Harley-Davidson Opens R&D Facility in Silicon Valley to Support EV Bike Line

Harley-Davidson Opens R&D Facility in Silicon Valley to Support EV Bike Line

The Harley-Davidson Livewire electric prototype, due to market in 2019.

The corporate nexus of freedom and American ingenuity is putting down roots in the Santa Clara Valley.

Last month, we covered Harley-Davidson’s bold foray into EVs, including their LiveWire electric bike, due for sale in 2019. The company’s new R&D facility in Northern California – set to open this year – will support their new EV product line.

“Recently we shared with the world our accelerated plans to build the next generation of Harley-Davidson riders globally,” said Matt Levatich, President and CEO of Harley-Davidson, Inc. “This new R&D facility in the heart of Silicon Valley will help us deliver on those plans and demonstrate our commitment to lead the electrification of the sport.”

It’s worth emphasizing the CEO’s note about building the next generation of riders. This could mean redefining Harley-Davidson, whose earnings dipped 8.5% last year. Traditional gas-powered Harleys lost money for the 4th straight year, and the company’s road map, “More Roads to Harley-Davidson,” promises to “lead the next revolution of two-wheeled freedom to inspire future riders who have yet to even think about the thrill of riding” (emphasis mine).

Electric bikes could save Harley-Davidson, but the result might be unrecognizable.

Harley’s new Silicon Valley R&D facility will initially focus on battery, power electronics and e-machine design, development, and advanced manufacturing, with the option to expand into futuristic transport technologies.

To paraphrase the CEO, it’s definitely an exciting time in Harley’s storied history, but not for the carefully-vetted PR bravado. One of the pillars of American industry is undergoing a painful transition, and if it does survive, it could emerge a completely different company.

Read more here: https://www.harley-davidson.com/us/en/about-us/hd-news/2018/harley-davidson-creates-new-advanced-technology-r-and-d-facility-in-silicon-valley.html