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

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

  1. c_m_shooter

    c_m_shooter Ninja Warrior

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    If they can build this at a reasonable price (under20k) with a 100 mile range, and a 5 year warranty on the battery. I just found my new commuter.
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  2. Night Ryder

    Night Ryder Been here awhile

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    #82
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  3. RCmoto

    RCmoto Long timer

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    #83
  4. _mtg_

    _mtg_ Been here awhile

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    Considering it's an entirely different type of drivetrain, setting up volume production quickly is likely easier said than done.

    That being said, they have been working on it since 2014.
    #84
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  5. voltsxamps

    voltsxamps Advolturer

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    Plus it’s imperative that they get it right on launch.

    I’d rather have a later production release that’s fully baked and road tested than a model that seemed rushed. Despite the separate paths Alta & HD are taking, HD appears confident in the near finished version. Styling seems to be a win with most so far, though range & charge time (and dealer support) are other important key points that will determine the LiveWire’s success.
    #85
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  6. Monkeyshines

    Monkeyshines Long timer

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    https://motorbikewriter.com/harley-davidson-adds-silicon-valley-rd/HARLEY-DAVIDSON CREATES NEW ADVANCED TECHNOLOGY R&D FACILITY IN SILICON VALLEY.

    "This new R&D facility in the heart of Silicon Valley will help us deliver on those plans and demonstrate our commitment to lead the electrification of the sport.”

    "As part of that strategy, Harley-Davidson will launch its first electric motorcycle, LiveWire™, in 2019. That motorcycle will be the first in a broad, no-clutch “twist and go” portfolio of electric two-wheelers designed by the company. It will be followed by additional models through 2022 to broaden the portfolio with lighter, smaller and even more accessible da da da...."

    "The company has already begun recruiting top talent in electrical, mechanical and software engineering, with experience in developing and delivering a wide variety of EV systems from design through production. The facility will initially employ a staff of approximately 25, most of which the company intends to hire from within the Silicon Valley area."
    #86
  7. voltsxamps

    voltsxamps Advolturer

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    Best thing I read today: “root word in motorcycle is motor, not engine.”

    Harley will soon truly embody the words on its bar and shield.

    [​IMG]
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  8. _mtg_

    _mtg_ Been here awhile

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    The rednecks will probably f it up and call them electric engines.
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  9. ctromley

    ctromley Long timer

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    This actually smells of some naivete on Harley's part. Why go so Silicon Valley for EV system talent? For one thing, they will have to pay new hires (either local or relocated) very big dollars because the cost of living is so high. I know there's a lot of autonomous vehicle (AV) activity there, but HD is not building AVs. The EV part of AVs is actually pretty simple. The only real challenge in 'EV systems' is the controller, and perhaps to a lesser extent the motor.

    HD isn't going to build either of those. Or at least they shouldn't. I'm betting they produce none of the electronics in their current products, and there's good reason for that. Electronics are a whole 'nuther kind of manufacturing, with their own very specialized processes and equipment. Ditto for motor manufacturing, in very different ways. Much to learn, and HD is short on time. On the development side, controllers are a special challenge. When ambitious EE hobbyists would get the idea that they'd like to build their own controller, we'd try to explain that it's a bit of a black art by telling them this rule of thumb:

    Get yourself a coffee can. Every time you try a new circuit and it unexpectedly smokes the power (and sometimes logic) components, put that smoked silicon in the coffee can. Your project should be pretty close to finished when the can is full. (For non-electrical types, these components are pretty small. There is a huge amount of time, frustration, head-scratching, etc. going on before success.) The issue here is that EEs think in terms of circuit schematics. When they actually build a physical circuit they have to arrange stuff so it fits together efficiently. How you arrange things can have very minor impacts on how the circuit works. For example, if you attach your many parallel FETs to a U-shaped bus bar / heat sink, that U-shape has a tiny, inconsequential amount of inductance. That is, it's inconsequential until you put 800 amps through it. You need to take your schematic, lay it out physically, then ask yourself, "OK, how is this thing going to get weird?" It's the weird stuff that's where the magic is.

    So the only reason to not farm out your controller to Sevcon, Curtis, Eaton, or any of the many companies that already possess the magic, is to build controllers yourself in large enough volumes to save some money. HD will not be there for many years. They don't need to be in Silicon Valley to learn this stuff for when they do get there.

    As for motors, not only are significant advances in motor technology just as arcane, they're not necessary for HD to enter the EM market. Motors are a plenty mature technology. Parker has some in the right size and output, probably several others too.

    Everything else on the bike has no more challenge to it in terms of electrical, mechanical or software engineering, than the bikes they already make. Zero makes the most popular EM out there today, with very impressive performance, and they're tiny compared to HD. Because EVs are so much easier than ICE. Battery pack and BMS design requires a bit of knowledge and experience, but it's not so hard that you need to go to the Magical Land of Silicon Valley to find it. On-board chargers are even easier to source than motors. This ain't rocket science.

    I'm not seeing how this makes sense. I do see how getting a separate group together that is not burdened with the mindset of the old ways of HD could be very helpful, but it would be much more practical to put that a 20 minute drive away from headquarters. If I may speculate, based on my many years working in the corporate world, I'm thinking that maybe this is all part of HD management's plan to quell a revolt among HD investors. The sales slump had them in a panic, so management pulled out all the stops to make a big show for them that would make them happy. Seen it before. (I've literally been part of one of those shows.) It's the only explanation that makes any sense to me.

    Building a good EM is just not hard enough to justify this song and dance.
    #89
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  10. bomber60015

    bomber60015 tikkun olam Supporter

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    I agree . . . going to San Jose is a recipe for increasing your costs unnecessarily.

    HD isn't gonna, I hope, gen up an electric motor manufacturing capability, either. There are plenty of smart folks in the Milwaukee/Chicago area wrt motors and controllers . . . purchase the major components, package them into a chassis of your design, and focus on what you're best at. Integration, and marketing.
    #90
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  11. RCmoto

    RCmoto Long timer

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    Very well said, thanks for posting.
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  12. voltsxamps

    voltsxamps Advolturer

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    So instead of partnering with Alta, perhaps HD believes it can woo some EE’s away from Alta and others. Maybe in the process of parting ways, Alta said, in so many words, good luck with your efforts in motor/controller/battery development and HD is trying to save face. Whatever transpired, it’ll take more than money to get their return of investment. Passion and belief in why you do it is the driving force behind innovation, and history in R&D has taught us that. The question is how many EE’s in the Bay Area are passionate about the future HD is trying to create and is HD capable of creating something that hasn’t been done(at a lower cost) on the electrical side of things. I believe they have enough capital to lure a fair amount of talent.. just too soon to see what will drive that talent to innovate along the lines of Alta, Tesla, Mission, etc.

    Truth be told, I still want to root for HD’s success in their endeavors as they plan on releasing several electric bikes. Love em or not, they are an American icon and a brand that has a large following, and their foray into new means of propulsion would be a boon to EM adoption and LiveWire’s success would be a step towards overcoming the stigma that electrics are toys or slow, or not-for-reeeal men. So, I wish them well and who knows.. if all checks out and it’s reasonably priced, I may find myself one day, rolling on one of Harley’s first, real, motor cycles.
    #92