Harley-Davidson CEO Says Electric Motorcycle On Track for 2019 Launch

APR 30 2018 BY DOMENICK YONEY 29

The development throttle is still pinned.

We told you back in January that iconic motorcycle maker Harley Davidson would have an electric motorcycle for the masses within eighteen months. Now, three months later (yes, we are counting the days), and following on its quarterly financial reporting, what’s the word? Was that all just fake news?

First, everybody knows that the bird is the word, and second, we now expect the Motor company to have an electric Hog within fifteen months: it was not “fake” news. The Milwaukee manufacturer is committed to battery-powered bikes as part of its future growth strategy: as the Harley customer base ages out of the bike market, it’s hyper-aware that it needs to grow the number of riders in its major market, and electrification is a definite part of that effort.

A look back – Dissecting the Harley Davidson LiveWire

The company just reported better-than-expected earnings — $1.24 per HOG share — and is seeing some growth in Europe and Latin America, but ridership in the U.S. is what made the outfit and it could well be what breaks them if trends aren’t reversed. So, when The Street caught up with CEO Matt Levatich, that is the issue they pressed him on. They were not disappointed in the response.

According to the publication, they were told this summer would see several initiatives unveiled. Electric motorcycles weren’t explicitly mentioned as a part of this effort to kick-start sales, but we would be shocked if a new design wasn’t unveiled before Labor Day. It was interesting that right after talking about growing the market, the conversation went straight to the electric question. Levatich’s answer was telling, especially in the context of the need to grow ridership. Said he,

We are progressing to that plan and we are excited about that product. We continue to see electric vehicles as a tremendous opportunity. These motorcycles are easier to ride than bicycles, they lend themselves to urban environments where our product is maybe less targeted or less suited. They are suited to a generation of people that don’t have the mechanical depth of experience that maybe boomers had with manual transmissions and clutches.

While this does give us some hope that resources are being directed towards easier-to-ride electrics, it’s a little light on chewable, steak-like substance. Still, we do have a couple clues about the company’s direction: The motor (and who knows, maybe the bike itself), will possibly be called Revelation, which we dig. Also, like it leaned on the now-defunct Mission Motors for its drivetrain technology in the Livewire concept, Harley has bought into Alta Motors which has spent the past decade or so designing and engineering its Redshift electric motorcycle lineup, so we can expect some of that DNA in the final product.

Finally, it’s also clear that heads at Harley are fixated on having a defining sound (listen to the embedded Jolt podcast in our source article to hear Bill Davidson opine on this and other things related to the family business), even if it’s quite different from its potato-potato rumble. So even if it just ends up sounding just a smidge different from other electric vehicles we’re accustomed to, they will probably market that aspect as a fine whine.

Source: The Street

Categories: Bikes

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29 Comments on "Harley-Davidson CEO Says Electric Motorcycle On Track for 2019 Launch"

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John

I hate gas bikes and bikers.

Clive

IF was not married and lived in an area where there were not a million crappy drivers I’d buy one of these in a minute.

nevetsyad

Once I get my money back from my Zero, I’m picking one up next year as soon as I can! My HD dealership is amazing, can’t wait for real support for an EV motorcycle.

steven

It gets you on the HOV, can get you free parking, takes up less space on the road and a much lower carbon footprint. What’s there to hate about it?

Clive

Getting run over and killed when you least expect it.

Steven

Ok, this is going to get confusing.
You’re not me, and I’m not you.
But everyone else won’t know the difference.

Nonbiker

Noise pollution and the emissions are actually huge. Also technically it takes as much space as a car.

Kosh

We however, really love you “cagers” who don’t pay attention while driving… 😉

See, everyone can generalize and stereotype!

Maybe once autopilot is working and watching out for us bikers, I’ll be ready to give up the loud hog!

Fred

You also wear highly visible outer wear. Visibility very important also. Brights on in daytime much more effective than noise.

G2

Remember, loud pipes piss off humanity. 😜

Nonbiker

We “cagers” don’t drive recklessly speeding ALL THE TIME.

fotomoto

Just most of the time?

Sheesh, more generalizations.

Steven

My Harley Davidson gets 47MPG.

Why do you hate me? Do you know me? Do you know what my family thinks of me? Do you know what I do for a living? Do you know what I do for my community?

Why the blanket hate?

Mark.ca

He is probably referring to the ones with the choppers that trigger all the car alarms when they pass by….i hate them too. I you want to be loud and obnoxious then play that noise to yourself through headsets. Others are fine by me.

CDAVIS

Harley-Davidson CEO said: “…They [Electric Motorcycles] are suited to a generation of people that don’t have the mechanical depth of experience that maybe boomers had with manual transmissions and clutches…”
—————

Harley may get surprised by the conversion rate of their existing customers from ICE to electric. Many electric car owners (particularly Tesla owners) were former ICE car gear heads.

Clive

I will glad to get my hearing back when that finally happens.

nevetsyad

Seems like some backhanded compliments. Us EV riders aren’t able to maintain our vehicles, or use complex transmissions. I road ICE bikes for a decade before getting my crappy Zeros. Can’t wait to get an EV HD, really hope they’re committed.

Clive

You don’t like your Zero?

What is it, an S?

ffbj

Maybe call it the Zig-Zag. Or the Zog instead of Hog.

Clive

LOL

fotomoto

Might was well name it the Lead Zepplin as that will be about as good as it will fly with the HD base (aka “the faithful”). Those folks all about image and an ev is the antithesis of that. Ask sport riders how well the innovative Buell performance line did under HD’s stewardship as a good example of trying to get their customer base to move to a new product line. Even the Porsche designed high performance engine of the V-rod (yeah, that’s the name) never achieved great sales and died a slow death.

Their EV offerings will have to succeed on an entirely new customer base of young folks. Good luck with that as, industry wide, they aren’t joining the ranks of motorcycling in meaningful numbers.

Clive

It’s Led Zeppelin

The faithful are getting old and dying off.

There is a new generation stepping in to set a new tone.

fotomoto

“Led” is the band’s “cool” spelling. My reference was a hat-tip about the story of the naming of the band.

My last point is there isn’t a new generation coming to the H-D brand especially here in the USA. Most sub-30 yo riders can’t afford those prices. Sales across the Japanese and Euro brands which relies heavier on younger riders than H-D have also been in decline for decades.

Mark C

Not a fan of sport bikes and this isn’t exactly the niche that Harley is known for. Maybe they can make their mark with this one.

fotomoto

Exactly. Making it sporty AND an EV? Kiss of death.

MOE

Lmao the younger generation can’t find I there ass with both hands…. They live in there moms basements most don’t work … They are so broke they can’t even pay attention. Lol. I WILL stay with the old school bikes the real ones.

Mark.ca

Easy grandpa, a vein might pop.

ted

you suck