Harley-Davidson Charges Up its Electric Offering

Harley-Davidson

Last year’s release of the Harley-Davidson LiveWire proved two things: the American manufacturer is serious about electric vehicles, and they’re capable of building a decent (albeit expensive) one. But even before the LiveWire’s tekkies hit the tarmac, H-D had started teasing a whole portfolio of electric two-wheeled concepts.

Now, thanks to a subtle hint on Harley-Davidson’s US website and in their latest investor docs, we have just the tiniest bit more clarity on what’s coming next. The Motor Co. have very gently revealed another electric concept; a flat track-inspired street bike geared towards urban use.

Harley-Davidson

The concept design’s presented on Harley’s website alongside the same lightweight 1970s mini bike-styled concept that they’ve been teasing for a while now. Except, if you have a keen eye, you’ll notice that that specific design has progressed and looks far more finished than before. (And in fact, some publications have reported that H-D have filed patents for it already.)

Harley-Davidson

Harley call that one their ‘low power electric concept,’ and this new flat track-style bike their ‘mid power electric concept.’ But there’s no other information about it out there, short of this blurb:

“The middleweight EV concept bridges our EV technology to our rich history of racing and the legendary XR750. As the ultimate city bike, high-performance run-about or next-gen short tracker, this is H-D’s vision of EV for the quick and competitive.”

 The new flat track concept is an evolution of this earlier design from Harley-Davidson.

Despite the subtle tease and lack of concrete info, there are a few solid takeaways here. For starters, Harley have constantly referred to the LiveWire as a halo product—the pinnacle of their electric portfolio. Labeling these two designs as lightweight and mid-weight options, give us a good look at how they envision their range panning out.

Taking that into consideration—and the fact that the lightweight concept is gradually becoming more of a reality—and it’s a fairly solid bet that this bike will make it into production. (Or, at least, something close to it.)

Photo credit: Harley-Davidson

And that’s a good thing—if Harley can find the balance between performance, range and price, there’s a sizable chunk of the market that would gel with a bike like this. Aesthetically, it’s a great hat tip to Harley’s heritage in flat track racing, with a strong neo-retro vibe. So it shows that H-D’s design department are intent on shattering the perception that they’re a cruiser brand for aging white men.

Also, the fact that Harley call it a ‘next-gen short tracker,’ has us wondering if they plan to actually race it. Flat track racing is huge in the USA, but H-D’s XG750R race bike hasn’t been able to topple Indian’s FTR750. With electric flat track races starting to pop up on the calendar, this could be a chance for Harley-Davidson to get out on track before anyone else.

Photo credit: Harley-Davidson

With very little to go on from the Bar and Shield itself, that’s all wild speculation of course. The biggest takeaway here, really, is that Harley-Davidson are experimenting with some progressive ideas, and that can only be a good thing.

Via Asphalt & Rubber: www.asphaltandrubber.com