Royal Enfield Unveils Electric Himalayan at EICMA
Royal Enfield introduced its first ever electric vehicle design concept at the EICMA 2023 today in Milan, Italy, marking a new phase in its 122-year history. The debut of the Royal Enfield Electric Himalayan Testbed signifies the company's commitment to sustainable exploration and represents a speculative vision of a potential Royal Enfield electric adventure tourer.
Taking inspiration from the original Himalayan, Royal Enfield has a deep-rooted connection with the Himalayas, which has long served as its spiritual home for the brand. The Royal Enfield Himalayan, born in 2016, emerged as an accessible, simple, yet capable adventure tourer, carving out its own class in the adventure segment.
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," say Royal Enfield. "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 is an ongoing project undergoing continuous development, employing rapid prototyping and iterative design to push the boundaries of what is currently achievable. Rooted in Royal Enfield's design philosophy, RE says it brings together the simplicity and rugged character of the Himalayan with the benefits of an electric powertrain. The design team's primary focus was to create a concept that encourages exploration while reducing both rider and environmental stress. Achieving this required reimagining everything, we're told, including the overall package with an in-house designed battery box as the main structural component, the use of generative design, and the incorporation of innovative materials like Organic Flax Fiber composite bodywork.
Royal Enfield tells us 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 isn't meant to be just a showcase; rather it's a laboratory for the brand – a passion project aimed at creating a program that will continually evolve and serve as a guiding light for a new era of touring experiences. It's not only about reaching the destination but also savoring the journey and all the stops along the way (which there will be plenty), harmonizing with the terrain, interacting with local communities, embracing nature, and contributing positively as riders explore.
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