Harley-Davidson CEO serious about releasing an Electric Motorcycle in 18 Months

Discussion in 'Electric Motorcycles' started by voltsxamps, Feb 11, 2018.

  1. voltsxamps

    voltsxamps Advolturer

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    "Harley-Davidson Inc. might be using the name "Revelation" for the engine of its new electric motorcycle, according to a trademark application.

    Harley isn’t confirming it, but the company has filed an application with the U.S. Patent and Trademark office for the name "H-D Revelation," in a listing that includes electric drives for vehicles, engines for motorcycles and batteries for vehicles."

    https://www.jsonline.com/story/mone...ame-its-electric-motorcycle-engine/357111002/

    May be using some of the most advanced batteries/controllers currently available:

    "The LiveWire will enter an increasingly competitive field. Although battery electric motorcycles have not been adopted as readily as battery electric cars, models offering high performance, excellent design and engineering, and practical range are already being produced by California's Zero Motorcycles, Germany's BMW and Italy's Energica.

    Many other companies — among them Japanese giants Yamaha and Honda — also produce high-quality electric scooters, which have seen dramatic adoption rates in China and elsewhere.

    The Harley-Alta deal may be partly a response to a 2015 agreement between Polaris Industries and electric motorcycle manufacturer Brammo, which was itself inspired by Harley's LiveWire project.

    Polaris, a $5.4-billion-a-year power sports juggernaut that makes snowmobiles and other recreational vehicles, and the Indian Motorcycle brand of two-wheelers, said in January 2015 that its acquisition of Oregon-based Brammo was made possible by Harley's electric ambitions.

    "Ironically, we may have to thank Harley for opening up a market opportunity for us," Polaris Chairman and CEO Scott Wine said at the time."


    http://www.latimes.com/business/autos/la-fi-hy-harley-davidson-alta-20180301-story.html
    #21
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  2. kentuckymike

    kentuckymike Adventurer

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    I rode one of the electric Harleys at the Livewire tour a couple of years ago when they stopped in Nashville. I liked everything about the power, drivetrain, no noise, it was awesome. Only thing I did not like it is was in a sportster type frame, but that was just a personal opinion. Put a electric set up in a tourer that will go 800 miles in a day and I all over it.
    #22
  3. OdyBandit

    OdyBandit Been here awhile

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    A friend of mine is an engineer at Harley. He had a chance to ride one of these. He said the acceleration will rip your face off. Of course his normal ride is a grandpa glide.
    #23
  4. MarylandStrom

    MarylandStrom Been here awhile

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  5. Sparrowhawk

    Sparrowhawk Long timer

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    This should be good for both companies. Alta has the dirt bike and supermoto bases covered and performs leaps and bounds better than what Zero currently offers. Harley doesn't have much in the way of engineering competencies, electric or internal combustion, so partnering with Alta is the best they could hope for.

    Harley can take Alta's tech and build something for the street with better range with a little more weight. When has a Harley customer ever cared about how much a motorcycle weighs?

    [​IMG]
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  6. Tarmac Kid

    Tarmac Kid Doesn't Like Stuff

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    Honestly, it'd take a really really really special bike for me to fork over cash at a Harley dealer. Now if a lesser bike were available at my neighborhood Yamaha or KTM dealer, I'd be happy to pay for it. Hence my sub-brand request.
    #26
  7. panzer

    panzer The Mountains Are Calling And I Must Go

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    Was’nt “Revelation” the product line of the old Western Auto stores?
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  8. voltsxamps

    voltsxamps Advolturer

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    Harley Davidson’s CEO Matt Levatich just confirmed that the company is on track to meet its goal of releasing a fully electric motorcycle in 2019.

    https://electrek.co/2018/04/27/harley-davidson-electric-motorcycles-younger/
    #28
  9. ctromley

    ctromley Been here awhile

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    The thing I'm most interested in seeing is how and where the Livewire (or whatever it morphs into being for release) is advertised. And where it's going to be sold.

    If they stick with the Harley ethos and try to sell it from Harley dealers they will be shooting themselves in the belly. (Shooting yourself in the foot is far too survivable an analogy). As we've seen in other threads here, hyper e-bikes are already encroaching on the performance envelope of EMs. That trend will continue and accelerate. If Harley's EM is meant to attract new riders, many of those new, non-motorcyclist potential customers will see where the real advancement is taking place and go there, not to Harley. I just don't see anything about the Harley brand that would be attractive to any millennial who isn't already a motorcyclist. It's all so old-school, retro, heavy-metal, comically macho, so NOT what millennials are all about. I hope there is someone at Harley who hasn't drunk enough Kool-Aid to prevent them from seeing that.

    Out of the gate Harley's EM will have to compete functionally with Zero. If they think they can offer a so-so EM and make up the difference with the HD brand, they should pack up and go home right now. The millennials just won't buy that.

    A Harley EM needs its own brand. If HD does in fact take that direction, it will be one of biggest changes the motorcycle industry has seen in a long time. :lurk

    Otherwise, Harley's EM will have a future every bit as promising as the V-Rod. Sadly, this is probably the approach Harley will take. Bold departures are just not in their DNA. They've tried less than bold with Buell, V-Rod and the Streets. Each one ended in heartbreak or just 'meh'. (Yes, I know the Streets are still in production. But who cares?)
    #29
  10. Lesharoturbo

    Lesharoturbo Nerdly Adventurer

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    All they have to do is attach a "Designed in Milwaukee" badge to it and take a page from Apple marketing. Then they will sell a billion of them to millenials.

    It is not about the functionality with Millenials, just the image. A few guys with beards, wearing plaid flannel, riding with no ATGATT except goggles or just sitting around a campfire with coffee or PBR would be the main selling point. A motorcycle need not appear anywhere in the advertising.

    Harley is used to selling a lifestyle with it's current products; a change of actors and a slight adjustment to the message is all that is required.

    Oh, and I almost forgot, the right jargon; epic, cutting edge, connected. Intersperse these words with other random mouth noises and you have a winner!!
    #30
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  11. ctromley

    ctromley Been here awhile

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    A little stereotype-based snark and sarcasm there? (I hope.)
    So are you saying they could go into a Harley dealer and see a Livewire, Maybe ride one by appointment along with other prospective Livewire buyers? (Like Tesla, the only manufacturer to date who has adopted the Apple marketing approach.) Or are you suggesting standalone Livewire stores, where they would never come in contact with the traditional Harley ethos as they certainly would at a dealer? I like that idea much better, but I think standalone stores would nowhere near support themselves just on the merits of the Livewire. Selling from Harley dealers would weird out most millennials.
    That's the thing. You can't project two lifestyles at the same location. You can barely sell the Streets at a Harley dealer, because most existing Harley riders (the people who actually comprise the 'lifestyle') think they're not real Harleys. (And they're right - the Streets are just metric cruisers, which can't compete in the metric cruiser market because the competition is much more refined. How's that for some irony?) So the only way you can sell a Street is to let the newbie customer think he's joining 'the lifestyle' when he's really not. Disappointment follows. Is that a good business model?

    The Livewire should be sold at multi-line dealers. (Does Harley do that now at all?) Or they should commit to standalone stores where the lifestyles won't mix, which means they will operate in the red for awhile.

    Note that one of Tesla's secrets to success is the fact that they are not sold alongside ICE vehicles. Go to a Nissan or Chevy dealer and express some interest in a Leaf or Bolt, and more often than not the salesman will try very hard to talk you out of it and into a 'normal' car. That tendency is declining somewhat, but it's still very much there. (I'd be very interested to know how multi-line dealers who carry Zero handle customers asking specifically about a Zero.) So Harley's dealers might do more to undermine Harley's long term goals for the Livewire than anything else. If you want your EM to sell, the best thing you can do is to not pollute the buying experience with ICE bikes. Or the Harley 'lifestyle'.

    The lifestyle resides with the existing customer base. It is hostile to change. It's even harder if the attempt to change comes from the entity that recruited the faithful in the first place. That lifestyle will only change through attrition. So let it die out in isolation so it doesn't affect the path forward.

    I think the smartest thing Harley could do is to spin off a new brand like Acura/Lexus/Infinity, just like Honda/Toyota/Nissan did to capture a different market. Those new brands went for luxury. This one would go for high tech. Note also that those different brands are sold at different dealers. Because that's what you need to do to reach a new and different demographic.
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  12. Lesharoturbo

    Lesharoturbo Nerdly Adventurer

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    Not really, OK a little. Maybe...

    Maybe separate stores, even at an Apple store, not a traditional cycle store as most millenials will never enter one. I agree, selling alongside the regular line would never work. A small intimate coffee-shop style location that sells the Livewire alongside "lifestyle" gear just like the ICE stores, but smaller and more intimate. It could even be in strip malls or small shopping centers. Here in Austin, that would be The Domain.

    Exactly! But, they have the lifestyle approach down, it just needs a new message, in a different environment.

    Not so sure about this, your next comment cements the need for a different environment.

    Yep
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  13. Mattbastard

    Mattbastard Lazy ass

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    Most of the current EM's are at multi-line dealerships. Triumph dealerships seem to have adopted Zero, and Alta wherever they can fit.

    I can see HD being successful with the Alta partnership, but don't "absorb" Alta like they did Buell. Let Alta do what it does best. If that's design EM's then leave them be. Just, for God's sake, DO NOT put them on the same showroom as the gas bikes in HD dealerships. That will be the first, and only nail needed in the coffin to kill off the EM venture for HD. In fact, create an entirely separate company just for the EM line to get as far away from the traditional stigma of HD as possible.
    #33
  14. fast1075

    fast1075 Fasterizer

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    Will the Harley have a sound emulation system so it sounds right? Will there be a Screaming Eagle sound emulation upgrade for the hard core Harley people who love loud pipes?
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  15. RCmoto

    RCmoto Long timer

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    Maybe Harley will be the Toyota, and EV's their Lexus'
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  16. ctromley

    ctromley Been here awhile

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    I've commented on this before, but they actually added a gear pair to create whirring "whooshy" noise. I guess HD is genetically incapable of making a bike quiet even when it's an EM. The gear pair is probably spur gears so not a big hit efficiency-wise, but they are followed by a completely unnecessary 90° bevel set, which does add an efficiency hit. And requires a gear case in an oil bath. Was noise really that important?

    Purposely adding noise shows how much they have to learn about EMs. Adding noise to a noiseless bike is just like the rest of their Disney-esque view of what riding is supposed to be about. All image and atmospherics, precious little substance. I do know their engineers know their stuff. The implementation is probably fine, the design requirements probably reeked. Hopefully management will eventually get a clue.
    #36
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  17. Rugby4life

    Rugby4life Been here awhile

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    Harley Territory.jpg Without a gear case in an oil bath, how would an EV Harley mark it's territory? :imaposer
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  18. Mattbastard

    Mattbastard Lazy ass

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    I can't believe how much mileage that joke is getting. Can't we switch it to BMW/final drives or something?
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  19. Sparrowhawk

    Sparrowhawk Long timer

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    I test rode an Alta Redshift Enduro EX at this year's Desert 100 last month. It's quick and an incredible bike in challenging conditions. With no throttle and clutch to coordinate you just give it whatever power is appropriate. A game changer. I spoke with the Alta reps and they said that Alta and Harley will take different paths but share technology and development. What I came away with is that Harley will take Alta's experience in battery, motor, and controller technology and use that to create a street bike suitable for marketing by Harley.

    Altas have fairly short range, depending on how hard you push them, but top performance.


    I think the matchup will produce some interesting results for both Alta and HD. Alta gets an infusion of cash for R&D and Harley gets some of the best e-motorcycle tech available.
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  20. nineronesix

    nineronesix Adventurer

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    I road the Livewire a few years ago and talked with one of the engineers about it. Also, I work in the auto industry and for the last couple of years have been tuning EV chassis's. So I see these vehicles from cobbled together prototypes to finished products. All the EV powertrains make noise, they aren't noiseless. What HD tried to do with the Livewire was not to so much add noise, but to change the noise to something that had a little character and isn't as irritating as untuned motor whine.

    Clearly the Livewire was a concept bike, but I think it worked well as a platform to get feedback on future electric bikes. I think they did a great job with it. It felt like a very finished bike, a very uniquely electric bike. It wasn't a sportster with an electric motor bolted to it, it didn't look like a bike built out of parts in someone's garage, much like the early electric bikes.

    Electric motors are the future, which means the powertrains won't have the variation between manufacturers that it currently has. They won't be able to play with crank angles or valve technology to set themselves apart. So HD is trying to figure out how to be unique after the V twin ICE is gone.

    *And about the longitudinal motor. Sure there is some loss, but if that becomes a signature look people may be more than willing to accept the loss and probably pay more for it. Personally I think it looks way better than the end of an electric motor sticking out the side of a bike.
    #40
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