The classic American motorcycle manufacturer has announced plans to open a research and development centre in Silicon Valley to help develop future products in their planned line-up of electric motorbikes. At the same time, the manufacturers presented a nearly serial-ready prototype of their first electric motorcycle.
The new location will be used as an extension of Harley’s existing R&D centre in Wisconsin. The main focus of the new facility will be on EVs, including batteries, performance electronics and design.
In the long term, the company also added that they were considering adding other “further advanced technologies that uniquely leverage the rich talent in the Silicon Valley and support its most comprehensive and competitive lineup of motorcycles across a broad spectrum of price points, power sources and riding styles”. The new facility is expected to create 25 new positions in the area, for which recruitment has already begun.
At the end of July, the motorcycle manufacturer released a growth plan reaching until 2022, which not only confirmed the 2019 market launch of their first electric motorcycle, the LiveWire, but also added plans for a whole family of electric bikes launching as of 2022. The first models will be smaller and mroe affordable, and Harley-Davidson includes an electric scooter, as well as an e-bike aimed at the light vehicle market.
At an event in Milwaukee, Harley-Davidson presented a new prototype version of their LiveWire, which is said to be close to the serial version. The following video shows the prototype in more detail:
In 2014, the first presentation by Harley-Davidson which included the plans to begin electrifying their products made some big waves, before Harley then did not add anything for several months. At the time, talk was of a 55 kW, 70 Nm torque vehicle with an 85 km range and a 150 km/h top speed.
The development of the new product palette will cost Harley-Davidson an estimated 150 to 180 million dollars by 2022. This corresponds to a third of the planned total investment by the brand.