A few weeks ago Harley Davidson said they were about 18 months from a production ready electric motorcycle. Today, they announced an investment in Alta Motors for the purpose of collaborating on electric technology and new product development. Alta Motors' current products are nothing like the LiveWire prototype Harley introduced earlier, so it will be interesting to see what direction this combination of company resources eventually takes.
It's interesting, too, in their press release they not only mention the performance aspects of electrics, something we totally agree with, but also the "twist-and-go" simplicity as an added feature that may attract new riders who would rather not bother with a clutch and shifting gears. The no shift feature could definitely attract a lot of potential riders who find the whole manual transmission thing a bit intimidating.
And there's this:
We believe that EV is where global mobility is headed and holds great appeal for existing riders as well as opportunity to bring new riders into the sport,” said Levatich. “We intend to be the world leader in the electrification of motorcycles and, at the same time, remain true to our gas and oil roots by continuing to produce a broad portfolio of motorcycles that appeal to all types of riders around the world.
Harley Davidson is going whole hog, so to speak, in the direction of electric power. When electric motorcycles share the showroom with Softails, will the dealers give them the special attention they'll need or will they be neglected like Buell? I can't imagine the Motor Company tolerating anything less than enthusiastic promotion, nor would any dealer be wise to push them into a dark corner, but time will tell, both in how many new customers show up and how enthusiastically dealers respond.
Press release follows:
HARLEY-DAVIDSON INVESTS IN ALTA MOTORS; COMPANIES WILL COLLABORATE ON FUTURE ELECTRIC MOTORCYCLE PRODUCT DEVELOPMENT
Collaboration Will Advance Application of EV Motorcycle Technology and Expand Electric Motorcycle Marketplace Combining Instant Torque and Quick Acceleration with Intuitive and Dynamic Motorcycle Design
MILWAUKEE (March 1, 2018) – Harley-Davidson, Inc. (NYSE: HOG) announced today that it has made an equity investment in Alta Motors, a leader and innovator in lightweight electric vehicles, and that the two companies will collaborate on electric motorcycle technology and new product development.
“Earlier this year, as part of our 10-year strategy, we reiterated our commitment to build the next generation of Harley-Davidson riders, in part, by aggressively investing in electric vehicle (EV) technology,” said Harley-Davidson President and CEO Matt Levatich. “Alta has demonstrated innovation and expertise in EV and their objectives align closely with ours. We each have strengths and capabilities that will be mutually beneficial as we work together to develop cutting-edge electric motorcycles.”
Harley-Davidson has already announced the planned launch of its first electric motorcycle, informed by Project LiveWire™. That motorcycle is on track for release in 2019.
Since its inception, Alta Motors has designed and commercialized the world’s most advanced electric motorcycles, enabling everyone from pro riders to new riders to experience “the future of fast.”
“Riders are just beginning to understand the combined benefits of EV today, and our technology continues to progress,” said Alta Motors Chief Product Officer and Co-Founder, Marc Fenigstein. “We believe electric motorcycles are the future, and that American companies have an opportunity to lead that future. It’s incredibly exciting that Harley-Davidson, synonymous with motorcycle leadership, shares that vision and we’re thrilled to collaborate with them.”
As electric-drive innovation brings new levels of ease, accessibility and control, Harley-Davidson and Alta Motors aim to attract new audiences who are inspired by motorcycles and drawn to the “twist-and-go” ease and exhilaration of an electric motorcycle with no gears or clutch.
“We believe that EV is where global mobility is headed and holds great appeal for existing riders as well as opportunity to bring new riders into the sport,” said Levatich. “We intend to be the world leader in the electrification of motorcycles and, at the same time, remain true to our gas and oil roots by continuing to produce a broad portfolio of motorcycles that appeal to all types of riders around the world.”
About Alta Motors
Alta Motors is a global leader in electric motorcycles and lightweight EV drivetrains with a proprietary technology platform that offers new levels of energy density and performance. It leads the industry with a complete portfolio of battery and drivetrain components, a fleet of motorcycles manufactured at its world-class Brisbane, CA facility and a trophy-case of podium finishes. Alta's award-winning Redshift platform is now available to riders at 44 U.S. dealerships across 19 states. Please visit us at: https://www.altamotors.co/.