Has Harley already Lost?

The joy of not having paid attention over the last year that nothing has been going on, is that now that I have waited a year there are enough things to peak my interest. Namely, a LOT of journalists and “journalists” have been talking about how Polaris’ buy out of Brammo’s electric motorcycle production was to get a one up on Harley-Davidson. Sure, I’ll take your word for it Mr. Journalist. But it always bothers me a bit when people say this because Polaris bought something like 3 electric vehicle companies the same time they tried to buy Brammo the first time, and only walked away with 20%. So I always saw it as H-D not trying to get left behind. But now Mission Motors is belly up. But I can’t keep track of if its Mission Motors Motorcycles. Or Mission Motors, or both. Either way, the people who allegedly designed and built the drivetrain’s for H-D’s Live Wire project are gone. Poof! And there’s the H-D fans. Not sure how many changed their tune, but it seemed the forums were ablaze for a moment. A quick visit to the Victory forums and I saw nothing but nice and reasonable people. The new Empulse TT may or may not be their thing, but they seem to feel that’s OK. But with no one to build the drivetrain I assume H-D worked hard on having developed, and a customer base that was luke warm at best (by my limited observations), it’s no wonder they told people it probably won’t be until 2020. Or maybe it was H-D’s decision to hold off that put Mission Motors under. Either way I have to wonder if was due less to public interest, and more to having to find a new partner they can trust and start the design process all over again. What American Company can they get to do that? Definitely not Brammo. Zero? My reaction is “meh”. Lightning? Hehe, ahh I don’t think so, but stranger things have happened. The only ones who might be able to pull something like that off, other than all these companies, would be MotoCzysz. But they turned their lights off a while time ago. Will people buy electric Harley’s with foreign drivetrains? Only time will tell.

But in the meantime, it seems to me Polaris has already won, and handily. But this then begs the question: Will Polaris sit on their laurels having seemingly dominated H-D in the segment before the fight began, and perceiving Zero as a threat either, and just let the Empulse TT ride for the next few years? Similar to the 2002 Honda VFR when they removed the gear driven cams and no one liked the bike anymore? They just keep the model basically unchanged until it finally pays off the tooling cost. Or, well, that’s what it felt like any way. Are Empulse fans in for the same?

2 thoughts on “Has Harley already Lost?

    1. Well, first let me warn you of the risks of taking this blog seriously. Remember that “this is your brain in drugs” commercial? It’s like that. šŸ˜

      But in response to your question, I have no facts or research to back this up, but in my opinion Zero is doing so well on their own I don’t see them building drivetrains for another company, much less as one as big as H-D. Another thing is how squarely the Live Wire’s performance was aimed at the Zero’s and Brammo’s. It seemed to me H-D was looking to be a direct competitor. And finally, the Live Wire had a fancy liquid cooled systems. Zero runs air cooled systems. I don’t feel H-D would want to air cooled, after having liquid cooled.

      It’s not that i don’t think Zero couldn’t or wouldn’t sell H-D what they need, I just don’t feel they will.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s