Harley-Davidson has been in the news a lot lately for their ambitious electric vehicle plans. Last month the company not only revealed the pricing and range specs on the LiveWire, their halo model electric motorcycle, but also unveiled two new concept electric vehicles. Now, we are seeing the first public tests of the electric scooter and electric dirt bike concepts, which Harley-Davidson brought to the X-Games Aspen 2019.
Harley-Davidson electric dirt bike concept
While it still doesn’t have a name yet, this EV concept might not technically qualify as a dirt bike.
It’s on the lighter end of the spectrum, which puts it closer towards electric mountain bike territory.
It is certainly no Alta Motors dirt bike (RIP, Alta). Instead, it seems to handle like a lightweight and nimble off-roader.
However, Harley-Davidson’s concept still appears to have plenty of torque and power to spare as it rips wheelies up and down the snowy track in Aspen. Check out the video below to see it in action.
Harley-Davidson leaves no doubt about their commitment to electric vehicles, beginning the video with the words “Electric is the future” directly beneath the recognizable HD logo.
And to prove what the bike could do, the company enlisted veteran X-Games winner and motocross rider Jacko Strong to put it through its paces.
Strong can be seen brake sliding, riding wheelies, slinging snow and basically goofing around on the electric dirt bike concept.
As Strong remarked about the ride experience:
“It was fun. It’s really impressive what these guys have done. I think they’ve met at a really great place between the mountain bike and dirt bike world. For me, I felt right at home. The power is amazing. It’s definitely different from a gas motorcycle, it has torque from ground zero. It’s a lot more user friendly, you don’t have to worry about gears and it’s just a whole lot easier.”
The concept was still definitely in prototype form, with exposed wiring and zip ties galore. The familiar belt drive is on display, but this time we get a closer look at the motor. While Harley-Davidson hasn’t yet released any specs on motor power, it’s apparent that this isn’t your standard 1,000W e-bike motor. We’re likely looking at closer to a 3-5 kW mid-drive motor here.
The rest of the concept largely sticks to the polished photos provided by Harley-Davidson, though some changes can already be seen. A new seat design looks to be more utilitarian and the battery looks like a smaller version. However, the battery is likely to change as the bike gets closer to production, and this may have just been a test battery.
Harley-Davidson electric scooter concept
While the electric dirt bike was tearing up the snow, Harley-Davidson was also testing out their electric scooter concept on the streets of Aspen.
This time, X-Games host Jack Mitrani received the honor of testing the scooter on Aspen’s snow-packed roads. See the video below.
Again, this version is just a prototype, and so there are a number of differences compared to Harley-Davidson’s original concept photos. A modified frame and naked motor show large similarities between the electronics components on both of Harley-Davidson’s new concepts.
A large belt driven motor and high current electronic speed controller are both visible on the naked scooter, revealing that the low-ish speed scooter certainly isn’t a low power model.
Mitrani apparently agrees. He appeared quite impressed with the scooter, saying:
“I hopped on and it was just like, BOOM! So much torque. It was so easy to maneuver, lightweight, and everywhere I went people were stopping and taking photos. The most surprising thing was just how quiet and smooth it was. I’m sure we’ll see them all over cities and college towns.”
And that is a big part of Harley-Davidson’s goal with their electric scooter concept. The company has revealed plans for four different lightweight two-wheeled electric vehicles following the release of their LiveWire electric motorcycle. The company hopes that lighter vehicles like this scooter, which will be designed to not require a driver’s license in most states, will open up the possibility of two-wheeled commuting to more new riders. College students who might have been previously intimidated by the barrier of a motorcycle license could easily hop on a Harley-Davidson electric scooter instead.
In fact, Harley-Davidson may very well be betting the farm on it. The company just released their Q4 2018 earnings report yesterday, revealing a more than 10% drop in sales in the US, marking the 8th straight quarter with negative domestic sales growth. The writing is on the wall and riders just aren’t buying Harley-Davidson’s gas bikes like they used to.
If Harley-Davidson is going to save itself, then electric vehicles that reach a whole new market of riders might be its only hope.
What do you think? Let us know in the comments below.