Embarking onto a new chapter in its 122-year journey of evolution, Royal Enfield unveiled its first ever electric vehicle design concept today at the EICMA Motor Show 2023, here in Milan, Italy. Inspired by its pursuit of pure motorcycling, and by the design of the original Himalayan, the Royal Enfield Electric Himalayan Testbed is a new expression of sustainable exploration for the future and an imaginative rendition of what a Royal Enfield electric adventure tourer could look like.
The Himalayas have been Royal Enfield’s spiritual home and an inspiration for its motorcycles for decades. In 2016, the Royal Enfield Himalayan was born of this inspiration, as a simple and very capable yet accessible adventure tourer. Over the last seven years, the Himalayan created not just a category, but has started a global movement of adventure touring. Inspired by this, and driven by the motivation to sustain this journey of adventure and exploration in the Himalayas for future generations, Royal Enfield has designed and unveiled this Electric Himalayan Testbed alongside the All-New Himalayan at the EICMA Motor Show.
Speaking about the purpose behind this project, B Govindarajan, CEO of Royal Enfield said, “At Royal Enfield, our Electric Mobility team is powered by the objective of preserving the quintessential Royal Enfield DNA, and extending that into our creative ideas and designs for electric motorcycles as well. This Electric Himalayan concept motorcycle is an outcome of this pursuit, as purpose and innovation meet distinct Royal Enfield design and character. This motorcycle is only just a part of a much bigger sustainable ecosystem of exploration and adventure that we are working on in the Himalayas. From green charging pit-stops, to our responsible travel initiative, from creating self-sustaining communities to collaboration with UNESCO to preserve the intangible cultural heritage of the Himalayan region, there are a lot of initiatives we are passionately driving”
The Himalayan exploration has always been on the bucket-list for motorcycling enthusiasts and adventure seekers alike. Over the years, the terrains of these mountains have evolved considerably, just as the motorcycles riding through these terrains, and the motivations of riders have evolved as well. The evolving purpose and definition of exploration, and an intention to retain and preserve these experiences for future generations, led to the idea of creating an Electric Himalayan motorcycle as a testbed for future ideas and innovations at Royal Enfield. A ‘silent’, yet potent medium to augment the connection between man, machine, terrain and community.
Speaking about the design and the inspiration behind this project, Mario Alvisi, Chief growth Officer – EV, Royal Enfield, said, “When we started this project, we were keen to create something that would be a guiding light for long term sustainable travel in the Himalayas. More than building a motorcycle for regulations or directive, we saw this as an opportunity to create something unique and to inspire future generations. What began as a capability exercise for our teams, is now this electric adventure motorcycle we are very proud of; a new expression of our love for adventure and the mountains. The Electric Himalayan Testbed is much more than a design concept. For us, this is our vision and a glimpse of what to expect from us in the future. There is a much larger electric mobility blueprint that is being brought alive at Royal Enfield as we continue to work on multiple ‘electrifying’ expressions of pure motorcycling”
The Royal Enfield Electric Himalayan Testbed has been a project that is constantly evolving and uses rapid prototyping and iterative design to stretch the limits of what is possible today. It is built with Royal Enfield design ethos and combines the simplicity and spartan character of the Himalayan with the advantages of an electric powertrain. The focus of the design team was to create a concept that encourages exploration by reducing stress on the rider as well as the environment. To achieve this the team had to re-think every touch point, including the overall package with an in-house designed battery box that serves as the main structural element, deploy generative design and incorporate new materials like Organic Flax Fibre composite bodywork.
The objective for the project was not to see how many batteries could be squeezed into a motorcycle; instead it was to augment the experience of exploration by allowing the rider to listen to the soundtrack of the Himalayas: the voices in the villages, the sound of wind through the desert lands. The Electric Himalayan Testbed, and future iterations of the motorcycle, have been ridden and tested in its natural habitat and spiritual home, the Himalayas. In addition, the team has done extensive wind tunnel testing to improve efficiency and ride experience.
The Electric Himalayan is not just a show piece, it is a laboratory. It is a passion project to create a program that will constantly evolve and be a guiding light to a new touring experience. It is as much about the destination, the ride and all the stops along the way and about being one with the terrain and flowing with it. It is about interacting with the local community, nature and giving back along the way. Improving the world with every kilometre ridden.