You might expect the Hawg to be the last vehicle in the world to go electric – and there will surely be large numbers of the Daytona crowd who cling to gasoline until the bitter end. However, there are at least two good reasons for Harley-Davidson (NYSE: HOG) to start introducing electric models.
First, electric bikes are faster’n hell. Electrons have been beating gasoline at racing events for a few years now. Second, Harley’s sales are shrinking like a graying biker’s bar tab – this year, the company reported its fourth straight year of declining sales. Harley hopes a revamped lineup, including electric models, will attract a younger and hipper clientele.
Harley tested the market with its LiveWire prototype in 2014. Earlier this year, it teamed up with electric motorcycle maker Alta Motors, and announced that it would bring its first electric motorcycle to market in 2019.
Now Harley-Davidson has released a growth plan called More Roads to Harley-Davidson, which describes “the first in a broad, no-clutch ‘twist and go’ portfolio of electric two-wheelers designed to establish the company as the leader in the electrification of the sport.”
Harley also says it will introduce two smaller and more affordable electric motorcycles in 2021 and 2022, as well as a utility scooter, a sort of dirt bike and an electric bicycle. It has released pictures of the upcoming models, but no technical details. The company plans to spend between 150 and 180 million dollars on EV development through 2022.
“We’re going big in EV with a family of products that will range in size, power, as well as price,” said COO Michelle Kumbier. “When you look at EV you know this is a whole new customer base that we are bringing in.”
“The bold actions we are announcing today leverage Harley-Davidson’s vast capabilities and competitive firepower – our excellence in product development and manufacturing, the global appeal of the brand and of course, our great dealer network,” said CEO Matt Levatich. “Alongside our existing loyal riders, we will lead the next revolution of two-wheeled freedom to inspire future riders who have yet to even think about the thrill of riding.”