We bring you big news this first day of March, as Harley-Davidson has announced its strategic investment in Alta Motors, which will see the two American companies co-developing two new electric motorcycle models.
As one can imagine, the news has big ramifications for both brands. For Harley-Davidson, it means having access to cutting-edge electric vehicle technology, and a technical partner that can help them navigate the coming shift to electric drivetrains.
And for Alta Motors the news is perhaps even more impactful, as Harley-Davidson brings not only a key monetary investment into the San Francisco startup, but the deal likely provides access to a variety of assets for Alta, namely purchasing power with parts supplier, access to a worldwide dealer network, and instant credibility with other future investors.
For the immediate future though, Harley-Davidson and Alta Motors foresee their collaboration including two new electric motorcycles, which will be branded under the Harley-Davidson name.
“Earlier this year, as part of our 10-year strategy, we reiterated our commitment to build the next generation of Harley-Davidson riders, in part, by aggressively investing in electric vehicle (EV) technology,” said Matt Levatich, Harley-Davidson’s President and CEO.
“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.”
With Harley-Davidson planning to release its first electric motorcycle within the next 17 months, the company intends to build the model based on the information it gathered by Project Livewire, a motorcycle that was built-to-spec by the now defunct Mission Motors crew.
One can now assume that Alta will be the driving force behind the project, helping the Bar & Shield brand realize this next goal of a robust electric motorcycle lineup.
The tipping point for Harley-Davidson’s investment in Alta is surely the electric company’s most recent news, which saw prices slashed on both its 2017 and 2018 models, which brought pricing in the range of the electric motorcycles’ gasoline-powered equivalents.
This thermic parity has caused a boost in Alta Motors’ sales with dealers, with yesterday’s press launch confirming the potency of the San Francisco company’s newest model, the Alta Motors Redshift MXR.
“Riders are just beginning to understand the combined benefits of EV today, and our technology continues to progress, said Marc Fenigstein, Alta Motors’ Chief Product Officer and Co-Founder.
“We believe electric motorcycles are the future, and that American companies have an opportunity to lead that future. It’s incredibly exciting that Harley-Davidson, synonymous with motorcycle leadership, shares that vision and we’re thrilled to collaborate with them.”
Many brands in the motorcycle industry are hoping that EVs bring in a new generation of riders that have so far been impervious to the more traditional channels and messages found within the two-wheeled realm.
In a way, Harley-Davidson views the industry’s shift to electrics as a moment in time for the Bar & Shield brand, where it can hit the reset button on its fortunes with the aging Baby Boomer demographic, and begin appealing to younger riders.
Hoping to capitalize on a younger generation’s interest in electric vehicles, Harley-Davidson’s electric motorcycle models could be a sea change for this iconic American brand, with Alta Motors providing the catalyst for that change.
By investing in Alta Motors too, Harley-Davidson is not only taking a bet on the future of this electric motorcycle upstart, but it is also hoping to benefit by getting in at the ground floor of this changing environment in the motorcycle industry.
As such, Levatich & Co. benefit two-fold from today’s news, by not only having a strategic investment in another promising brand, but also by having a turnkey electric motorcycle operation.
“We believe that EV is where global mobility is headed and holds great appeal for existing riders as well as opportunity to bring new riders into the sport,” added Levatich.
“We intend to be the world leader in the electrification of motorcycles and, at the same time, remain true to our gas and oil roots by continuing to produce a broad portfolio of motorcycles that appeal to all types of riders around the world.”
Source: Harley-Davidson & Alta Motors