Some good news overnight with Harley-Davidson taking an equity investment in leading electric motorcycle innovator Alta Motors.
Alta have made some very impressive electric vehicles, including a dirtbike with quality suspension and 42 horsepower.
The real headlines of the Alta Motocross machines are not only the huge torque that electric motors are famous for, 162Nm, or 120 ft-lbs in the American scale, which incidentally is more torque than the latest Milwaukee-Eight Harleys produce, but the other part of the headline act is that the Alta RedShift MX tips the scales at 120kg!
Alta has been the most successful in bringing to market a true high-performance motorcycle option at a fairly competitive weight. It is currently available for sale in 44 dealerships across 19 American states but the $10,495 USD sticker price, $1000 more than a CRF450R Honda sells for in the US, is proving a little too steep for mainstream take-up.
Alta Motors Chief Product Officer and Co-Founder, Marc Fenigstein
“Riders are just beginning to understand the combined benefits of EV today, and our technology continues to progress,” said Alta Motors Chief Product Officer and Co-Founder, Marc Fenigstein. “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.”
We rode Harley’s prototype Livewire machine a few years ago in Malaysia and came away quite impressed.
Harley technicians on the day had put the machines in a moderate power mode, but I was clandestine enough to work out how to drill down in the menu system and access the full power. The thing shot off the line like a scalded cat and pulled hard, certainly harder than any petrol powered Harley available at that time.
And you know what, it sounded good… Seriously, Harley had engineered the gears in the drivetrain to be almost straight-cut, and the Livewire howled like an aftermarket gear-driven timing chain on an old-school muscle car.
The muscle car connection did not stop there, with the eletric motor designed with styling cues reminiscent of a Rootes style supercharger.
The Livewire prototype we rode had a single disc front end, and no rear shock linkage, two things that we would both like to see changed in the production version when it comes to market in 2019.
Harley-Davidson President and CEO Matt Levatich
“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,” said Harley-Davidson President and CEO Matt Levatich. “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.”
“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,” said Levatich. “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.”
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