KTM Caught Testing an Electric Street Bike

05/03/2017 @ 11:20 am, by Jensen Beeler8 COMMENTS

Spy photos from Austria have caught KTM testing a rather interesting motorcycle – one that does not run on a petroleum-based fuel, but rather it has an electric drivetrain at its core.

This isn’t the first time that KTM has experimented with an electric motorcycle, of course, with the KTM Freeride E being available in select markets. However, the machine seen here is a pretty big step forward for the Austrian brand, from its modest electric dirt bike.

Using the chassis of a KTM 390 Duke to house the battery, inverter, and motor, KTM’s electric street bike (we’ll call it the KTM E-Duke for now) looks like a rolling mess, but is what you would expect from a project in its early stages of development.

The choice of the KTM 390 Duke format for the KTM E-Duke suggests that KTM is looking at efficient people-movers for congested areas, and not trying to build an pie-in-the-sky sport bikes.

That could serve the company well, especially with its minority owner Bajaj, as markets like India are a better fit for the E-Duke, than say the United States or Europe.

Looking at the guts of the machine, we can also see that KTM continues to evolve with its EV designs.

A large radiator can be clearly spotted, which suggests at least a liquid-cooled engine, but could also suggest some liquid-cooling for the rather large battery pack (the aluminum box near the top of the bike).

More interestingly, KTM appears to have included a gearbox in its design, with a clutch cover spotted on the right-hand side of the machine, and a clutch lever and shifter linkage on the left-hand side of the motorcycle.

The inverter and motor appear to be in a single casing, and it is possible that KTM is continuing with its PMAC electric motor design, the same design used on the production version of the KTM Freeride E lineup.

In terms of specs, it would be impossible to say definitively from the photos here, but again the choice of using a KTM 390 Duke chassis gives us some hints that the Austrians are looking to make a machine with similar outputs and weights to the 390 Duke, and one that is used for similar mileage requirements.

When you think about it, an electric 300cc-class street bike makes a lot of sense with today’s technology. Will KTM take a page from the humpback whale though? Well, that remains to be seen.

Photo: © 2016 BMH-Images — All Rights Reserved

  • Dustin Nisbet-Jones

    Now this is more like it. It’s all well and good to develop big money superbikes or boutique style and technology exercises but I think a big manufacturer taking an existing, accessible platform and selling an EV alongside its gas-engined counterparts is a great idea. One would think that the EV version of the 390 Duke won’t just be a dull people mover, either.


  • GeddyT

    More like the “Duke-E”…

    Okay, the bike could be awesome. Who knows. But one has to swing when the setup is thrown right over the plate like that!

  • Stg30rg3

    We shall now call it the Dookey.

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  • paulus

    Come on Yamaha, you are falling behind… where are the ‘beefier’ versions of the PES2 and PED2?

  • gasdive

    This would have been mind blowing in 2006. In 2009 it would have been exciting to see a major player coming in, albeit with a very conventional offering no better than the startups. Surprisingly late in 2012, and disturbingly old-fashioned. This is a complete joke in 2017. This space moves fast. Offering this today is like offering a computer with 256 kB of RAM, twin floppy drives and no hard disk. It’s a poor joke.

  • PaulScott58

    My 2017 Zero SR can hit 60 in 3 seconds flat and has a 160 mile range. I’m good with that.

  • Cecil-T

    This makes a ton of sense with its relationship with India, and since India just declared all new vehicles sold there will be electric by 2030. Gotta start somewhere.