Sunday, April 1, 2018

An electric Harley: Heresy or the motorcycle's salvation?

Is an electric Harley the future for millennials--and the company?
Connor Smith writes in the Philadelphia Inquirer:

...Another major pivot is the company’s continued investment in electric vehicle technology. On March 1, Harley-Davidson announced investment in Silicon Valley start-up Alta Motors, which makes lightweight electric motorcycles.​ Harley plans to spend $25 million to $50 million annually over the next several years to develop electric motorcycle technology.

Though an electric bike may seem to be the antithesis of the classic Harley road bike, Roese believes marketing and advertising can help align the new bikes with the existing brand.

“One of the ways to do it is don’t make it look super slick and clean and gleaming as though from some weird science fiction future, but rather, make it more grungy,” Roese said. “Keep it black, make it look like something a superhero from the Marvel Universe would use.”

And that’s what they did with Project LiveWire, its prototype electric bike, which Harley plans to bring to market in the next 18 months. Audiences across the world saw it in action during a scene in Avengers: Age of Ultron, when Scarlett Johansson’s Black Widow character rode one as her stunt double chased a CGI villain through the streets.

According to a 2014 study by market research company Ipsos, conducted for the Motorcycle Industry Council, 73.8 percent of millennial motorcycle owners were interested in purchasing an electric motorcycle in the future, with top factors being gas prices and the environment.

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