So far, Harley Davidson has stood for the rattling sound of its internal combustion engines. With the new electric brand, the traditional manufacturer wants to underpin its claim to leadership in the field of electric two-wheelers.

Without exhaust: Electric Harley model

Dhe future of the American motorcycle manufacturer Harley Davidson may break with the company’s history, but pithy advertising slogans will probably continue to exist. This is shown by the slogan with which a German Harley-Davidson dealer advertises the first electric motorcycle from the traditional American company on the Internet. “The loudest thing you will hear is your heart racing,” says a website about the LiveWire electric model. A galloping heart instead of a roaring exhaust – that falls under the category of making a virtue out of necessity.

Not only dealers are preparing for Harley Davidson to sell more electric motorcycles in the future. The company itself is now taking the next step on this path and is founding an independent brand for electric motorcycles, which is called, like the first Harley model without a combustion engine: LiveWire, which can be translated from English as “bundle of energy”. As Harley Davidson announced on Monday evening, the new brand should underpin Harley Davidson’s claim to leadership in the field of electric two-wheelers. “We are seizing the opportunity to lead and define the market”, the German Harley boss Jochen Zeitz was quoted in a statement.

Harley should also benefit from new technology

At the same time, it is planned to incorporate innovations and technical developments from LiveWire into future electric motorcycles from the parent company. As far as the distribution of the new brand is concerned, Harley relies on the one hand on the established dealer network. On the other hand, own exhibition rooms are also to be created, the first of them in the American state of California, whose citizens are considered to be particularly receptive to electric mobility. The first motorcycle of the independent brand is said to be presented at the beginning of July.

In February, Harley Davidson announced that it would set up an independent unit for electric motorcycles. Meanwhile, the plans that have now been presented did not go down well with investors. The price of the Harley-Davidson share lost a good 3 percent to around 48 dollars at the close of trading on Monday. The motorcycle manufacturer started producing its first e-motorcycle around two years ago together with the Japanese electronics group Panasonic. The entry-level version of LiveWire costs around 33,000 euros in Germany, making it around twice as expensive as other models from the brand. How many Livewire machines Harley has sold so far, the company does not disclose. But there shouldn’t be too many.

Manageable market

Compared to the market for e-cars, the market for electric motorcycles is still in its infancy. There is no official information on how many electric motorcycles are on the road in Germany. As of January 1, 2020, according to the Federal Motor Transport Authority, the number of two-wheeled vehicles in Germany was around 4.4 million. Only around 20,000 motorcycles, or 0.4 percent of them, belonged to the “unknown” displacement category, which also includes motorcycles with electric drives. The Federal Office is expected to publish details of the inventory at the beginning of this year in August.