Making a Future Move
Harley-Davidson, purveyor of classic American two-wheel rides, is planning to introduce an electric motorcycle in the next 18 months. Amidst declining sales and an aging-out of its core customer base, the company told the Milwaukee Business Journal it is looking to the future as it closes a Kansas City, MO, plant and consolidates production in York, PA.
The new model would likely be based on the LiveWire concept that debuted in 2014. Its motor put out about 74 horsepower and 56 pounds-feet of torque, good for a 0-60 time of about four seconds. Electric motors are good at providing instant torque, without gear changes.
The LiveWire’s 50-mile range would likely be an issue. However, with today’s more advanced battery technology, a range of around 100 miles could help sell the new product to environmentally conscious motorcycle enthusiasts. An electric motorcycle would be best-suited for commuting and local travel, rather than cross-country touring. We’ll have to see if the new bike comes with DC fast-charging capability, which would make it easier to take off on longer trips.
So much of the riding experience of a motorcycle is the sound and feel of the engine, meaning the new buyer would likely not be from the traditional pool of enthusiasts. Brands such as Zero Motorcycles already offer electric two-wheelers, but H-D is large enough to make an impact in the marketplace with its established dealer network.
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