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

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

  1. anonny

    anonny What could go wrong?

    Joined:
    Mar 20, 2007
    Oddometer:
    6,705
    Location:
    Beautiful Revelstoke BC
    HD is 115 years in their tradition and haven’t made any concessions yet, I just don’t see them being capable of pulling it off.
    #41
  2. RCmoto

    RCmoto Long timer

    Joined:
    Mar 7, 2014
    Oddometer:
    2,779
    Location:
    US of F'ing A
    Why not, they realized early that the company's future depends on it, and so they are investing, hopefully wisely.
    #42
  3. anonny

    anonny What could go wrong?

    Joined:
    Mar 20, 2007
    Oddometer:
    6,705
    Location:
    Beautiful Revelstoke BC
    Buell and MV Augusta are the first 2 things that come to mind, they have never been able to change and I can’t see it happening now.
    #43
  4. Sparrowhawk

    Sparrowhawk Long timer

    Joined:
    Sep 26, 2005
    Oddometer:
    3,921
    Location:
    Eastern Washington, USA
    Well, 115 years of tradition is a good marketing line but really it's more like 37 when Willie G. and Beals bought what was left of the brand from AMF.

    You make a good point though with Buell and MV. I would add DKW, Aermacchi, and Porsche. And now Alta. The point I see is that Harley does not appear to have the in-house engineering depth typical of major motorcycle manufacturers. The only option they seem to have for developing anything other than evolving their line of V-Twins is to have some other company do the design. In this manner they are much like Chinese motorcycle manufacturers who rarely develop their own powertrains except for the one they have experience with. Compared to KTM, BMW, Triumph, Piaggio, and the Big Four Japanese manufacturers, Harley is a one-trick pony. This isn't really that surprising since Willie G. was a stylist, not an engineer, and had a lot of control over Harley from 1981-2012.

    Still, there is reason to hope. Harley's engineers were able to develop a modern V-Twin by evolving the Revolution engine for the Street series. Also, Matt Levatich is no Willie G. He is an engineer, headed Harley's European efforts and was director of MV for the time that Harley owned the brand. He's not stuck in tradition the same way that Willie was. There's also reason for concern. The LiveWire was the brainchild of Keith Wandell, Harley's last CEO who retired three years ago. With sales falling, investors are starting to push for a change in leadership. Harley could be headed for great things or another AMF-style buyout. Time will tell.
    #44
  5. ragtoplvr

    ragtoplvr Long timer

    Joined:
    Oct 18, 2007
    Oddometer:
    10,613
    Location:
    central USA
    I have had the joy of riding a few years old MV (2014?) 3 cylinder and when you consider their volume, I am really really impressed. They have to have very good and efficient engineers to keep NRE's from eating their lunch. Maybe Mr. Levatich knows how to get the truly talented engineers.

    As far as the future, in America the vulture capitalists are always circling looking for a victim to pick clean, oh excuse me, unlock shareholder value. I hope they lose one.

    Rod
    #45
  6. voltsxamps

    voltsxamps Advolturer

    Joined:
    Mar 20, 2016
    Oddometer:
    1,679
    Location:
    +positively grounded-
    [​IMG]

    The Potential of a New Partnership


    On the surface, the two companies couldn’t be more different. Harley Davidson is known for its cruisers, rolling down city streets in packs, hauling around an army of oversized men adorned in leather and blacker-than-night sunglasses. Alta Motors builds products for the younger crowd with energy drink–fueled guys and gals clad in mud-speckled glow-in-the-dark clothing designed to protect them from the inevitable attack of the elements.

    The differences stretch beyond culture and into the business realm, with significant potential to tap into the overlap in the companies to make the partnership more than just the sum of its parts. “As different as our products and market are, there are a ton of synergies.”

    Alta is exploring a broad segment of untapped market, including “everything larger than an e-bike and smaller than a passenger car,” because they feel that is the sweet spot for the technology Alta Motors has developed. It would be easy to assume that a motorcycle company would remain focused on two-wheeled products but Marc shared that Alta views the lightweight, electrified transportation segment as one with significant potential. “We have a natural tail wind in scooters and motorcycles and we want that growth to happen in electric.” Alta is open to competing with a variety of vehicles types — “that could be two wheels, that could be four wheels.”


    Looking Around the Corner

    Alta Motors is aggressively pushing into the future to define and develop products that don’t exist yet if if that means it has to, “develop a [market] segment where there isn’t one.”

    “What’s particularly exciting for me — we’ve been at this for 8 years: 2018 is proving to be a major inflection point for the electric vehicle industry as a whole. We’ve had a product on the market for long enough to prove that it’s the real deal and that the technology does what we said it can do.

    “Now we’re able to attract a partnership and the investment we need to really go broad and go global and mature as a company. … We are in the middle of that next transition where we go from a single product startup to setting our sights on being a global vehicle manufacturer that is going head to head with the big guys.” — Marc Fenigstein, Alta Motors

    https://cleantechnica.com/2018/05/1...sets-sights-on-scaling-up-for-global-markets/


    Hopefully HD’s partnership can capture younger hearts and minds in time to turn their sales around. Smart move to partner with Alta - I’m willing to keep an open mind to what the Harley-Alta partnership produces.
    #46
    Monkeyshines likes this.
  7. Nadia

    Nadia n00b

    Joined:
    May 22, 2018
    Oddometer:
    2
    Location:
    Islamabad
    #47
  8. Nadia

    Nadia n00b

    Joined:
    May 22, 2018
    Oddometer:
    2
    Location:
    Islamabad
    thanks of the More information of the Guide......................................................
    #48
  9. Mattbastard

    Mattbastard Lazy ass

    Joined:
    Mar 30, 2005
    Oddometer:
    4,466
    Location:
    Tampa
    I like that it's a partnership and HD didn't outright buy the company only to eventually shutter the doors because the wind changed or something.
    #49
  10. sjc1340

    sjc1340 Adventurer

    Joined:
    Oct 29, 2010
    Oddometer:
    13
    Location:
    East Tenn
    I just don't see electric being the future for vehicles. Until it can generate enough juice on its own to keep it going damn near all day. Otherwise, they are going to stay city folk vehicles.

    Hydrogen has a more realistic potential inmo. Ive got a feeling that the powers that be don't really want something that will actually be good for the consumer or environment. Just those $$$

    Meanwhile, the harley faithful won't warm to a foreign style bike design. There is nothing like the low end torque a v-twin churns out. Low rpm with power is a beautiful thing! Plus the whole valve adjusting thing. Ive got a 1981 FXS sitting here built on a 60's design and no valve adjusty!
    #50
  11. RCmoto

    RCmoto Long timer

    Joined:
    Mar 7, 2014
    Oddometer:
    2,779
    Location:
    US of F'ing A
    There is nothing like the low end torque a v-twin churns out. - except torque from 0 RPM. "like dude, have you even tried an electric vehicle yet?"
    #51
  12. sjc1340

    sjc1340 Adventurer

    Joined:
    Oct 29, 2010
    Oddometer:
    13
    Location:
    East Tenn
    I have not. The lack of endurance is useless to me.
    #52
  13. ctromley

    ctromley Long timer

    Joined:
    Oct 18, 2012
    Oddometer:
    1,022
    Location:
    PA
    Give it a few years. The battery scientists are just getting warmed up, and there are already some tasty advances in the pipeline. Bigger range and faster charging are coming.
    This is getting off-topic, but I have to agree that some powers that be would peddle any lame concept if there were $$$ to be made. But I disagree about hydrogen, which looks more like one of those concepts the deeper you dig into it.

    Last I heard something very new needs to be invented in the field of membrane technology before hydrogen fuel cell vehicles (HFCVs) will become anything remotely resembling affordable. And then there is the very sticky matter of how you get your H2. Whether by electrolysis or reforming natural gas (the two most practical methods), the energy it takes to make hydrogen is put to much more economical use by just filling a battery to power an EV. And reforming from natural gas gets us back to fossil fuels again, which negates a large part of the whole reason for EVs in the first place.

    Have you noticed that Toyota and Honda have been pretty soft on promoting EVs and favoring HFCVs? That's because they have run the numbers and realize there are bigger profits in HFCVs. Why? Because HFCVs are much more complex, which drives up vehicle costs. Bigger revenues at the same margins equals bigger profits. Not to mention that HFCVs require much more maintenance than EVs (it's that complexity thing), meaning even more profits and fewer issues with dealers who would otherwise see their service business decline. What's best for the consumer doesn't even enter into it. It really is all about the $$$.
    #53
  14. sjc1340

    sjc1340 Adventurer

    Joined:
    Oct 29, 2010
    Oddometer:
    13
    Location:
    East Tenn
    I haven't really examined the concept or technogies in play lately.

    I'm sure one day, something viable will come to fruition. However in the U.S. And probably all of the west, fossil fuels have been politicized to the point of being should I say, believe that it's not a problem at all. As I've become a skeptic these last 10 years.

    I don't mean to be off topic, I would love to see a product that's best for us and the environment.

    I just don't see me charging the bike at a remote camp spot. Ever :)

    The hydrogen concept Inmo is being held back due to the fact that consumers could use water if the right process is achieved.

    I'm rooting for Harley as they have been able to stay alive al these years. Although it's not because they are cutting edge, probably because they aren't.
    #54
    Treadless likes this.
  15. ultrarnr

    ultrarnr Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Jul 25, 2010
    Oddometer:
    189
    I fully get sjc1340's comment on nothing better than low end torque. I have a KTM 1290 SA that has plenty of it. But I also have a Energica Eva 107 and with 148 lb ft of torque it pulls a lot harder than my KTM does. I realize the range and charging issues of electric don't fit everyone's style of riding. But there is no gas engine that can match the way an electric motor delivers power and that is the real appeal of electric motorcycles. I am lucky enough to have more than one bike so when range and or charging times are no issue I take the Energica out. If they are I take the KTM. Both amazing machines for what they can do. Too many times people get wrapped up into how green or environmentally friendly electric vehicles are and while I think that is what still sells electric cars at this point it isn't what sells electric motorcycles.
    #55
  16. longslowdistance

    longslowdistance Long timer Supporter

    Joined:
    Oct 12, 2010
    Oddometer:
    1,643
    Location:
    Virginia
    Good post.
    Like you I ride an electric and an ICE (Zero and Triumph Tiger in my case) and like them both. The Zero is a ton of fun.
    #56
  17. apriliarst

    apriliarst Adventurer

    Joined:
    Sep 25, 2013
    Oddometer:
    68
    I have a Chevy volt, I didn't buy it because of the green factor, I bought it because it saves me money. With discounts and tax breaks it cost me 17800.00. I should never have to do another brake job, engine oil changes are 10,000 miles and with electric here at 4.5 cent a kW it costs me 50 cents to fill. 90 per cent of our driving is 50 miles or less and other than two trips to see our daughter down south we hardly ever use the gas engine?
    I have been looking at the zero Ds but range is an issue, I have a s10 and klr, I have done 250 miles and then remote camping on the klr (which the Ds would replace) there in lies the problem. I do love electric motors and if they can get me to over 300 miles on a charge I would buy one. That time is coming, hopefully soon.
    #57
  18. CBRider

    CBRider Between a rock and a weird place.

    Joined:
    Feb 3, 2011
    Oddometer:
    423
    Location:
    Central Texas
    You state that your Chevy Volt saves you money, and then you admit that it saves you money because of discounts and a tax subsidy. That’s not saving money, it’s transferring your cost to others in society.
    #58
    Hack'dTiger likes this.
  19. TheProphet

    TheProphet Retired; Living the Dream

    Joined:
    Mar 7, 2014
    Oddometer:
    10,102
    Location:
    NW Illinois, Driftless Zone

    Thats not true. SOME may have played down the importance of the Buell, but Many gladly sold them to actual, serious Customers. That "disdain"idea is one of those tribal myths grown on the good ol' Internet. Over the years they have grown and grown with each anecdotal telling of the tale, even though Buell's three failures never made the story tellers think about that BS for a moment.

    Don't forget: Great products sell themselves. The mythical stories about a person going into a Harley dealership, cash in hand, to buy a Buell - then allegedly receiving poor service and walking away are pure, absolute BS. It may have happened maybe once, but the stories that further embellish it are tired, old 'Internet' fairy tales. Enjoyable for fun reading, but certainly not to be taken seriously.

    Think about it: If a person REALLY wanted a certain bike - they'd figure out a way to buy it. If you really want something, you figure out a way to get it, if you really do NOT want something, you figure out an excuse for not getting it. A salesman working on commission meets a person who inquires about purchasing a bike - and mistreats him for no reason, and receives less pay at the end of the week. Yeah, right. Don't believe such crap, they are made up Internet stories. Why didn't people buy Buells, the second time around, or the third time, or the... Were those same disrespectful Salesmen that made the potential Buyer whine involved? Or was it something else?

    Don't believe and repeat everything you hear... think about it for a moment.

    FWIW, someone on this Forum just recently tried to weave the same tale around Sportsters, and he got trampled and ridiculed. Point being; Folks make up tales all the time on the Internet. Sometimes they stick and grow, sometimes they get nipped in the bud. It's a wacky world in cyber space. :lol3
    #59
  20. ctromley

    ctromley Long timer

    Joined:
    Oct 18, 2012
    Oddometer:
    1,022
    Location:
    PA
    OK, I thought about it.

    Of all the Buell riders I're read here on ADV, not one had any major complaints about their bikes (except the Blast, which hardly qualifies). Smaller gripes, sure, just like with any other bike, bikes from brands that are all still in production. I've read several first-person accounts here of people getting thoroughly disgusted with the dealer experience regarding buying, servicing or both. I call BS on your call of BS.

    Let's review: The bikes are fine. The owners are/were happy with them. (Some still absolutely cherish them.) At least some people didn't like the way the dealers handled Buells. And now Buell is gone.

    And let's add this to the mix: It was widely reported that the Buell line caused some major - and contentious - philosophical navel-gazing within Harley management about what kind of bikes Harley should be selling. Right or wrong, there were factions involved. One of them won, the other lost. Hopefully this time around everybody will be on the same bus. I doubt that everyone will want to be, but maybe the steady decline in sales will be a unifying influence.

    And this: There was nothing at all wrong with the V-Rod. I haven't heard of any stories of dealers dissing them. Yet they sat. Even before the Triumph Rocket III, new V-Max and Ducati Diavel came out and defined the power cruiser class. So finally the V-Rod was axed. Could it be that Harley has been so successful at branding that potential customers, with all their diverse desires, aren't willing to consider a Harley that deviates from the definition of a Harley that Harley created? How are the Streets selling?

    Buell, V-Rod, Streets (on which the jury is still out). At least those were all arguably normal motorcycles. And now Harley is considering selling an electrical motorcycle, which might as well be alien technology from another galaxy as far as the Harley brand is concerned? Sorry, but I'm just not seeing it.

    Harley's rise from the ashes is quite literally the textbook example of how successful branding is done. It was described in business textbooks for many years. I think what we're seeing now is that you can be too successful. Methinks the business textbooks will be revisiting the Harley story as a cautionary tale.
    #60
    mndwgz and Hack'dTiger like this.