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Royal Enfield looks West to Electrify

Royal Enfield is investing 50 million euros in Spanish manufacturer Stark, which builds an electric MX bike, as a quicker route to developing its own battery-powered machines. We reported in October last year that Indian giant Hero is investing in Zero as a quick buy-in to electric bike technology – now it seems that Eicher Motors (EML) – Royal Enfield’s parent company – is also looking west for electrics.

Stark Future currently makes the Varg, an electric motocross bike which claims more power than a typical 450cc MX machine. Now Royal Enfield’s parent will gain a 10% stake in the Spanish company and pave the way for a partnership that will include, “collaborative research and development in electric motorcycles, technology sharing, technical licensing, and manufacturing,” according to Stark’s press release heralding the deal.

It’s been known that Royal Enfield has its own electric prototype under development, but this hook-up could boost its electric knowhow significantly. The company has said that it’s “made huge strides on its Electric Vehicle (EV) journey over the last few years” and that it intends to “create uniquely differentiated electric motorcycles with strong Royal Enfield DNA.”

Eicher Motors’ Siddhartha Lal outside of Royal Enfield headquarters

Eicher Motors Managing Director Siddhartha Lal added, “Leisure motorcycles do not easily lend themselves to EV technology at this stage, due to challenges like the battery range, packaging, weight, and cost…Stark Future has been able to understand and harness the potential of EV technology by dramatically outperforming ICE (Internal Combustion Engine) offerings, without compromising on range, weight, and cost.”

Jim Freeman, Chair of the BMF, said: “Another interesting tie-up between a western high performance ebikes brand and a successful mass market manufacturer from the sub-continent. “Dramatically outperforming ICE offerings, without compromising on range, weight, and cost.” If they’ve managed to achieve that, they deserve all the kudos, I’ll look out for real world testing. Things have come a long way from the days when I associated Royal Enfield with Lucas electrical systems, designed by ‘the Prince of Darkness’, aka Joe Lucas!”

Written by Peter Henshaw

Top image courtesy of Stark

In article image courtesy of Royal Enfield/Twitter