The LiveWire may have been Harley-Davidson’s first foray into electric motorcycles, but it certainly wasn’t its last. And taking a look at the next Harley-Davidson electric motorcycle in the works may help lend some insight into the direction this legacy motorcycle manufacturer is headed.
To be fair, Harley-Davidson has always been clear that the LiveWire was just its opening salvo on the electric motorcycle front.
And while the $30,000 LiveWire is meant to serve as a halo product that showcases the manufacturer’s abilities in the electric motorcycle space, it is the slew of upcoming Harley-Davidson electric two-wheelers that will be more attractive to the masses.
That includes everything from electric bicycles to an awesome-looking H-D electric moped/scooter, and even a Harley electric dirt bike. But perhaps most interesting is the mid-power offering that H-D has promised will be ready by 2022 at the latest.
There’s no official name yet for Harley-Davidson’s second electric motorcycle. So far, the company has simply referred to its as the “Mid Power” option internally and in investor presentations.
First design concept sketch of Harley-Davidson mid-power electric motorcycle
All indications are that this bike will be a smaller and (hopefully) more affordable electric motorcycle that can interest younger riders. In fact, winning over younger riders has been a leading goal of H-D’s electric motorcycle push for the last few years.
Compared to the LiveWire, the initial design sketch shows a lighter bike for a single rider, a smaller motor, and a smaller battery pack. And perhaps most importantly of all, it looks rather un-Harley. And that’s not a slight, but rather an observation that could speak to H-D’s goal of expanding its ridership. While the LiveWire is an impressive bike, the H-D team did a pretty decent job of retaining the look and feel of a Harley. A head-on shot screams H-D, especially with that headlight. And while that honors H-D’s long design legacy, it may not be the best way to win over younger riders that frankly don’t care much about legacy.
Harley-Davidson LiveWire — very much still a Harley
But the design sketch of Harley-Davidson’s next electric motorcycle shows a distinctively new direction. The frame doesn’t obscure the battery like in the LiveWire, but rather shows it off as a central design piece, accentuating the bike’s electric powertrain. The distinctive Harley headlight is gone in favor of a smaller unit.
The bike seems to have some flat track DNA in it, but with a sportier twist. It looks almost like an American take on a smaller Japanese sport bike. It feels fun and new.
Updated concept sketch of Harley-Davidson mid-power electric motorcycle
And when you check out a more recent sketch, above, we can see H-D doubling down on these design notes. The bike retains a similar small, sporty stance. But now it looks even more fit for production with additions including a larger battery, a forward-mounted controller (likely for cooling), a coaxially mounted motor/swingarm, and even pillion pegs for a passenger.
This is shaping up into an electric motorcycle that I’d stand in line to buy.
And the fact that it is a Harley-Davidson seems almost secondary now. There’s obviously still branding there, but the bike embodies a new direction. It’s almost as if H-D designers started with a different goal this time. Instead of asking “How can we design a roaring electric Harley?” the team asked themselves, “How can we design an electric motorcycle to win over the masses? And oh right, it’s also a Harley, by the way.”
The current corporate timeline puts this mid-power electric motorcycle in the 2021-2022 window, which feels frustratingly far off.
But we waited five years for LiveWire, so if we have to wait two more years for this one, I think I’ll find a way to survive.
Though with all of the interesting small and middle-weight Asian electric motorcycles heading our way, I hope H-D doesn’t dawdle. The electric motorcycle market is quickly becoming more crowded, and it’s H-D’s game to lose now. So chop-chop, Milwaukee. Let’s see what you can do!
FTC: We use income earning auto affiliate links. More.
Subscribe to Electrek on YouTube for exclusive videos and subscribe to the podcast.