This is the year. This is the year that Harley-Davidson steps beyond decades of being stuck in the past, and instead takes a chance on leading the future.
I am of course referring to the Bar & Shield brand’s move to debut electric motorcycles – starting first with the Livewire electric cruiser.
The Harley-Davidson Livewire doesn’t exist in a vacuum, however. This is because the American motorcycle company has plans for a whole host of electric two-wheelers, which ranges from an electric bicycle, all the way up to full-sized models.
Today, we get a glimpse at the first of these additional models (along with more details on the Livewire electric cruiser), with Harley-Davidson showing us the physical forms of its electric scooter and and electric moped concepts.
The two motorcycles look very similar to the concept sketches that we saw last year, which is a good thing to our eye, as both machines look fit for the part.
September will be an historic day for the Vespa scooter brand, as next month the Piaggio Group plans to begin finally the production of the Vespa Elettrica electric scooter.
Taking the classic Italian “wasp” design that has warmed the hearts of many owners, the Elettrica adds an electric drive train to the mix, to ensure Vespa’s iconic status endures for many generations to come.
Initially slated to be in production by “late 2017”, it has taken Piaggio a bit longer than expected to get the Vespa Elettrica out the door. But, with production set to start in September, at least the Italians are making good on their promise to make this model a reality.
Here is some more BMW news for your Monday, as BMW Motorrad USA has confirmed that the BMW C Evolution electric scooter will finally make its way to the USA.
The news marks an important moment for electric two-wheelers, with BMW Motorrad being one of the few major motorcycle OEMs to offer an electric vehicle to consumers in the United States.
The news is good timing too, because BMW Motorrad just announced an update for the BMW C Evolution scooter, with a long-range version (100 miles on a charge) model being offered alongside the standard model, which still has a 60-mile range.
KTM seems to have a tumultuous relationship when it comes to electric vehicles. The Austrian company was the first OEM to announce an electric product, back in 2011.
Then in 2013, KTM CEO Stefan Pierer announced that the timing wasn’t right for electrics…and then promptly debuted the company’s E-Speed electric scooter, several days later.
KTM has since revamped its electric dirt bike program, showing three new Freeride E models at EICMA (MX, Enduro, and Supermoto).
So maybe then it’s without surprise that word is going around that KTM is canning its E-Speed project, ahead of its expected 2015 debut.
Debuting the KTM E-Speed at the Tokyo Motor Show, the Austrian company seemed to find a renewed interest in electric two-wheelers, which was interesting development since recently KTM CEO Stefan Pierer had dismissed the viability of electric motorcycles, and told Italian journalists that the KTM was scrapping its plans to build an electric dirt bike, the KTM Freeride E.
Taking an about-face from that statement, zie Austrians have green-lit the electric scooter for production, and say that both the KTM E-Speed and KTM Freeride E will be available in European KTM dealerships within the next two years: the Freeride E by 2014 and the E-Speed by 2015.
Not soon after KTM CEO Stefan Pierer dismissed the viability of electric motorcycles, and told Italian journalists that the Austrian company was scrapping its plans to build an electric dirt bike, the KTM Freeride E, KTM has announced the KTM E-Speed electric scooter study, with Pierer even making the bold statement that “we at KTM are completely convinced of electric mobility as a perfect complement to conventional powertrains.”
Debuting the machine at the Tokyo Motor Show, KTM has appropriately recycled the same battery and motor technologies from the Freeride E concept, and put them in the unimaginatively named E-Speed scooter. Using a liquid cooled 14.75 hp / 26.5 lbs•ft motor, KTM has opted for a larger 4.36 kWh battery pack for its metro-targeting scoot.
After teasing us with some sketches of the MINI Scooter E Concept before the Paris Motor Show, MINI has finally taken the wraps off its two-wheeled excursion. Showing a variety of flavors, MINI has tried to synthesize the unique elements of its automobile brand into scooter form with the MINI Scooter E Concept. Styling and features come straight from the cars, although they don’t share a common parts bin, while the general ethos remains: an individualistic, yet practical, form of transportation that has the urban commuter in mind.
The important part about the MINI Scooter E Concept though isn’t its fun styling or urban-hipster appeal, but instead the fact that OEM’s are coming out of their holes after weathering the recession’s storm, and getting serious about electrics and electric motorcycles. The fact that a small automobile manufacturer is considering an electric two-wheeled vehicle should send a message to the traditional motorcycle OEM’s and electric startups alike.
BMW subsidiary MINI is set to debut an electric scooter concept at the Paris Motor Show later this year in October. Dubbed the MINI E Scooter Concept, the bike will likely be shown along with MINI’s rumored electric car, or MINI E Concept, which has been testing in New York and Los Angeles. The pairing of electric cars with electric scooters is becoming the go-to strategy for the German automakers, as Mercedes-Benz is expected to unveil an electric scooter along with an all electric car at the Paris Motor Show, both under the company’s Smart brand.
Available in Japan this December, Honda has announced it’s first electric two-wheeler: the EV-neo.
An electric scooter with under 20 miles of range (30km according to Honda), the EV-neo is pitched as an urban business scooter. It takes only four hours to charge the EV-neo’s Toshiba sourced Li ion batteries with a 100 volt source (an 80% charge can be achieved within 20 minutes if a 220 volt source is used!).
While electric scooters are certainly nothing new, and not likely to be of hugest interest to hardcore riders in the United States, what’s really compelling by the EV-neo is the fact that owners will have to lease the scooter, instead of outright buying it.
Electric scooter manufacturer Vectrix is set to file for bankruptcy in 30 days, after failing to find the cash infusion they need back in April. The move to Chapter 11 doesn’t surprise too many people close the company, citing both poor business practices and customer dissatisfaction as being reasons for the manufacturer’s demise.