Harley-Davidson Plans to Sell an Electric Motorcycle

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June 20, 2016
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A high-ranking executive revealed that Harley-Davidson has definite plans to release its first electric motorcycle. Will Harley’s famously loud bikes finally meet their battery-powered match?

Harley-Davidson Senior Vice President of Global Demand, Sean Cummings, told the Milwaukee Business Journal that the company plans to release an e-bike within the next five years.

This announcement does not mark the first time Harley has shared its intentions to produce an electric motorcycle. The company unveiled an e-bike concept, Project Livewire, two years ago. However, prior to Cummings’ comments, no timeline for the development and release of Livewire had been released to the public. Cummings did not provide a precise release date, but his statement signals that the company plans to move forward with an e-bike. Asphalt and Rubber called out the vague release timeline, calling the announcement “fairly superfluous.”

The existing Project Livewire build has a range of 53 miles per battery charge. Cummins says the new model will have at least twice that range.

Loud, heavy builds characterize the Harley brand. However, despite the brand’s iconic status, sales and popularity have dwindled, in part because the brand has struggled to connect with younger riders. Harleys are traditionally expensive, making them less affordable for young riders. Younger riders also tend to be less interested in cruiser-style motorcycles, instead favoring lighter-weight sport bikes. Additionally, increasing competition from Polaris Industries Inc., the maker of Indian Motorcycles, has created further problems for Harley.

To combat its business woes, Harley has made a concerted effort to connect with a new generation of riders. It released a line of street bikes that cost around $7,000, a significantly more accessible price than the heftier cruisers, which go for upwards of $30,000.

The goal to release an electric motorcycle similarly reflects the effort to launch the brand into the future. Who knows? Maybe electric hogs could be the next big thing.


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