Harley-Davidson motorcycles, the beloved cruisers and choppers from Milwaukee, are about to lose their signature exhaust notes. Talks of an electric Harley-Davidson have been doing rounds for years now and we did report that Harley has promised the e-Harley will be out by 2019. Now though, the brand's seriousness for a green Harley-Davidson motorcycle is even more evident. Harley-Davidson is teaming up with a legendary e-motorcycle company, Alta Motors. HD is taking more concrete steps towards its future, becoming a stakeholder in the Brisbane, California e-motorcycle maker and going ahead with a public announcement of it.
Let's clarify to ourselves what teaming up with Alta Motors means for Harley-Davidson. For starters, Alta Motors built an electric motorcycle that mutilated the Geneva Supercross in December last year. It was the first time an electric bike competed in a Supercross championship. It was definitely not a news well received by the internal combustion engine community.
Now, Harley-Davidson motorcycles have quite represented the ICE with big loud engines with their big loud exhaust notes. The two very radically different cultures coming together may affect HD's current clientele - the leather-clad men and women who glorify the noise, or it might usher into a whole new crop of motorcyclists.
According to Harley-Davidson President and CEO Matt Levatich: “Earlier this year, as part of our 10-year strategy, we reiterated our commitment to building the next generation of Harley-Davidson riders, in part, by aggressively investing in electric vehicle (EV) technology… Alta has demonstrated innovation and expertise in EV and their objectives align closely with ours. We each have strengths and capabilities that will be mutually beneficial as we work together to develop cutting-edge electric motorcycles.”
While in our last report, we said Harley-Davidson could be the first electric motorcycle in India. However, we saw a brand new electric bike from IIT alumni - Emflux One at the 2018 Auto Expo last month. The impressive 80 hp all-electric machine is capable of 200 km/h.
Priced under Rs 6 lakh, we don't expect the Emflux One to catch on very much just yet since electric powertrains are still not very well received in the country. But if an established brand comes up with something like this, it might appeal to a new audience. The existing set of riders which is loyal to Harley-Davidson motorcycles may not be very happy about the absence of noise.