|Harley-Davidson Project LiveWire|
Four-weeks ago the Motor Company shocked the world (no pun intended) by announcing its exploratory foray into electrics. Headlines like “Hell Freezes Over Harley-Davidson Shows New Electric Motorcycle” captured the sentiment of the day. No one could have imagined the 111-year old Motor Company, creator and champion of arguably the most beloved internal combustion powered motorcycles in history, would ever build anything else. For a few Harley riders, the news was downright sacrilege. After all, an electric motorcycle could never look, feel, or sound like a “real” Harley-Davidson…right? Unfortunately, in the midst of the buzz surrounding the announcement, the real story behind Harley-Davidson’s electric motorcycle was lost.
The world we live in today is vastly different from the world we lived in 10 years ago… or even five years ago. Social norms are not the same. Right, wrong, or indifferent, even the things people deeply value have changed. To remain successful, companies and individuals must adapt. If they don’t, they face extinction. The Motor Company’s history, rich in tradition, makes their announcement even more heartening because it shows a true willingness to adapt. At the end of the day, Harley-Davidson’s continued success relies on its ability to stay true to its heritage while building a bridge to the future. Project LiveWire does just that…and therein lies the real story.
Top Speed (mph)
Quick Comparison of Current e-Motorcycle Specifications
Navigant Research - Top 10 e-Motorcycle/e-Scooter Players Today
(Photo from zeromotorcyles.com)
Fellow moto-blogger, Chris Cope, wrote that Harley-Davidson’s electric motorcycle represents a seismic shift in motorcycling. I couldn’t agree more. According to Navigant Research, the market is in the early stages of development and its key players are relatively new manufacturers with limited distribution channels. Harley-Davidson has the name recognition, capital, and worldwide distribution channels needed to electrify a market projected to grow by 30% a year (in North America and Europe) for the next decade. With LiveWire, Harley-Davidson is poised to become THE dominant player in the electric motorcycle market. Seismic shift, indeed!