Harley is entering the electric foray in 2019 with the H-D Revelation! What the heck is going on? After 100 years of crude oil ruling our lives, why would we even want to go “silent”, especially on a Harley?
So what is the importance of the e-Harley to the Motor Company? The 2014 LiveWire is old technology by any standard except style. Remember the Rushmores were MY14 and replaced by the MY17 Milwaukee-Eights. The new Revelation will have ten years newer technology over the LiveWire and will have Atlta Motors racing experience.
Heck, the MX motocross world is afraid of the electric bikes beating up on the public loving noisy dirt bike racers. And with the advancement in motorcycle batteries and cost reductions, the electric motorcycle may one day rule the urban commute as the last remaining one person means of transport.
Young people will literally jump on them and ride to work, across town and hit the dirt on the weekend.
One thing that is almost certain, Harley believes that electric bikes will be a part of its future and the growth of motorcycling in general.
I’m a petrolhead like all HD readers so let me stick to what I believe is going to be happening in the next year. The Motor Company starts its official 115th Anniversary Celebration in Prague, the Czech Republic in July and ends in late August in Milwaukee.
In between those two celebrations on 21 August is the Harley-Davidson Summer Dealer Meeting in San Diego, California. There we will see the release of the Millennium-targeted midsize Harley. This Sportster replacement will be the key to ending the ‘depression’ in sales in the home market. It may also kickstart all Harley sales worldwide.
The number one thing the Motor Company has to do is stay profitable for the stock holders and you and me the riders. Otherwise they go broke and nobody wins.
Again, the key will be the new midsize Harley and then the Revelation to capture the first-time motorcycle buyer.
What worries me in electrics is that there are so many manufacturers getting into the electric business. Only the best few will survive. First and foremost Harley better know what its customers want or think they need.
One person I follow is Matt Laidlaw at www.laidlawsharley.com. He and his family have been in the business a long time and they have seen the ups and downs, and more importantly, have stayed successful.
He has a Youtube channel with great reviews and opinions. His Top 3 Reasons why Harley-Davidson and the Motorcycle Industry are declining in sales is food for thought. Watch it at http://tiny.cc/x3i2ty and see what you think!
Like Laidlaw said, people now have changing priorities, aversion to risks, and only so much money.
Yeah, everyone still wants a Harley but just like it always has been, you gotta put food on the table and a roof over the family’s head. Harley makes the greatest bikes but can they make the numbers they need to sell profitably?
How does Harley do that? First with its e-Harley will be scale, cost cutting and assembling them somewhere in the world like Thailand.
Second, Harley took equity in Alta Motors in San Francisco to replace the designers of LiveWire. Unless Alta Motors steps out of its comfort zone, I think its e-Harley will be a fun bike that is not in direct competition with the Street 500 and above. Truly an affordable entry level road bike. Think of the money they will make with just the sales of the MotorClothes!
Third, what is the competition? The leader of the pack is Zero Motorcycles in terms of sales, products and longevity. But remember Polaris had the race winning Victory Empulse TTs. Polaris must still have something up its sleeve for Indian and the three-wheeler Slingshot. And then there is the pricy European “NICO Rosberg” Energica Ego. The Lightning lS-218 is named after its world record 218 mph speed and is a sleeper waiting for a takeover buyout. If your are filthy rich there is the Curtis Zeus which just won the “Most Innovative Motorcycle Award” at The Quail Motorcycle Gathering in Carmel, California. On the other end of the spectrum is the Vespa Electtrica. You can’t dismiss the BMW E-LisaBad, Yamaha PES2, Honda Riding Assist-e, and KTM Freeride. If those are too big for you then try the fastest electric push bike in the world, the SWIND EB-01. The Brutus V9 looks like a bat-winged tourer at about the price of a CVO.
The Big Picture
All the automotive and motorcycle companies are gearing up to go electric. The automotive trend is towards SUVs. I wonder if Tesla can hold on to its market share with the likes of the Audi e-tron, the Jaguar I-PACE and the BMW iX3, et al. Even Tesla, Bentley and Porsche are going SUV.
Now I’m not the sharpest tool in the shed but I have to wonder why is it that the greenies want us to convert everything we know and love to electric? First and foremost, electricity isn’t all that cheap when you “dig it up” to burn and produce the juice and green house gasses. Really!
Nor is it all that environmentally friendly when you realise electricity is generated by mostly non-renewable coal and oil; not wind and water. Things with wheels running on cheap petrol and diesel only produce a fraction of all of Australia’s greenhouse gases. Electricity generation emits 54 per cent!
Here’s my worry: the greatest advantage of electricity versus petrol now appears to be its lower cost per kilometre driven. But what happens to electricity costs when the “swamp” legislates petrol out of the market and the private electrical companies have no competition?
Anyone remember when Australian gas, electricity and water were relatively cheap and owned by government?
At the end of the day the winner will be the manufacturer which gets the economics, tariffs, trade unions and politics all sorted out first.
For me I would just like an inexpensive urban mauler with a couple hundred kilometres range. One that looks and sounds like the LiveWire. Seems too simple.
Otherwise, I’m sure the new Sportster replacement will fit the bill. Bring on the “100 new Harleys in 10 years” not with only a black paint job but with leading edge design and technology.