Harley-Davidson Electric Motorcycle Coming in 18 Months
Harley-Davidson Electric Motorcycle Coming in 18 Months—On the back of a rather dismal fiscal fourth-quarter earnings report yesterday where the company confirmed the closure of the Kansas City manufacturing plant, Harley-Davidson CEO Matt Levatich has confirmed the Bar & Shield brand will be bringing an electric motorcycle to the marketplace within “the next 18 months,” according to a press release by the company.
“The EV (electric vehicle) motorcycle market is in its infancy today, but we believe premium Harley-Davidson electric motorcycles will help drive excitement and participation in the sport globally,” stated Levatich. “As we expand our EV capabilities and commitment, we get even more excited about the role electric motorcycles will play in growing our business.”
Harley-Davidson created a huge amount of publicity four years ago with the release of the Project Livewire prototype, a machine built by the now-defunct Mission Motors in San Francisco and badged Harley-Davidson.
Harley-Davidson to build in-house?
With Mission now finished, Harley-Davidson will likely be building the machine in-house, with Bloomberg reporting the company will spend $25 million to $50 million per year over the next several years on electric motorcycle technology, with the goal of becoming the leader in the electric motorcycle segment.
According to Bloomberg, in a 2016 report, market research firm TechNavio projected 45 percent growth in the electric motorcycle industry by 2020, which is a different story to the current state of the U.S. motorcycle industry, where industry retail sales were down 6.5 percent in the fourth quarter of 2017 and H-D’s sales fell 11 percent in the fourth quarter and 8.5 percent for the year.
The news of Harley-Davidson’s imminent, unnamed electric motorcycle means Harley-Davidson will be one of the first mainstream manufacturers to commit to an electric vehicle. At present, there are electric scooters offered by Piaggio and BMW, as well as industry stalwarts Zero, off-road brand, Alta and more recently, KTM with their Freeride E-XC. Ducati has also committed to an electric motorcycle in the future, while the Japanese industry has prototypes like the Yamaha PES2 and PED2 but no machines currently on sale to the public.