In 2018 Harvey Davidson announced its commitment to electric vehicles, and almost a year later the company has publicly revealed the first prototypes of its electric bicycles, giving us a glimpse into its future. In contrast to Harley Davidson’s typical market, these are, in fact, bicycles with an electric pedal-assist. The description on the company website does not reveal many more details regarding pricing or when they might be on the market for purchase.
Harley Davidson’s prototype electric bicycles are svelte, sophisticated, and urban, deviating from the brand’s signature style. Instead of taking the traditional route of making ebikes look as similar to traditional bikes as possible, Harley Davidson makes it clear that the vehicles are electric machines. The bicycles can be seen as being the antithesis of Harley’s brand to their core fan base, but it is best to think of them as a reflection of a changing market.
As Harley Davidson’s fortunes and stocks have dropped, the company needed to branch out beyond its current audience. In an economy where wages have not kept up with the growth of expenses, Harley is faced with the reality that many potential customers simply couldn’t afford its product. Older riders are aging out of the market, and young people are beginning to look at cars, and especially motorcycles, as expensive luxuries.
Harley’s vision is broadening to keep up with the evolving transportation sector. Ebikes are rising in popularity, and more people are ridesharing, riding bicycles, and scooters. Since these are future concepts, it’s uncertain how the bicycles will actually fare in the market.