Production Victory Electric Motorcycle Unveiled: The Empulse TT

2015_Vic_Electric

Building on its acquisition of certain assets from Brammo (see our test of the 2013 Brammo Empulse R here), Victory has announced it will put into production the Empulse TT (pictured) as a 2016 model. The Empulse TT follows Victory’s participation in the Isle of Man TT earlier this year with an electric bike.

Here is the full press release from Victory, followed by specifications for the Empulse TT, which should be available for purchase in the U.S. later this year.

Medina MN, July 28th – Building on the innovative design and engineering that produced the fastest U.S. electric motorcycle at the 2015 Isle of Man TT Zero race, Victory Motorcycles has introduced the 2016 Empulse TT, the first all-electric addition to the Victory lineup. The Victory Empulse TT is a fully electric street-legal sport bike that is as capable of carving tight lines on twisting roads as it is powering the daily commute. Building on Victory Motorcycle’s focus on performance, the Empulse TT features a sport bike-style aluminum beam-frame, an adjustable suspension, and aggressive brakes. With a combination of advanced technology and stylish, modern design, this unique new motorcycle delivers outstanding overall performance, zero-emission output, and a torquey motor.

“We have always been known for great handling and power, so the Empulse TT is an ideal fit in the expanding Victory lineup,” said Motorcycle Product Director Gary Gray.

“The Empulse TT was developed primarily as an electric motorcycle delivering a sporty ride,” said Victory Electric Product Manager Joshua Katt, “but with dual ride modes – ECO and SPORT – to choose from, and the addition of a gearbox, the Empulse TT is a versatile motorcycle that can be used for impressively sporty riding or as a casual commuter.”

The key features that allow Empulse TT to deliver a sporty riding experience include: a fully adjustable suspension featuring a single rear shock and inverted front forks; dual-disk front brakes that deliver confidence-inspiring high-performance stopping power; lightweight new cast aluminum wheels; the greatest lean angle in the electric class; and a sportbike-style riding position.

Steve Menneto, VP Motorcycles, said Victory Motorcycles is committed to expanding brand awareness and sales globally, and the Empulse TT will allow the brand to reach more markets.  “This is a company that does not fear technology and progressive products, and we want to be strong in the electric motorcycle segment,” he said.

2015 Victory Denver

The Empulse TT shares some DNA with the original Brammo Empulse R motorcycle. Victory has been working with Brammo since 2011, but in January 2015 Victory’s parent company, Polaris Industries, acquired Brammo’s motorcycle assets.  Since then, Victory engineers worked with the Brammo product team to achieve improvements in battery capacity, display function, and handling.  The result is a Victory Empulse TT with advanced technology, impressive performance, and sporty styling that draw from the Isle of Man Zero TT race bikes.

The Victory Empulse TT is capable of top speeds of over 100 mph, and it has a high-capacity 10.4kWh battery.  The bike has a built-in battery charger and an easily accessible SAE J1772 plug atop the bodywork in front of the seat. The bike’s Brammo Power Lithium Ion battery fully charges in just 3.9 hours using a Stage 2 charger (available as an accessory utilizing a 240V outlet). The bike will fully charge in 8.9 hours using a regular household 120V outlet.

In typical riding, the Empulse TT battery provides a rider with a range of about 65 miles, and a range of 100 miles is possible with throttle management and use of the bike’s regenerative charging. In preliminary testing, the bike demonstrated a Motorcycle Industry Council (MIC) city range of 94 miles. The bike delivered an MIC “combined 70 mph highway and city range” of 57 miles.

Riders can make the most efficient use of the battery’s 10.4kWh of electricity by using the six-speed gearbox. Shifting and downshifting help to create regenerative power (under deceleration), and also produce a feeling familiar to experienced riders of the compression braking on gasoline-powered motorcycles.

The rider only needs to use the clutch when shifting between gears, not for taking off or coming to a stop. When coming to a stop, a rider can leave the bike in gear, or choose to click the shifter down (without pulling in the clutch) to put the bike in neutral.  To take off from a stop, the rider simply needs to twist the throttle to unleash the liquid-cooled electric motor’s impressive torque.

2015_Vic_Electric

In the Empulse TT’s proprietary transmission, neutral is found between 2nd and 3rd gears, and the transmission can be left in 3rd gear for most riding speeds and conditions. To begin riding, a rider can simply turn the bike’s power on, select 3rd gear (without the clutch), twist the throttle, and go.

Not all competitive electric motorcycles have gearboxes, so the Empulse TT gearbox gives the bike a significantly sportier feel, and it enhances a rider’s engagement with the bike.

In everyday riding conditions, the Victory Empulse TT can be operated in ECO mode, but it also has an optional SPORT mode for high-performance riding. In SPORT mode, 20 percent more battery power is released to the motor, resulting in enhanced acceleration.

SPORT mode also increases the amount of regenerative braking – or “regen” – which further increases the feeling similar to compression braking when the rider rolls off the throttle. Regen uses the inertia of the motorcycle to return energy from the motor back into the battery pack, which increases available energy. To select SPORT mode, a rider presses and holds the start button for 1 second.

The bike’s LCD data display features a speedometer, tachometer, gear indicator, and clock. It also displays the battery level as a horizontal bar accompanied by the percentage of battery energy remaining, and provides an estimate of remaining riding range.

Genuine Victory Accessories immediately available for the Empulse TT include Victory performance forks, frame sliders, tall and short windscreens, and side bags that hold cargo.

The new Victory Empulse TT electric motorcycle is scheduled to be available for purchase in the United States in late 2015. Victory is in the process of determining global demand for the bike before announcing its international sales plan.

2015_Vic_Electric

TECHNICAL SPECIFICATIONS

ENGINE

ELECTRIC MOTOR                                             Internal Permanent Magnet AC Induction

PEAK MOTOR POWER                                    54hp

PEAK TORQUE                                                   61 ft-lb (available from a full stop)

TRANSMISSION                                                6-speed gearbox with multi-plate, hydraulic activated wet clutch

EMISSIONS                                                         None

BATTERY PACK

BATTERY                                                              Brammo Power Lithium Ion

BATTERY CAPACITY                                         10.4 kWh

BATTERY VOLTAGE                                          103.6V/117.6V (max)

CHARGE TIME                                                    2 hrs (Level I/20% to 80% SOC)

3.9 hrs (Level II/0% to 100% SOC)

8.9 hrs (Level I/0% to 100% SOC)

BRAKES

FRONT BRAKING SYSTEM                             Dual 310mm Brembo floating discs with twin 4-piston radial mounted Brembo brake calipers

REAR BRAKING SYSTEM                                Brembo single disc with dual piston hydraulic Brembo brake caliper

PERFORMANCE

MAX SPEED                                                        161+ km/h / 100+ mph

REGENERATIVE BRAKING                             Extends riding range and provides familiar rider feedback on deceleration

SUSPENSION

FRONT SUSPENSION                                      Adjustable 43mm Inverted Forks

REAR SUSPENSION                                          Adjustable Direct-Acting Shock

CHASSIS

CARRY CAPACITY                                              167 kg/368 lb

DRY WEIGHT                                                      213 kg/470 lb

GROUND CLEARANCE                                    18.54 cm/7.3 in

LENGTH                                                                206.5 cm/81.3 in

RAKE/TRAIL                                                        24°/7.62 cm (3 in)

SEAT HEIGHT                                                      80.0 cm/31.5 in

WHEELBASE                                                        147.32 cm/58 in

OTHER COMPONENTS

INSTRUMENTATION                                       LCD display with: Speedo, tach, odometer, gear indicator, energy consumption, battery status, estimated range, and system status

TYRES FRONT & REAR                                     Continental Sport Attack II 120-70 ZR17 58W &   160/60ZR17 69W

WHEELS FRONT & REAR                                 17” x 3.5”/17” x 4.5”

2015 Victory Denver

44 Comments

  1. viktor92 says:

    I don’t understand why they keep doing it SO ugly…

  2. pigiron says:

    The 65 mile range is a complete show stopper. Another in a continuous stream of low mileage bikes that will never sell.

    • Nate says:

      Exactly. 65 miles? even at 100 miles its not even close to a usable vehicle. This is stupid beyond words.

      Call me when your little electric toys and run all day, or at least recharge while I eat lunch.

      Until then… this is a waste of time and money.

    • todd says:

      That’s 65 miles when the batteries are brand spanking new. What will the range be a couple years later after you’ve put 20,000 miles on them?

  3. Jim says:

    There was a guy racing one at RA that charged his with panels on his trailer.

  4. Neil says:

    Does the rider get affected by that electric current running beneath them? Looks like a nice rig. I’ve heard good things about riding one. Have to test one when I get a chance. Victory dealer up the road.

  5. Roy says:

    I just hope they have one at Biketoberfest I can demo ride. It’s a well known fact that I’m an empulsive buyer.

  6. patrick says:

    As a typical American, marketing will eventually wear me down on electric bikes. I would like to ride one, but that is risky, its how I ended up with a Ducati years ago. Like others, the biggest barriers for me are ride time, charge time and price. The range is only good enough for going out to breakfast or the store. A lot of folks would be pushing the limits just to commute on one of these, unless your employer gives you free electricity for a charge. When we go for a ride, it is almost always 100 miles, it just takes that much distance to get in a good ride.
    I’ll be waiting for better batteries.

    • Dave says:

      This bike is a prime example of the conundrum that a would-be E-motorcycle maker faces. The “ideal” electric application would be an urban/scooter type of bike since today electric moto gets better range in the city and the average American drives 30 miles/day. The problem is, that product won’t attract customers so they need to sell to “motorcyclists”, who demand more range and performance than they’re currently offering.

      Better batteries will help, but a gallon of gasoline has always produced the same BTU as it does today. Point being, the battery is not the only opportunity.

  7. Tyler says:

    I wish I had the dosh to be an early adopter. I really like this bike, both in terms of it look and performance, but the range, recharge and price are simply untenable for me. I know, same thing everyone gripes about, but there has to be a better way. Heck, if it only the price were reasonable I could commute on it and range/recharge wouldn’t be an issue. If I can get a 600hp Tesla for $60k, why should I pay 1/3 the money for 1/10 the machine?

    • Grover says:

      Good point.

    • Gary says:

      You won’t get a current Tesla for 60K. It might have that listed as a starting price, but I don’t think anybody gets a starting Tesla. By the time you get what most want on them, you’re talking 90-100K a far cry from 60. However, 20K for an electric bike I will agree is more than what most will go for.

  8. Gary says:

    Wonderful! Glad to see Victory enter the electric market with such a good looking bike. Now we should all know the path that Victory is taking since re-introducing the Indian motorcycle. Now all we can do is hope that someday sooner than later, the electric bikes will be at least more affordable and I’m sure more range. Maybe Tesla’s gigafactory will help with the afforable part.

  9. Wayne says:

    What do you know, a coal powered motorcycle!

    • Daven says:

      It’s all a mix of sources, and depends on where you live. In my neck of the woods (Oregon) it’s:
      • Coal = 33%
      • Natural gas = 12%
      • Nuclear = 3%
      • Hydropower = 45%
      • Wind = 5%

      Nationwide:
      Major energy sources and percent share of total U.S. electricity generation in 2014:
      • Coal = 39%
      • Natural gas = 27%
      • Nuclear = 19%
      • Hydropower = 6%
      • Other renewables = 7%
      • Biomass = 1.7%
      • Geothermal = 0.4%
      • Solar = 0.4%
      • Wind = 4.4%
      • Petroleum = 1%
      • Other gases < 1%

      http://www.oregon.gov/energy/pages/oregons_electric_power_mix.aspx
      http://www.eia.gov/tools/faqs/faq.cfm?id=427&t=3

      • Wayne says:

        Most of the hydro power in the northwest is federally owned and goes to rural electric cooperatives. So chances are if you live in a city in Oregon you would be riding a coal powered bike just like the rest of us.

        • Daven says:

          Apparently in Wayne’s world, 100% of our electricity comes from coal. Otherwise he could have conceded that this bike is only partially coal powered, rather than referring to it as a “coal powered bike”. It seems the facts are that, on average, coal is around 1/3 of the total power sources of US electricity. We can get all nit-picky and say that in a certain part of Oregon one might get a higher percentage of his electricity from coal, but that’s really not the same as saying the bike is simply “coal powered”. I did some more digging and it turns out that about 85% of my juice comes from the BPA Hydro, with the most of the remainder from nuclear. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not all sappy for electric vehicles, but a blanket statement that the bike is simply “coal powered” seems a bit off to me.

    • Jeremy in TX says:

      Where I live, it would a 100% natural gas powered vehicle.

      • Wayne says:

        ERCOT (the Texas grid) is 100% natural gas? Here are the 2014 energy usage figures from ERCOT:

        Coal – 36%
        Natural Gas – 41.1%
        Nuclear – 11.6%
        Wind – 10.6%
        Hydro, Biomass, Solar, Other – 0.8%

        All the generation is interconnected so all the generated electricity goes to the grid and you take it off the grid. You use the same mix as is on the grid.

        • Wayne says:

          If your local utility is 100% natural gas fired generation then more local demand (an additional electric bike for example) means more natural gas generation on the grid. And it also means that you would be paying rates based on natural gas only and not the grid average even though you are not using only natural gas generated electricity.

          • Wayne says:

            The same is true for Oregon. An increase in demand would mean more generation from the local utility responsible for that load. But chances are that it will not mean a increase in hydro generation since they serve RECs and their generation is adjusted up or down in response to REC load primarily.

          • Austin ZZR1200 says:

            Damn, Wayne. Way to through a wet blanket over our eco-fantasies!

        • Jeremy in TX says:

          Wayne, good info and all true.

          One thing people often forget though is that a gallon of gas can contain a lot of coal as well (in the form of the substantial amount of electricity that goes into the refinery process), particularly depending on which refinery it came from. I figure that would at least make the rider coal neutral. 🙂

    • Dave says:

      Exactly how much coal constitutes “1 tankful” of power on this motorcycle?

  10. DB says:

    How about the range, life expectancy of the battery, battery warranty, and of course, what is the cost of the battery replacement, if and when you should need one?

  11. Bueldog says:

    Range range range, price price price, won’t won’t won’t

  12. Grover says:

    It’s ugly and expensive for what you are getting. Pass

  13. Jim says:

    Now lets see that Pikes Peak bike in production.

    • dino says:

      Yeah, I’ll park this electric bike next to my electric lawn mower while i wait for the Victory Pikes Peak edition Street Tracker…

  14. Mick says:

    Does anyone know if it harms the batteries to plug it in wherever you stop for as long as you stop over the long term? Can you pull that stunt if you do some sort of periodic discharge and charge ritual?

    • Kevin says:

      Older battery types, such as NiCad and Ni-MH, developed a memory effect, and performed poorly if not completely discharged on a regular basis. Your garden tools and electric tooth brush probably still use this type of battery. However, Li-ion batteries are the exact opposite, and you should avoid running them down completely. This is true of your mobile phone; if you run the battery down to near zero on a regular basis, your phone battery will die much sooner. The Tesla electric car is designed to never allow the batteries to completely discharge to prolong battery life. If you buy the Victory Empulse, charge it as often as you can, and avoid running it until it is completely dead.

    • MGNorge says:

      Lithium batteries can be put back on charge at any time just as long as they are not overcharged and get too hot. This is controlled by the charging system so there’s nothing else needed from the user. A good charging system for lithium batteries will never actually charge them to 100% for that reason. Likewise, batteries are kept from discharging below about 30% as doing so will likely cause premature failure. Keeping lithium batteries in their sweet spot, between about 30% and 90% charge, they can live a long and happy life.

  15. roadrash1 says:

    Very cool indeed. My wife’s uncle works for a Yamaha shop, and he recently made the statement that “Victory is taking over the World!”

    I know many folks can’t afford to be early users of this technology, but I’m glad a major corporation has stepped up to the plate.

    I hope I get a chance to try one!

  16. david says:

    Beautiful bike indeed. I like the paint scheme. Can’t wait till the day that electric bikes can go as far as 200 mile range for one battery charge. Definitely it will get there.

  17. cw says:

    so, in a nutshell, this is the first electric non-scooter motorcycle released by a major manufacturer?

    H-D teases, Victory releases…

  18. Daven says:

    A production motorcycle from a major US motorcycle manufacturer, AND it’s not a cruiser. Now that’s news. Way to go Victory! Glad to see they are trying something other than cruisers.

  19. todd says:

    And how much? I need to compare this to a Ninja 650…

  20. Jeremy in TX says:

    A good sign to see Victory stamping its name on the old Brammo without cruiserizing it. This gives me hope that there are some exciting things to come from Victory.

  21. chris says:

    Great job Victory I am glad to see that you are taking risk’s and starting to get into different styles of bikes including sport bikes (project 156) instead of continuing to make the same old stuff year after year like the so called motor company does.