KTM fans in the U.S. might not be familiar with the Austrian brand’s electric motorcycles, but KTM has a line of electric off-road machines – the Freeride E-SM, E-SX, E-XC – available in other markets. KTM claims the performance of its e-bikes is similar to internal-combustion competitors.
Now it appears KTM is dipping its toes in the electric street motorcycle market, as evidenced by these spy shots of what’s being dubbed the KTM E-Duke spotted at KTM’s development department at its headquarters in Austria. As you can see in the photos, the donor model is a 390 Duke with its internal combustion guts replaced with electrons. Bernhard M. Höhne, the photographer who sent us these shots, says he expected this bike to have already reached production, but battery prices “have not developed the way KTM hoped,” causing the delay.
A large (presumably lithium-ion, as used in the Freeride) battery pack resides underneath the standard 390’s fuel tank. Judging by the lack of steel trellis frame spars traditionally used by KTM, the battery housing appears to resemble the main stressed member of the “frame.” Battery capacity and power output are not known at this time. The Freeride-E’s battery capacity is 2.6 kWh, but a road-going KTM would need at least 7 or more kWh to yield a decent range for the street. To be a viable commuter, the E-Duke should have a range of at least 60 miles, stretching to around 100 miles to be competitive with Zero’s S and SR.
Beneath the battery lies the E-Duke’s motor (neither of which look at all similar to the units used in the Freeride off-road models), and underneath the rider’s seat lies the motor controller. What’s interesting, however, is the image of the right side of the bike. There we see a radiator and its associated plumbing leading to the motor, leading us to believe the motor and motor controller have fairly high capacities to require a significant cooling system.
Behind the rad you’ll see a clutch case (and requisite oil cap) which appears to be cast as part of the motor assembly. This, along with the clutch and shift levers in their traditional locations, would point to the E-Duke carrying on where Brammo/Victory left off with transmissions for electric motorcycles. We’ve noted in the past how much we’re not fans of the six-speed gearbox in the Brammo/Victory Empulse. Here’s hoping KTM can do it right.
When it comes to electrics, the major issues for many motorcyclists are range and charge time, so seeing KTM choose the 390 Duke as its initial platform for the E-Duke makes sense. The 390 is a bike primarily designed for urban blasting and general commuter duties – areas where an electric powertrain excels. Specs for on-board charging are not known at this point, but the E-Duke should have plenty of power for a city dweller to run errands or get to work, then recharge at home or at the office.
That’s all we know about the KTM E-Duke at this time. Keep it locked to Motorcycle.com, as we’ll post updates when we get them.