Harley-Davidson has made a surprise investment in Alta Motors, as the two companies plan to work together to produce electric motorcycle technology and new product development
The famous motorcycle company, Harley-Davidson (HD), has announced that it has made an equity investment, for an undisclosed amount, in Alta Motors. The latter is the maker of the Redshift and has been described by HD as “a leader and innovator in lightweight electric vehicles” in its recent press release.
Harley-Davidson President and CEO Matt Levatich went into further detail on the company’s motivations, stating that “as part of our 10-year strategy, we reiterated our commitment…by aggressively investing in electric vehicle (EV) technology”. The news makes up a greater trend of well-known and established brands looking towards the electrification of products. Motorbikes have been no exception, as companies including Yamaha, BMW, and Panasonic have all revealed electric versions, bike batteries, or intentions to produce.
One of the most prolific has been Alta, which unveiled several versions of its Redshift bike last year and reportedly secured at least US$27million in a recent funding round. The California-based company has clearly made its mark in the motorcycle world and has been no stranger to letting its competitors know that. Announcing that it “leads the industry” in lightweight transportation, the company has registered several patents for battery packs, chassis technology, and specialised drivetrains. The specific direction of the collaboration between the two companies will, reportedly, ‘advance the application of EV motorcycle technology, expand the electric motorcycle marketplace, and combine instant torque and quick acceleration with design’.
Levatich added that: “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.”
In response, Alta Motors Chief Product Officer and Co-Founder, Marc Fenigstein, said “we believe electric motorcycles are the future, and that American companies have an opportunity to lead that future. It’s incredibly exciting that Harley-Davidson, synonymous with motorcycle leadership, shares that vision and we’re thrilled to collaborate with them.”
HD will certainly bring a great deal of clout, in the form of its well-established name and brand. Yet the company is also not a complete newcomer to the world of e-bikes; it announced its Livewire project in 2014, with confirmation that an electric bike will actually be available for sale in 2019. Given the most recent announcement, it’s possible that this new model may get a helping hand from Alta technology.
The tie-up is exciting for both the motorcycle and EV industries and demonstrates that even established ICE brands like HD are looking to build for a more diverse customer base – and that riders are starting to understand, and demand, “the combined benefits of EV today”, added Fenigstein.