Electric Project LiveWire - Harley-Davidson and Alta Motors

(Update: We’ve received some clarification from Harley-Davidson: the product of Project LiveWire is on track for 2019, but the arrangement with Alta Motors is for new electric models beyond the LiveWire. This story has been updated to reflect this information.)

Harley-Davidson announced it is working with Alta Motors to develop and design new electric motorcycles. Harley has made an equity investment into the California-based maker of the Redshift electric motorcycles, and the two companies will collaborate on future electric Harley-Davidson models. Terms of the deal were not released.

Based on trademark filings Motorcycle.com was first to report on last month, we expected Harley-Davidson will used the name H-D Revelation to refer to an electric powertrain; it’s likely this will be used to brand the Project LiveWire powertrain, but it’s not clear if the brand will be shared with the fruits of the collaboration with Alta.

“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,” says Matt Levatich, president and chief executive officer of Harley-Davidson. “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.”

When Harley-Davidson first announced Project LiveWire in 2014, it offered few details about its powertrain. The LiveWire prototype claimed 75 hp and 52 lb-ft. of torque and a 0-60 mph time of less than four seconds. Alta’s Redshift models claim just 42 hp but a significantly higher peak torque output of 120 lb-ft. The big question is range. The LiveWire prototype had a claimed range of 53 miles, while lead engineer Jeff Richlen said a minimum range of 100 miles would be necessary to be a viable option for consumers.

The collaboration with Harley-Davidson is huge news for Alta, a relatively young company that’s working to establish itself in the motorcycle industry.

“Riders are just beginning to understand the combined benefits of EV today, and our technology continues to progress,” says Marc Fenigstein, Alta Motors chief product officer and co-founder. “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.”

For Harley-Davidson, the arrangement immediately gives them a boost in EV technology. It also brings them closer to rival Polaris which had gained an advantage when it acquired Brammo‘s electric motorcycle technology.

“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,” says 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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