Harley-Davidson Is Making An Electric Motorcycle And It Will Be Available In 2019
Harley-Davidson suffered a 6.7% dip in sales in 2017, a decline of 1.6% in 2016 after down 3.9% in 2015 according to Business Insider. Harley sold 124,777 new motorcycles through the first nine months of 2017, down from 135,581 from the same period in 2016. Harley-Davidson announced they were forced to close a factory in Missouri, which kill about 800 jobs. The company also said they would have to cut about 260 jobs at another plant in Pennsylvania. But Harley-Davidson is hoping that all-electric motorcycles will help rescue their company.
Research firm Alliance Bernstein said millennials not purchasing big bikes was a key factor in slipping sales. “Our data suggests the younger Gen Y population is adopting motorcycling at a far lower rate than prior generations,” AB analyst David Beckel said. “Gen Y’s are aging into the important ‘pre-family’ cohort of riders and Boomers are increasingly handing over their keys to the smaller Gen X population.” In an attempt to court younger riders who are more environmentally conscious than previous generations, Harley-Davidson is making an electric motorcycle.
In 2014, Harley-Davidson revealed that they are working on an electric motorcycle, which they named Project LiveWire. The electric prototype has been tested thoroughly over the past few years, now Harley-Davidson Inc. announced they have an actual release date. “You’ve heard us talk about Project LiveWire,” Matt Levatich, the president and chief executive officer of Harley-Davidson, said last Tuesday during an earnings call. “It’s an active project we’re preparing to bring to market within 18 months.” That means the world will have the first all-electric Harley-Davidson in 2019.
Harley-Davidson’s all-electric motorcycle will face a huge obstacle of not having all of the typical sounds and feels associated with traditional combustion engines used by motorcycles. Do you have to make your own “VRRROOOOOMMM” noises? Actually, Project LiveWire was said to be working on an artificial sound that whined as the riders cranked the throttle. Will that be enough to satisfy typical big bike riders who love the sound of the roar of an engine?
Then there’s performance. The all-electric prototype that Harley-Davidson rolled out back in 2014 could go from 0-60 mph in an impressive four seconds. However, the prototype only had a range of 55 miles in “economy” mode. Harley-Davidson will probably have enhanced performance, but as to how much was not disclosed. “The EV motorcycle market is in its infancy today, but we believe premium Harley-Davidson electric motorcycles will help drive excitement and participation in the sport globally,” said Levatich. “As we expand our EV capabilities and commitment, we get even more excited about the role electric motorcycles will play in growing our business.” Whether electric motorcycles will usher in a new generation of Harley riders is yet to be seen.