Four years after unveiling the LiveWire project, an all-electric motorcycle prototype used in the Avengers series, Harley-Davidson finally confirms that it is bringing its first electric motorcycle to market.
With its fourth-quarter results today, the company announced that “it will invest more aggressively to lead in the application of electric motorcycle technology.” The first electric motorcycle to come out of this new strategy will hit the market “within 18 months.”
Matt Levatich, president and chief executive officer of Harley-Davidson, commented:
“The EV 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. As we expand our EV capabilities and commitment, we get even more excited about the role electric motorcycles will play in growing our business.”
He didn’t confirm if the first electric Harley-Davidson will be based on the LiveWire project or an all-new bike.
The LiveWire made a big impact when it was unveiled in 2014. Harley ended up making dozens of prototypes. They let industry people ride them, give them feedback, and it was even featured in movies.
The natural next step would have been to bring the vehicle to market, but that never happened.
It was an awesome-looking concept, but in retrospect, it was really just a concept to gauge the interest of the market.
The all-electric concept had only ~60 miles of range, which was lacking compared to other models already available at the time from competitors like Zero Motorcycles.
But it did show that one of the most iconic motorcycle companies, which is also obviously entrenched in internal combustion engines, is at least looking at other powertrain technologies.
It took them four more years to greenlight an electric vehicle for production, but better late than never.
An electric motor might be a tough sell for the hardcore Harley bikers, but I think it could also open up the company to a new market.