Harley-Davidson has announced an investment in electric motorcycle start-up Alta Motors, a move which is seen as a bid to speed up the Bar & Shield brand’s electrification effort and product development. Alta Motors, formerly known as BRD Motorcycles, is a small electric motorcycle start-up based in Silicon Valley and backed financially by Tesla co-founders Marc Tarpenning and Martin Eberhard. Alta Motors has so far been focussing on electric off-road bikes, and have a whole line-up of bikes. The investment amount is undisclosed, but Harley-Davidson has announced that the two companies will together build electric motorcycles.
“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. 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,” said Matt Levatich, President and CEO of Harley-Davidson.
And Harley-Davidson seems to be serious about the electric motorcycle space, even though the company’s electric cruiser, first showcased as the Project LiveWire concept four years ago, has yet to see production status. Nevertheless, Harley-Davidson has confirmed that its first electric cruiser will hit the market sometime in 2019. And Levatich has once again reiterated the company’s commitment to electrification made earlier this year.
“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. 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,” added Levatich.
The latest collaboration between Harley and Alta will focus on “new electric urban motorcycles,” and both companies will also continue to develop their own lines of motorcycles independently.