Today we have giant companies Like Tesla, Honda and BMW, investing in research for creating advanced electric cars. But when it comes to electric bikes, the market is limited with just a few options of low powered electric bikes or scooters which surely does not appeal to motorcycle lovers. However, this perception of electric bikes seems to change, as the king of motorcycle, Harley Davidson has announced their project LiveWire to roll out first ever electric bike.
Harley Davidson motorcycles are known for big, noisy long distance cruising motorcycles with powerful engines. With an electronic motorcycle, the company will not compromise on sounds that Harley bikes are typically known for and will present environment friendly sleek bike with many added edge including powerful engine sound similar to the one we hear while a jet plane takes off.
The handmade demonstration model will be unveiled at an event in New York. The riders can then take the bike on the road (starting from the U.S. Route 66 and reaching out to 30 Harley-Davidson dealerships) for a test drive and share their feedback. The riders’ feedback will furnish the company with essential information to hone their technology for electric bikes. Company president Matt Levatich visualize the company as a leader in advanced technology and electric vehicles.
Harley intent to sell their bike based on performance and not based on environmental consciousness. The Harley’s new full sized electric motorcycle looks slim and sporty and is capable of reaching from 0 to 100 km/h, without a need to change gears in approx four seconds. Though its engine is relatively silent, the meshing of gears gives out sound as if a jet plane is taking off.
The shift from cruising bikes to electric bikes is being seen as a risk for the Harley, considering the fact that the company has little knowledge in the electric bike technology. Moreover, the current market for full sized electric bikes are limited. The electric bikes that are sold every year are either scooters or low powered motorcycles that generally temp only the Chinese commuters.
On the other hand, analysts say that investment initiatives by a leading manufacturer brand can help to foster demand and attract more people to electronic motorcycles with their marketing skills. Levatich further added the company is focused on the long term potential associated with electronic motorcycles, and is not bothered of the current demand. He believes that market for electric vehicles, including cars and motorcycles is going to expand. Therefore, it is hard to foresee how big or significant the market for such industries would be.
The drawback with any electric vehicle is its restricted range because of unavailability of charging station en route. The batteries required to be plugged in after every 200 kilometers and takes around 30 minutes to an hour for complete recharging. But if the market for electric bikes further expands, it could raise the demand for recharging stations and to develop set standards for quick charging.
Furthermore, Harley’s vast network of dealerships can serve as charging stations for riders. But it is still a long way for electric motorbikes to capture the market, unless it matches the comfort provided by the gas station as availability and quick refilling.
Image: The Verge