Eco Investor July 2014

Pre-Profit Securities

Harley Davidson To Launch Electric Motorcycle

Electric scooter maker Vmoto may have some future competition, future help or both from Harley-Davidson, which has developed an electric motorcycle under its Project LiveWire.

Harley-Davidson is working with consumers across the US to gain insights on rider expectations from the project and to shape Harley-Davidson's first electric motorcycle.

Although it may be some time before we see bikies on electric motorbikes, when it happens the image should do much to lift the everyday credibility of electric bikes, whether motorbikes, scooters or bicycles.

"America at its best has always been about reinvention," said Matt Levatich, president and chief operating officer of Harley-Davidson Motor Company. "And, like America, Harley-Davidson has reinvented itself many times in our history, with customers leading us every step of the way. Project LiveWire is another exciting, customer-led moment in our history."

So the company sounds serious about it.

Project LiveWire Experience will invite select customers to learn more and test ride the electric motorcycle. A cross section of riders will lead feedback, alongside non-riders who will trial the new technology through a JumpStart simulated rider experience.

A 2014 US Project LiveWire Experience tour kicked off last month with a journey along the famous Route 66, and visiting over 30 authorized Harley-Davidson dealerships. In 2015, the Project LiveWire Experience will expand to other regions.

Mark-Hans Richer, senior vice president and chief marketing officer, said "Project LiveWire is more like the first electric guitar – not an electric car. It's an expression of individuality and iconic style that just happens to be electric. Project LiveWire is a bold statement for us as a company and a brand."

The company says the exciting new motorcycle will blend Harley-Davidson's styling with the latest technology and offer a dynamic riding experience with instantaneous acceleration and an unmistakable new sound.

"The sound is a distinct part of the thrill," said Mr Richer. "Think fighter jet on an aircraft carrier. Project LiveWire's unique sound was designed to differentiate it from internal combustion and other electric motorcycles on the market."

It is interesting that emphasis is put on the sound when electric motors do not make sound, although some sound is usually needed for safety.

Although the motorcycle is currently not available for sale, the longer term retail plans will be influenced by feedback from consumers in the Project LiveWire Experience.

"We offer a no excuses riding experience in everything we do and we are led by what our customers tell us matters most," said Mr Richer. "Because electric vehicle technology is evolving rapidly, we are excited to learn more from riders through the Project LiveWire Experience to fully understand the definition of success in this market as the technology continues to evolve."

"With sustainability remaining a core strategic focus for the brand, Harley-Davidson is aiming to ensure that the freedom of the open road – and riding in the great outdoors – is retained in the future," said the company.

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