• Harley-Davidson ties the knot with Alta Motors to develop next-gen EVs’

An equity investment sharing ideologies and infrastructure

A few motorcycle manufacturers these days are scrambling to set up new technology and are pushing their R&D department to come up with innovative solutions to develop electric motorcycles. Others are partnering with smaller start-up companies who already have all the infrastructure ready for electric production, and the newest combination of this is Harley Davidson and Alta Motors.

The Brisbane, California based Alta Motors designs and manufactures the most advanced electric motorcycles in the industry. Starting in 2010, the firm has come a long way in establishing itself building bikes that prove to be better off-roaders than the petrol-powered counterparts. Their recent adventure is the brand new motorcycle called the Redshift MXR.

Harley-Davidson's Projet LiveWire to hit production in 18 months Exterior
- image 763991

Yesterday, Harley—Davidson announced that it made an equity investment in California-based Alta Motors where both the companies will benefit from sharing ideologies and infrastructure to work co-dependently to develop the next generation of electric vehicles. For the immediate future, they will develop two new electric motorcycles branded under the Harley-Davidson name.

With this partnership going, Harley will now access Alta Motor’s cutting-edge electric vehicle technology to help them guide the onset of the electric drivetrain. For Alta, they get benefitted from the huge investments to propel new R&D and build a better dealer-supplier network, not to forget, purchasing power.

Alta Motors dropped a powerful new Redshift MXR Exterior
- image 764245

This news comes right after the Bar & Shield brand filed ‘Harley-Davidson Revelation’ trademark for its newfound electric tech that includes batteries, chargers, and motorcycle powertrains. And if you have been keeping up to date with its progress, you might find it as blasphemous as it was for me that Harley took so long for it to enter the production phase.

Luckily, the Milwaukee firm is steaming ahead with the Project LiveWire and will soon hit to production. If everything goes right, the electric bike will hit the market as soon as 18 months from now. Knowing the development times of such new technology and products, there is a Harley Davidson Electric production model undergoing its final stages of testing and homologation on a proving ground as we speak.

Alta Motors dropped a powerful new Redshift MXR Exterior
- image 764236
Maintenance free design
no air filters, oil changes, or top end rebuilds

And with the tech prowess of Alta backing this development, both Harley and Alta will look at enticing the new wave of customers that have so far been kind of impervious to the traditional style of motorcycling. The electric way will cover a wide range of customer bases since it can be optimized with a variety of optional power packs and accessory sets that can make the bike either affordable or even high-end.

This will, however, ruffle the feathers of loyalists, but all of this is in a bid to attract a whole new generation of customers that believe in making a difference to the environment. Many other major manufacturers have gone through the same strategy to rope in new riders.

Harley-Davidson's Projet LiveWire to hit production in 18 months Exterior
- image 763989

Indian Motorcycles are also making headways. Thanks to the recently acquired Brammo electric motorcycles by its parent company Polaris, Indian will make use of the R&D from this electric mobility company just like Victory Motorcycles did with its Victory Empulse TT motorcycle. Indian will basically start off from where Victory left after Polaris axed the latter.

Then there is Curtiss partnering with Zero Motorcycles to develop high powered electric motorcycles, starting from the Hercules cruiser that is set to launch on 5th May 2018. It will feature a twin-motor arrangement and a modular built chassis that will streamline production costs.

Alta Motors dropped a powerful new Redshift MXR Exterior
- image 764240
Power: 50 hp. Torque: 147 lb-ft

So far, the history of EVs’ has not been a fairy-tale story. But with that vast amount of experience, skill and financial resources, this could as well be one of the finest electric two-wheelers we will get to see in the coming decade. Of course, the competition is spewing up by the day, but Harley has the heritage to back it up.

Sagar Patil
Sagar Patil
Motorcycle industry expert since 1997! - sagar@topspeed.com
Over the years, a deeper conscience of machines moving body and soul has given him a crisp grasp over the concepts of motorcycling. A sucker for details and common sense, he loves getting his hands dirty every once in a while. His love affair with motorcycles ushers in the specialist skillset making Sagar our go-to expert for everything on two-wheels.  Read full bio
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