Harley-Davidson Invests In Electric Motorcycle Startup Alta Motors

Harley-Davidson has made an equity investment in the Silicon Valley startup Alta Motors that makes lightweight electric motorcycles, tapping into a global push toward electric vehicles and looking to offer motorcycles that appeal to younger consumers.

“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.”

Harley-Davidson has already announced the planned launch of its first electric motorcycle, informed by Project LiveWire™. That motorcycle is on track for release in 2019.

“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.”

30 Responses to “Harley-Davidson Invests In Electric Motorcycle Startup Alta Motors”

  1. 1 Zundap Mar 1st, 2018 at 10:21 am

    Nice looking bike. I wish there were more pictures and specs.

  2. 2 BOSS HAWG Mar 1st, 2018 at 10:39 am

    Can’t wait to ride one. It’ll be fun!

    Boss Hawg

  3. 3 Kevin Mar 1st, 2018 at 10:59 am

    This is interesting, but until someone can crack the price code electric motorcycles will not catch on a mass scale. Just ask Polaris, their re-badged Brammo electric bike helped sink Victory and from what I’ve heard they sold basically none of them.

    Electric bikes are super fun for commuting but you do lose the freedom of being on two wheels because you have to wait to charge. You’re basically on an electrical leash.

    Here’s hoping H-D cracks the code!

  4. 4 mkviz Mar 1st, 2018 at 11:17 am

    RIP Alta motors

    You’ll be treated like the bastard child like they treated Buell

  5. 5 SoCalPhun Mar 1st, 2018 at 11:28 am

    The real revolution for all e-vehicles will be in the next breakthrough of battery technology (solid-state batteries). Increased capacity, lower charge times, and of course being more economical (comes with time and volume)….until then, e-vehicles will simply be a niche item for certain city dwellers/commuters.

    Wouldn’t count out ICE just yet. Looking to see how the new Mazda Skyactive engine works out (gasoline engine with a compression combustion system, i.e. diesel-like) and I think Toyota is working on a super-heated gas engine that increases the efficiency level by a significant degree.

    Pretty exciting times for motorheads.

  6. 6 Woody's Mar 1st, 2018 at 11:37 am

    Way cool, and even now, electric bikes have a place in many people’s lives. How many of us here have at least 2 bikes, one of which we just use to run around town? In my factory days, I lived around 20 miles from the various places. No problem to ride a current tech. electric to & from work and charge it as I slept.
    Thanks to this acquisition, I look forward to seeing some amazing retro artwork on the new “ALTA-Since 1903” tees.

  7. 7 burnout Mar 1st, 2018 at 11:52 am

    It is cool but I agree with SoCalPhun. I have been ranting for 40 years about batteries. peace

  8. 8 highrpm Mar 1st, 2018 at 11:55 am

    rip h-d.

  9. 9 highrpm Mar 1st, 2018 at 12:04 pm

    copying someone’s comment from somewhere, still worth considering for co ost’s (objectives/ strategies/ tactics). when the baseline products need investment, why distract/ dilute company focus/ efforts?

    anytime I start considering Sportsters, I always get back to bike’s negatives .. heavy, long, slow, out-dated and low spec. If Harley wants to remain relevant to the next generations, a new Sportster would be a good starting point. The design should lend itself to easily transforming into a scrambler, a cafe, a tracker, a retro or a standard. Or a low seat cruiser for girls. Kinda like the current Sportser, but completely updated. A lightweight frame with real suspension and brakes would be a good starting point. The XR was a move in the right direction .. it just needed to go on a serious diet. 400lbs or less is the sweet spot.

  10. 10 Fzzzz Mar 1st, 2018 at 1:38 pm

    Looks pretty good for an electric bike. If the price isn’t Harley stupid I’ld buy one.

  11. 11 wheel time Mar 1st, 2018 at 3:56 pm

    Yes, an area that definitely needs to be dabbled in… some say smart, some says dumb.
    Hope it works well for you Harley!

    I do like the approach that Mazda is doing! ‘SoCalPhun’

  12. 12 X1 Mike Mar 1st, 2018 at 4:10 pm

    Calling them a startup isn’t totally accurate. Alta has been around a few years and is experiencing some success. Josh Hill has proven they can run with an ICE bike.

    Before this was even announced I had signed up with Alta to test ride one of their bikes. The Redshift MXR has 50 hp 147 ft lbs of torque and weighs 259 pounds. All 147 ft lbs are available as soon as you twist the throttle.

    For me I’ll always love an internal combustion engine first and foremost but this is an exciting development. I’ll always have room for another motorcycle in the garage.

  13. 13 Seymour Mar 1st, 2018 at 6:50 pm

    Who needs who more?

  14. 14 richards Mar 1st, 2018 at 7:12 pm

    RIP HD ??? Are you talking about the about to celebrate their 115 Anniversary…The MoCo that has 48% of ALL the market share for bikes over 600cc sold in the US? Give me a break!

  15. 15 Tom Ryan Mar 1st, 2018 at 10:56 pm

    I mentioned this a couple of times before that I’ve always thought this frame design would be a great starting point for a new Sportster model. Can anyone else see a Sporty motor in this frame style?

  16. 16 JHoffman Mar 2nd, 2018 at 2:32 am

    Maybe HD can start a electric branch called Humber Motorcycles — then they can say “Electric since 1895” like Polaris does with Indian 1901

  17. 17 CycleSavage Mar 2nd, 2018 at 4:56 am

    Battery range is the number one thing that keeps me off one. When that is solved, I think they can and will really go main stream.

  18. 18 Number6 Mar 2nd, 2018 at 10:11 am

    The problem with EV’s ; Range – LI’s inherit problems with temperature extremes ( below 35f above 78f ) and altitude ( above 4000 ft ) – Charge time – Consequences of ‘ quick charging ‘ – Weight – Complexity – Price – Li’s extreme fire hazard issues ( and the difficulty of extinguishing Li fires ) – etc – et al – ad nauseam

    All problems that have existed since the dawn of EV’s . None of which has been properly addressed . Most of which at present are unsolvable .

    e.g. A bad choice driven by the perception of desperation ignoring the very wisdom that brought hd back from the brink of extinction in the 80’s

  19. 19 Jerrman Mar 2nd, 2018 at 12:07 pm

    R.I.P. H-D sentiments might be a little premature but, when the company was selling 360M motorcycles around 2007/8 and is now predicting 245M, something is seriously wrong. With current technology an electric bike won’t even make a dent in solving this problem but, a new Sportster along the lines described by “highrpm” would be a good start.

  20. 20 dick Mar 2nd, 2018 at 4:01 pm

    Must be great at the corporate level.

    I have stupid ideas too! Wheres my BONUS?.

    At least it will be easy to recycle. Just put it in “small useless electrical devices bin along with those smoothy makers and juicers and soup machines and bread makers and slow cookers.


  21. 21 dick Mar 2nd, 2018 at 4:05 pm

    JOKING aside Tesla seem to moving ahead full steam. (Not sure that is really right)
    The TT Zero is getting (apparently) great interest. That’s Isle of man 1 lap on electric at superbike speeds.

    Did he invent the electric chair?

    What happens if you drive through a puddle?

  22. 22 NoH2oH Mar 2nd, 2018 at 7:17 pm

    Hmmmm……looks like it has some Buell DNA.

  23. 23 X1 Mike Mar 2nd, 2018 at 8:39 pm

    For those that don’t know, the bike pictured (Livewire) is old news. Harley toured the country with a fleet of those in 2016 I believe. Alta Motors is an entirely different beast. It is very far along in the development and if you search YouTube you can see some impressive stuff. As far as driving (It’s actually called riding FYI) through a puddle I’ve witnessed the Alta crossing streams.

    As far as the TT Zero, that has been happening every year since about 2010. If I remember right McGuinness set the lap record at almost 120 mph. I’m still not ready to give up pistons but those bikes are flying.

  24. 24 Woody's Mar 2nd, 2018 at 10:59 pm

    The torque you can get from a DC motor is just incredible and the tuning that can be done on controllers is infinite. I can’t imagine Harley not wanting to get a piece of that market. If they were doing nothing then people would laugh at them for that, also. Kind of a no-win.

  25. 25 J. Martino Mar 3rd, 2018 at 10:49 am

    X1 Mike. Of course it’s Livewire conceived by Harley. We know the story and Cyril told us several times. I think he even rode it. The Livewire with technology improved by Alta will probably be the first H-D EV model. Then more involvement from Alta. By I guess H-D will continue to control the bike design.

  26. 26 Jerrman Mar 3rd, 2018 at 1:34 pm

    If you have another motorcycle or two or all you do is commute short distances, then an EV motorcycle might make some sense. It will certainly have a lot of torque and go fast. But, for any distances, I wouldn’t want to be subject to the “range anxiety” that current technology hasn’t yet solved. Admittedly, the car companies seem to be making some real progress in terms of mileage (250-300+). When motorcycles get to that kind of range, they may become serious contenders. Interestingly, I did see a custom EV bike at the One Show in PDX recently that was designed to easily replace the battery whenever the charge was low. But, that would either mean carrying a spare or having an infrastructure in place where you could give them your old one in exchanged for a fully charged one. Nice idea but, it’s still a bit of science fiction. H-D has more immediate problems to solve.

  27. 27 Butch Mar 4th, 2018 at 10:11 am

    I have had an Alta MX for 16 months and 3000 miles. I like it better than my KTM250MX. And my R6 and my TM250 and my R6 and my Black Dream. They are all different beasts, but the Alta is really a pleasure to ride. Range is about 40 miles and 3 hours on single track, or about an hour hauling ass on an MX track.

  28. 28 Nick Schmidt Mar 7th, 2018 at 8:38 am

    Electric motors are pretty awesome. The smoothness of the throttle and torque on them is incredible. As mentioned above, the tuning capabilities of electric motors is almost infinite when done right. This has been evident in the new Lithium Remote Control Market. I personal race RC cars and you can do so much with the tuning on the motors that I am sure it will be even more comprehensive as the technology evolves.

  29. 29 tom Mar 10th, 2018 at 10:42 am

    I would buy one if the price is right 10 12 grand

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