US bike manufacturer Harley-Davidson has announced that it will manufacture electric motorcycle and bring them to market by mid-2019.
“It’s an active project we’re preparing to bring to market within 18 months,” Matt Levatich, the president and chief executive officer of Harley-Davidson, was quoted as saying to Bloomberg. Yet to be named new model of motorcycle, will carry a roughly 50-mile range and be able to go from 0 to 60 miles per hour in 4 seconds.
The Milwaukee-headquartered motorcycle manufacturer will spend $25 million to $50 million per year on electric motorcycle technology. The company, known for its loud and unconventional products, aims to be the world leader in the electric motorcycle market.
The move came along with the announcement of closing down of Harley’s Kansas City factory. In the fourth quarter, Harley sales fell 11 per cent in the US and 9.6 per cent worldwide following a slump in demand.
In India, the company focuses on reinventing their products for enthusiasts and aspiring riders. At present, Harley-Davidson sells 14 models through 27 dealerships in India. In Oct 2017, Harley-Davidson launched the 2018 Softail range of motorcycles in India with prices ranging between Rs 11.99 lakh and Rs 18.99 lakh.
The company appointed Peter MacKenzie as managing director of its India operations in August last year. It plans to further expand dealership network in the country.
Meanwhile, the Indian government is also pushing to encourage the use of green fuel ethanol, which can be easily produced from wheat straw, rice straw, bamboo and other produce, in vehicles to curb pollution.
Besides, the government has subsidised e-vehicles for manufacturers and buyers. EVs are also exempt from road taxes.
Last week, Union Minister Nitin Gadkari also talked about the entry of two major bike makers with electric and flex engine motorcycles in the Indian markets. Though he did not name the companies.
Globally, electric vehicle market is fast catching up in countries like US and China. In 2016, 336,000 electric vehicles were sold in China and 160,000 in the US, according to the International Energy Agency. In India, around 23,000 electric two-wheelers were sold in the last fiscal year according to the Society of Manufacturer of Electric Vehicles (SMEV).
The government wants six million EVs on Indian roads by 2020.
In India, alongside TVS Motors, electric two-wheeler maker Okinawa Autotech, which in December launched its second electric scooter Praise, also is planning to introduce an electric bike in a few months. Its first electric scooter Pride was launched in January 2017.
The firm plans to sell 5,000 electric scooters in 2017-18.
Whereas Hero Electric India claims to have sold 15,000 units in the first six months of the last fiscal. South Korean automaker Hyundai has also announced to launch its first electric vehicle for the Indian market next year.