Electric Royal Enfield ‘Photon’ has the approval of Siddhartha Lal [Update]

What you see here is the Photon, a fully-electric Royal Enfield Bullet that has been built by UK-based company Electric Classic Cars that converts classics into electric vehicles. Globally, electric two-wheelers are making their presence known outside of the last-mile delivery companies and this is a fine example.

While on the one hand we have brands like Damon Motorcycles and Zero Motorcycles that offer sporty electric motorbikes designed from the ground-up, conventional brands like Harley Davidson are also venturing into the electric space. As stated, the Photon has been built by Electric Classic Cars, a company based in Mid Wales, UK that has been converting conventional ICE cars into electric but this is the first motorbike they have built.

Speaking to ElectricVehicleWeb from his base, the founder of Electric Classic Cars, Richard Morgan, who was surrounded by classic motorcycles growing up yet never took to them, said the project kicked off in 2018 with three ambitions – to offer a 100-mile range, a 100 mph top speed and zero maintenance classic motorbike. Richard said he did not expect such a massive response for the bike and he’s already considering how it could be produced in limited numbers this year. “We’ve created a monster and that’s putting pressure on us to make the Photon,” he quips. Right now the project is in the prototype stage and the sole unit has clocked “thousands of miles” without troubles. He says customers from the USA have shown interest in acquiring the electric bike. If launched, the Photon will be priced at around GBP 20,000 (Rs 18.7 lakh).

Richard told us that he was acquainted with Royal Enfield CEO Siddhartha Lal as he had acquired a Fiat 500 electric conversion from the company.

Royal Enfield ‘Photon’ Image Electric Gallery

The Photon is powered by a 10 kWh (four 2.5 kWh batteries) battery pack made by LG Chem. The battery drives a hub-mounted 18 kW electric motor sourced from China and returns a range of 100 miles on single charge even when ridden at a constant speed of 50-60 mph on the freeways. Richard says the range will be higher in the start-stop scenario of everyday usage in the city due to regenerative braking. The motor is a water-cooled unit with the coolant supplied through a radiator with twin fans mounted before the battery pack. Richard told us that he chose a hub motor as it is maintenance-free without the need for the tensioning and lubrication of a chain.

Apart from the powertrain, Photon remains largely similar to the regular Bullet retaining the weight, frame and suspension. Richard says it will offer a similar experience to the Bullet without the distinct ‘thump’ of the original, and goes a step further stating it corners much nicer than the donor. To maximise the range, the Photon’s top speed is limited to 112 km/h. The bike’s stopping power is offered by 280 mm disc brake at the front and 240 mm disc at the rear. The instrumentation is also the same but gets an additional battery level indicator.

Jon Peck, the Liaison officer from Electric Classic Cars agreed to answer questions about the Photon electric motorcycle from readers:

1) What was the inspiration of the Royal Enfield electric motorcycle project, and give us some background about your company, the facility and the cars you’ve built?

The inspiration came from Richard’s Dad who was complaining about the maintenance he had to constantly do on his motorbike. Richard wanted to take a classic bike and make it as enjoyable and as maintenance free riding as possible.

2) You said Royal Enfield boss Siddhartha Lal has seen the vehicle, what was his feedback?

Sid was very impressed with the Photon.

3) Take us through the specifications of the bike and where you sourced the parts from?

The Photon has an 18kW water cooled hub motor a 10kWh battery pack and 2.5kW charge system with a Type 2 charge socket. The range is up to 100 miles.

4) When did you start building the motorcycle and tell us about the interest you’ve received from prospective clients?

We started the Photon development about 2.5 years ago. It has generated a lot of interest from all over the world.

5) Are you thinking about producing this model and what is the price you have in mind?

We do expect to start producing the Photon once the development has been finalised. We are not sure what the final price will be, probably around £20k.

Royal Enfield working on electric motorcycles

Royal Enfield’s UK R&D centre has developed a prototype of an electric Thunderbird last year. It was reported that the company is looking at how to enter the electric motorcycle market, that is either fit the electrical components to the existing models or design bikes from scratch.