Husqvarna ‘Nova’ electric motorcycle is time travel to a not-so-distant future

Indian automotive designer Amol Bhangare has presented a Husqvarna electric motorcycle design that is clean, minimal yet communicates at one glance what is different about it. As a motorcycle enthusiast, Bhangare worked on the renders in his free time, and every part of the electric bike is functional and serves an important purpose, as he explains:

What was the inspiration driving this creation?

If you see electric motorcycles coming to the market are conversions of engine versions with plastic covers on the battery pack. The idea is to do something that connects with people. So what I did is just took a conventional proportion and did a minimal design for some of the interesting factors. For example, the swingarm is pivoted to the motor, or the seat which is actually one panel that you remove to access the inside.

Amol Husqvarna electric motorcycle Nova design sketches automotive

If you see the architecture, there are basically three batteries which are visible from the side and have been designed intentionally to be seen. The seat is a one-piece unit on top which can be removed to access the battery. The frame is actually a cast aluminium frame and the swingarm and the rear suspension together are pivoted to the motor. So when the swingarm moves, it actually moves around the motor pivot which is an interesting element that people haven’t seen, it gets people hooked to say “What’s happening there!” That is another example of how to create interest or engagement. The overall design of the motorcycle is very muscular yet very minimal and doesn’t try to be what it isn’t. There are so many designs in the market currently, which I appreciate, but they fail to connect with the customers with their aggressive designs. I feel that some sort of simplicity is missing and there was no other motive than this.

Technology is always evolving, we may need 10 batteries now, in the future we might get the same range done in 1 battery. But what about design? Can we not communicate something that people will accept over the alternatives?

Are you trying to capture the characteristics or traits of a Husqvarna motorcycle on the electric bike and how do you do it?

If you see KTM and Husqvarna bikes, in a way they are two different things. KTM conveys power and performance, its colour and design is aggressive. Husqvarna has power but doesn’t want to show it and has a neutral stance, it is not sharp-nosed, leaning forward, or saying “look at me.” Husqvarna has captured the very mature side of design. The Nova is based on the Husqvarna Nuda 900R and things like the handlebar, wheels and the wheelbase have been carried forward from the 900R.

The overall stance is very neutral; it’s not trying to lean forward and it’s not trying to be adventurous. The instrument panel is actually a removable device that snaps onto the slot and is used as the key to the bike. You just have to use the device to place on the slot, unlock and start the bike. The fins in the front are to cool the battery but also act as a bold design element that will attract people when they look at the bike, and subconsciously connects viewers to the elements of a conventional motorcycle that have been used to for years. It is another attempt to let people into your design, dwell on it so that they get engaged in that particular geometry visually. And it slowly grows on them to a level of acceptance. There are some designs where there is so much happening that people don’t get their eyes to rest on something, and they move on to something else. You cannot call that visual pollution but confusion happens in a lot of designs. So I wanted to minimize here on this project.

This was an exercise that I kept on simplifying the geometry till it cannot be simplified further and if I simplify further, I might lose the essence of it. It just has visual interest in a functional element and doesn’t have any unnecessary panel that communicates something that it is not.

What do you think this motorcycle should have in terms of output and performance?

This is purely a design project.

Husqvarna’s electric vehicle plans

Husqvarna currently sells an electric motorcycle, EE 5, a motocross type model that is powered by a 907 Wh lithium-ion battery and a 5 kW electric motor in the European market. This bike is only the start of Husqvarna’s shift to electrified products as it is working on a family of e-vehicles.

Husqvarna has confirmed it is developing an electric scooter with Bajaj, which will also be available in a performance-oriented version. Expected to launch in 2021, it will use components of the Chetak electric scooter with a more powerful motor and additional features. The Husqvarna electric scooter (on a 48 volt platform) is confirmed to launch in 3 kW and 11 kW variants and will be manufactured in India.

Husqvarna has said that it is expanding the ‘Sport E-Minicycles’ vertical with launches in the 5 kW, 5 kW+ and 5 kW++ classes. The E-Minicycle is made for young riders (ages up to 14 years) starting out in the world of dirt biking.