Harley unveils its first electric motorcycle
LANGLEY -- Harley Davidson unveiled its new electric motorcycle Saturday. The company is hoping to expand its clientele by attracting riders that want to shrink their carbon footprint.
The motorcycle manufacturer has been in business for more than a century and in that time has established a steady customer base. Now, the company wants to reach new riders with the livewire, its first electric motorcycle.
“EV is where the customers are headed,” said Brian Barnes, CEO of Barnes Harley Davidson in Langley.
The new bike doesn’t look like a classic Harley or sound like one, but that's the point.
“It’s definitely different and unique from our traditional design, but it is positioned that way in the market as an electric bike. It is not what we are traditionally selling,” said Barnes.
The company saw an opportunity to cash in by catering to customers who are conscious about the environment.
“We are looking at this product to bring us into a different clientele that we don’t reach today,” said Chris Norden, marketing manager for Harley Davidson Canada.
Scott Saulter is one biker who has been waiting for the electric bike.
“I’ve been watching this for as long as they have been talking about it,” said Saulter.
He says the fact that it produces zero emissions is the main reason.
“It’s for mother earth, isn’t it? You know, the environment, after all, is what we all have to consider and I think this is going in the right direction for that,” he said.
Christie Stephenson, Executive Director of Peter P. Dhillon Centre for Business Ethics at UBC says businesses are shifting their models to meet consumer expectations.
“Clearly, (there are) shifting demographics and that is also accompanied by a shift in values and younger consumers interested in really understanding what businesses stand for and how they are operating, expecting sustainability and responsibility,” said Stephenson.
It’s a shift Stephenson says is increasingly necessary for today’s market.
“We are seeing very loud voices, particularly in the investor community, letting businesses know they need to be sustainable and responsible if they want to prosper and survive,” said Stephenson.
As for the future of Harley electric motorcycles, the company says the livewire is just the beginning.
“We’re expecting other models in future years to come out and to be more budget-conscious,” said Barnes.