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Electric Motorcycle With One Wheel launched

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by Arun Prakash from https://www.rushlane.com

Electric Motorcycle With One Wheel – Launched By Chinese Online Sales Giant Alibaba For USD 1,850

This electric motorcycle on a single wheel from Alibaba can attain a top speed of 48 kmph.

In case motorcycles aren’t your cup of tea because they feel too safe for you then the upcoming example will surely be of interest to you. Chinese conglomerate Alibaba is known to develop some weird and out-of-the-world vehicles that run on battery. Recently, they revealed an electric motorcycle that rolls on a single wheel.

Sounds strange right when you think from the perspective of its dynamics. However, it seems to function properly without any hiccups. From the looks of it, this one-wheeled motorcycle seems a working equivalent of an electric unicycle with an un-functional equivalent of a small naked sports bike.

Features & Specifications
The body is built on a conventional Steel Trellis frame and also gets a faux fuel tank. The designer needs to be commended sheerly for his/her efforts. From a certain angle and distance, this bike also resembles a certain Ducati. However, all is not well, as things start to get tight and nervy when the rider decides to hop on board and cruise it on roads.

The first notable mention is that this thing measures only 40 kg and hence, ride stability might not be its strongest suit. However, it does provide the rider with great agility. It receives 2 kW of power which offers a top speed of 30 mph (48 km/h).

The batteries are located at a place where one would find a battery at a conventional electric motorcycle. The electric unicycle is powered by an electric motor paid with a 1.36 kWh of battery made by Panasonic.

The manufacturer claims a single-charge range of around 60-100 km. The company says it takes around 3-12 hours for its battery to get fully juiced up. These figures for a bike of this definitely look very optimistic.

Confusing Dynamics
One might wonder as to how to operate it smoothly as balancing such a thing is no small task. We suspect that like in a segway, the rider needs to lean forward or backward and the vehicle self balances.

However, the strangest aspect of this electric unicycle is that its handlebar gets a brake lever which makes us scratch our heads. If it is indeed a self-balancing vehicle and the motor always speeds up or slows down depending centre above it, then applying brakes would throw the rider towards the front.

We would certainly like to learn more about this one-wheeled bike and its mechanisms in detail. It has been priced at USD 1,850. Mass-market commercialisation is still a far-off dream for such kind of mobility. At this price, a proper electric scooter or motorcycle would be our preferred choice.

Harley-Davidson Announces First Chief Electric Vehicle Officer

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Harley-Davidson, Inc. today announces the appointment of Ryan Morrissey as Chief Electric Vehicle Officer (CEVO).

Effective April 1, Morrissey will join Harley-Davidson with over two decades of experience in disruptive technologies and the development of new business ventures. As a consultant at Bain & Company, he served most recently as a Senior Partner and head of the Automotive & Mobility practice in the Americas. In this role, he led the development of growth, adjacency and M&A strategies for OEMs, tech providers, and retailers specific to the long-range transition to electric vehicles and autonomous fleets. He has worked extensively with leading global OEMs in powersports, heavy equipment and automotive on developing digital channels, EV product strategy and software-based services. As part of Bain’s work with financial investors, he has advised many leading investment firms on acquisitions in mobility.

Morrissey began his career at Lutron Electronics, as the U.S. sales lead for their first generation of software-based control systems for energy management. He holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Mechanical Engineering from Lafayette College and an MBA from the MIT Sloan School of Management.

“Ryan has extensive experience with leading OEMs, working on building businesses to develop, commercialize and support electric vehicles. I’m excited to have him join the team to help us lead in electric,” said Jochen Zeitz, chairman, president and CEO, Harley-Davidson. “As we announced in February as part of The Hardwire, we’ll be talking more about our electric strategy later in the year.”

Harley-Davidson recently unveiled The Hardwire, its 2021-2025 strategic plan, with a dedicated focus on electric, targeting long-term profitable growth and shareholder value and aiming to enhance its position as the most desirable motorcycle brand in the world.

Car and Motorcycle Companies Now Making Electric Bikes

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Lee Iacocca with his electric bike in 1998. It had a lead-acid battery with a 15-mile range and a top speed of 15 miles an hour.

by Roy Furchgott from https://www.nytimes.com

They see branding opportunities as the pandemic and a desire by cities to curb traffic propel e-bike sales to new heights.

The transportation industry has seen the future, and the future is 1895.

That was the year Ogden Bolton Jr. of Canton, Ohio, was awarded U.S. Patent 552,271 for an “electrical bicycle.” A century and change later, electric bikes have gained new currency as car and motorcycle companies like Ducati, Harley-Davidson, Jeep, Mercedes-Benz, Porsche and Yamaha have horned into the market with their own designs.

While the pandemic has accelerated bike sales, the overriding attraction is that cities worldwide are beginning to restrict motor traffic. These companies are betting that e-bikes are the urban vehicles of tomorrow — or at least vehicles for good publicity today.

“In the past 12 to 18 months, you have seen a lot of new brands come into the market,” said Andrew Engelmann, an e-bike sales and marketing manager at Yamaha, which has been in the electric bike business since 1993 and claims sales of two million worldwide. “We in the U.S. have not seen this new energy toward cycling since Lance Armstrong won the Tour de France.”

Credit the coronavirus pandemic, which has ignited bike sales of all stripes, but none so much as e-bikes. While retail unit sales of bicycles from January to October last year were up 46 percent from a year earlier, electric bikes were up 140 percent. Measured in dollars, regular bikes were up 67 percent and e-bikes 158 percent — so don’t expect a discount. Those numbers, from the market researchers at NPD, do not include online-only retailers such as Rad Power Bikes, so sales may actually be higher still.

Ogden Bolton aside, there is a historical connection between bicycles and motorcycles. Many early motorcycles came from bicycle makers that simply clapped a motor on a bike, often retaining the pedals in the style of a moped.

The automotive industry’s bicycle connection is more recent, with the likes of Malcolm Bricklin and Lee Iacocca introducing electric bikes in the ’90s. Both flopped. Mr. Iacocca’s design, typical for the time, was hampered by a lead-acid battery with a 15-mile range and a top speed of 15 miles an hour. Many car companies, including Ford, Audi, Maserati and BMW, have gotten into and out of e-bikes since.

“No car company has had any success selling an electric bicycle,” said Don DiCostanzo, chief executive of Pedego Electric Bikes, who in 2014 licensed a bike design to Ford. “It’s fool’s gold. It can never replace the profit on a car.”

Yet car and motorcycle makers are being drawn in. “I think they are seeing a lot of the same opportunity we see,” said Ian Kenny, who leads the e-bike effort at the bicycle company Specialized. “But I think there is a very big difference between demonstrating you can do something and doing something very well at scale.”

However, changes in the way people get about, especially in Europe and Asia, are enticing motor vehicle companies that operate internationally. Overseas, in cities that manage pollution and overcrowded streets by restricting motor traffic, e-bikes often fill a gap.

“In Europe, the e-bike is more of a fundamental transportation tool,” said Dirk Sorenson, an analyst for NPD. London, Madrid, Oslo and Paris are among the growing number of cities restricting downtown traffic.

The pandemic has American cities testing similar restrictions. Boston, Minneapolis and a number of California cities have instituted Slow Streets programs, restricting motor traffic on side streets in favor of cycling and walking. It even has UPS, Amazon and DHL trying out e-cargo bikes in New York.

“There is a huge opportunity for e-bikes in the U.S., which is a huge untapped market,” said Rasheq Zarif, a mobility technology expert for the consulting firm Deloitte.

Some companies are preparing now for the possibility that “micromobility,” as the buzzword has it, will catch on here.

“Let’s imagine Harley-Davison is not a motorcycle company but a mobility company,” said Aaron Frank, brand director for Serial 1, which builds an e-bike in partnership with Harley. “There is a strong argument we can do for urban commuters what Harley-Davison did for motorcycles.”

Other companies see e-bikes as a gateway to sell their primary products. Though best known for its motorcycles, Ducati North America wants e-bikes to “potentially turn people on to Ducati,” its chief executive, Jason Chinnock, said. “And we’ve seen that with people at some events and with the media reaching out.”

E-bikes may be more expensive than bicycles, but are cheaper than cars or motorcycles. And improved motor and battery technology is bringing prices down. Low-priced e-bikes with a motor in the wheel hub — similar to that 1895 design — can be had for about $1,000. Prices for versions with more complex, geared motors at the pedals can reach more than $10,000.

“Spending $1,000 on a bike seems out there,” Mr. Kenny said, “but when you don’t look at it as a toy — when it becomes transportation — it becomes a very different conversation.”

Price isn’t the only hurdle. E-bikes confront a crippling hodgepodge of laws. Although the Consumer Product Safety Commission deemed “low speed” e-bikes (with a motor equivalent to 1 horsepower or less) a bicycle, states still decide where that bike can be ridden.

“It’s up to 50 states to define the use, and that’s been a big problem in the past,” said Claudia Wasko, general manager of Bosch eBike, a prominent manufacturer of drive systems.

The PeopleForBikes coalition drafted model state legislation to allow most e-bikes in bike lanes and parks. It suggests three classes of e-bike, with a top speed between 20 and 28 m.p.h. Twenty-eight states have adopted some version of the legislation.

Some companies may be less concerned with the future of mobility and more interested in getting some attention now.

“I think it’s a halo thing,” said Mr. DiCostanzo, whose company has produced e-bikes for Tommy Bahama, Ford and others. Halo vehicles represent a brand’s aspirations, like concept cars.

“I think that’s what it is for Ford,” he added. “They wanted it for window dressing, and that’s what they got. I think they sold 500 in the five years it ran.”

Mercedes, which is taking orders for its top-of-the-line Mercedes-AMG Petronas Formula One Team V11 e-bike at $12,000, said it was a chance to showcase its ability with high-tech materials from carbon fiber to paint.

“High-performance road bikes and e-bikes provide a great way to showcase such technologies into a range of consumer products,” said Damian Cook, a spokesman.

For some in the bicycle industry this all smacks of déjà vu. In the 1970s, a bike boom was thought to presage a new future for transportation in which cycling was central. But it failed. Though there were many contributing factors, roads weren’t made more bicycle-friendly and people didn’t want to arrive at work sweaty.

With the combination of Slow Streets programs, which address the first problem, electric bikes, which address the second, and a pandemic that has given people a chance to adjust to both, experts like Mr. Zarif find hope.

“When you give people a chance to try something, it reduces resistance to change,” he said. “As a society, the reality is we go forward — we don’t go backward.”

Piaggio, KTM, Honda and Yamaha to set up swappable batteries consortium

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from https://auto.economictimes.indiatimes.com

The consortium will define the standardised technical specifications of the swappable battery system for vehicles belonging to the L-category, mopeds, motorcycles, tricycles and quadricycles.

Piaggio Group on Monday said it has signed a letter of intent with KTM AG, Honda Motor and Yamaha Motor to set up a Swappable Batteries Consortium for motorcycles and light electric vehicles.

The consortium will define the standardised technical specifications of the swappable battery system for vehicles belonging to the L-category: mopeds, motorcycles, tricycles and quadricycles.

The companies will be working closely with interested stakeholders and national, European and international standardisation bodies. The founding members of the consortium will be involved in the creation of international technical standards. The Consortium will start its activities in May 2021.

In the context of the Paris Climate Agreement and the transition to electromobility, the founding members of the consortium believe that the availability of a standardised swappable battery system would both promote the widespread use of light electric vehicles and contribute to a more sustainable life-cycle management of batteries used in the transport sector, the companies said in a joint statement.

Also, by extending the range, shortening the charging time and lowering vehicle and infrastructure costs, the manufacturers will try to answer customers’ main concerns regarding the future of electromobility.

Michele Colaninno, Piaggio Group chief of strategy and product, commented, “With the signing of this letter of intent, the signatories show their proactiveness vis-à-vis the major concerns of their customers and the political priorities as regards the electrification of vehicles.”

An international standard for the swappable batteries system will make this technology efficient and at the disposal of the consumers, added Michele Colaninno.

E-bikes that look like motorcycles take another hit in Canada

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by Maryse Zeidler from https://www.cbc.ca

Appellant’s lawyer says his client relied on Motorino XMr for affordable transportation

The British Columbia Court of Appeal has upheld a B.C. Supreme Court ruling that e-bikes designed to look and function more like mopeds or scooters do not meet the province’s definition of a motor-assisted cycle and therefore require a driver’s licence, registration and insurance.

The case was brought forward by Ali Ghadban, who was issued a ticket in Surrey, B.C., in 2018 for riding his Motorino XMr without a driver’s licence and insurance. He said he wasn’t able to obtain them from the provincial insurer, ICBC.

Two of the three Appeal Court justices assigned to the case agreed with the B.C. Supreme Court judge’s decision from May 2020 that found although the Motorino XMr is outfitted with pedals, limited power and a maximum speed of 32 km/h, it doesn’t qualify as a motor-assisted cycle because it’s not designed to be operated primarily by human power.

At the heart of the issue are the XMr’s small pedals, which Court of Appeal Justice Harvey M. Groberman agreed would do little to propel the nearly 115-kilogram bike. Groberman said the XMr is designed to almost exclusively operate as a low-powered electric motorcycle, or as “a very heavy, impractical bicycle.”

Although the XMr meets many of the technical requirements of a motor-assisted cycle as defined in B.C.’s Motor Vehicle Act, Groberman wrote, it doesn’t do so in practice.

“If a piece of legislation defines ‘cat’ as ‘a small four-legged furry mammal that purrs,’ we would not expect that definition to include a dog fitted with a loudspeaker that plays a purring sound,” he said.

Affordable, environmentally friendly

Lawyer Dan Griffiths, who represented Ghadban in the case, said his client is a man of modest financial means who relied on the bike to get around.

“He was excited to find a transportation option which was affordable and which also had the added benefit of being environmentally friendly as well,” Griffiths said.

Ghadban, 35, does building maintenance for homeless shelters on the Downtown Eastside, Griffiths said, and has never had a driver’s licence. His client intends to take the case to the Supreme Court of Canada.

But Erin O’Mellin, executive director of cycling advocacy group HUB, said the decision is a step in the right direction.

O’Mellin said there’s a lot more danger associated with electric scooters than actual bicycles, regular or electric — especially if they’re sharing infrastructure such as bike lanes.

“[Electric scooters] are much heavier and they move at a much faster speed, so the consequence of a collision with this kind of scooter and someone on a regular bicycle would be much more dramatic,” she said.

Outdated laws

B.C.’s Motor Vehicle Act hasn’t been updated in 50 years, O’Mellin said, and it doesn’t deal with all of the the new electric mobility devices that have come onto the consumer market in that time, including electric standup scooters and skateboards.

She said it’s important that devices such as e-scooters be included so that drivers are aware of their responsibilities.

“If you have a larger, faster-moving vehicle, there’s more onus on you to have training to make sure that those roads are safe for all users,” O’Mellin said.

In a written statement, the Ministry of Public Safety said the province and the provincial insurer, ICBC, “are examining impacts with respect to products now confirmed by the courts to be non-compliant to operate on public highways, such as the Motorino XMr.”

After the B.C. Supreme Court decision in May, ICBC made a few subtle changes to its webpage on motor-assisted cycles.

The latest version no longer includes an image of what looks like an electric scooter alongside an e-bike under the subheadings “electric bikes” and “motor assisted cycles.”

Thousands of customers

Steve Miloshev, owner of the Motorino store in Vancouver, said the decision is disappointing because so many of his clients rely on e-scooters for transportation — especially during the COVID-19 pandemic, when many people want to avoid public transit.

“I am upset for the thousands of our customers who have invested thousands of dollars in their clean transportation,” he said in an email to CBC News.

Miloshev said he believes his scooters and the customers who use them have been unfairly targeted, compared with devices such as electric standup scooters.

However, those scooters were never legal on B.C. roads.

Miloshev said he intends to focus his business on the “countless” new technologies that are available.

“As a company that pioneered light electric transportation in Canada, we are very optimistic in the evolution of environmental and practical solutions for transportation,” he said.

Europe’s Electric Motorcycle Market Surges

By General Posts

2020 is an IDTechEx estimate based on Q1 – Q3 2020 data. Source: ACEM, IDTechEx

Press Release: IDTechEx from https://www.scoop.co.nz

IDTechEx expects electric motorcycle sales in Europe to grow at least 50% year-on-year in 2020, building on the momentum of recent years. This is driven by continued policy support from governments alongside start-ups and incumbent OEMs entering the market with new model releases, finds the recent report from IDTechEx.

Growth is also being boosted by consumer awareness and acceptance in Europe of the benefits of electric motorcycles. Besides the low cost of ownership, electric motorcycles improve the riding experience, taking away the noise, fumes, vibration, shifting, and clutching from the user experience, alongside the environmental benefits of low emissions. The result has been strong growth on par with the electric car market since 2017.

How are electric motorcycles different? Electric motorcycles are unique, serious machines with power and energy requirements orders of magnitude higher than other common types of electric two-wheelers such as electric scooters, both the standing kind – think Lime – and the sitting kind – think Vespa.

Indeed, electric motorcycles typically utilize electric motors beyond 40kWp, which is more comparable to those found in electric cars than electric scooters, in a much more restricted space. This high-power need, coupled with the limited space on the motorcycle, means manufacturers rarely use off-the-shelf parts and design motors in-house from scratch. The situation is the same for the battery packs, which actually take up the most space in boxy designs unconventional for the moto industry (even when utilizing high-energy automotive-grade Li-ion cells). In contrast, low energy, cheap LFP packs sourced from China can be used for the low energy needs of electric scooters.

Zero Motorcycles, the global market leader for electric motorcycles based out of California, USA, is a good example. It uses locally sourced NMC pouch cells in a custom pack and has an impressive custom-built permanent magnet AC motor (passively air-cooled). The motor has no transmission and is direct drive to the rear wheel, with instant torque.

The result is that electric motorcycles are expensive compared with equivalent combustion models, and start-ups often focus on developing competition or racing bikes, which are less price-sensitive markets. So, while the market is growing, the price remains the main hurdle: a motorcycle with a 14kWh battery pack sells for over $15,000 today. The issue is exacerbated by the fact that electric motorcycles have the most appeal to environmentally conscious millennials who tend to have less purchasing power than older generations preferring loud pipes. In fact, young people are less inclined to buy a motorcycle in general, which is an existential problem the overall industry is grappling with. The high price of electric motorcycles should naturally improve as battery costs continue to decline from the economies of scale of the automotive industry, which may be enough to entice a new, younger audience.

To learn more, the new IDTechEx report “Electric Two-wheelers 2021–2041” (www.IDTechEx.com/E2W) addresses and forecasts electric two-wheelers with pure electric modes under 4kW (‘electric scooters’) and over 4kW (‘electric motorcycles’) with historic data back to 2015 and forecasts to 2041, with insight into the drivers and uptake by region (China, India, Indonesia, Vietnam, EU + UK, US, RoW). The report further explores key technology trends, such as the transition away from lead-acid and the reliance on permanent magnet motors for all power classes. Market shares of companies are provided regionally, based on primary interviews with market leaders.

This research forms part of the broader electric vehicle and energy storage portfolio from IDTechEx, who track the adoption of electric vehicles, battery trends, and demand across land, sea, and air, helping you navigate whatever may be ahead. Find out more at www.IDTechEx.com/EV.

NCOM Biker Newsbytes for February 2021

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Gas powered vehicles, electric vehicle buyers, virtual reality, Daytona Bike Week, Americade, Route 66, motorcycle taxi
Compiled & Edited by Bill Bish

The National Coalition of Motorcyclists (NCOM) is a nationwide motorcyclists rights organization serving over 2,000 NCOM Member Groups throughout the United States, with all services fully-funded through Aid to Injured Motorcyclist (AIM) Attorneys available in each state who donate a portion of their legal fees from motorcycle accidents back into the NCOM Network of Biker Services (www.ON-A-BIKE.com / 800-ON-A-BIKE).

Click Here to Read the NCOM News on Bikernet.

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Harley Davidson’s plan to take iconic motorcycle brand into transportation’s future

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by Joe D’Allegro from https://www.cnbc.com

  • Harley-Davidson unveiled a new 2021 lineup featuring several advances in engineering, electronics and styling, and its first rival to BMW and Honda “adventure” bikes.
  • Hog motorcycle sales peaked 15 years ago and have dropped 40% since.
  • But as it cuts costs, total number of models and geographies under a new CEO, and looks to electric motorcycles and e-bikes, Harley could be in for a smoother stock market ride.

As a tradition-minded 118-year-old motorcycle manufacturer, Harley-Davidson may not seem ideally situated to prosper in a rapidly changing world where vehicles are increasingly electrified, self-driving, and shared. But the iconic company could be better positioned than many stock market investors betting on transportation suspect.

The company’s U.S. bike sales peaked at more than 260,000 way back in 2006, and have since dropped about 40%. Demographics are part of the story, and it is a well-charted one, in the stock price and broader narrative about Harley’s consumer market. In 1985, the year before Harley went public, the median motorcycle owner was only 27, according to the Bureau of Transportation Statistics. By 2018, the median age had risen to 50. But the iconic “HOG” brand is turning itself around under the leadership of president and CEO Jochen Zeitz, who took the helm last year after drawing praise for a turnaround engineered at European consumer brand Puma.

Zeitz, and other new executives pushed the “Rewire” initiative, which has driven the manufacturer to exit international markets with low potential to focus on 36 high-growth-potential areas in North America, Europe and Asia. The company also laid off 700 employees to trim costs. It closed out 2020 by entering into a distribution agreement with Indian motorcycle maker Hero and spinning off its electric bicycle operations to a new firm where it holds a minority stake.

“We think they are on the right track,” noted Garrett Nelson, senior equity analyst at CFRA Research. He praised Harley’s late-October agreement with Hero as beneficial to both parties. “Harley gets access to Hero’s existing distribution network in India and Hero benefits from the sale of additional motorcycles at its dealerships,” he said. “It’s a trade-off. Harley surrenders some of the margin for access to the distribution network in the fast-growing market.”

He added that Harley should pursue similar opportunities with other established players to widen its exposure in faster-growing Asian markets.

Harley in a Tesla world

With the new financial strategy in place, Harley’s is now looking ahead. On February 2, it will introduce its plan for 2021 to 2025. Called Hardwire, the new plan is “grounded in desirability,” according to the company, though it has not released details.

Next month Harley also is unveiling the Pan America, a large adventure-style motorcycle meant to be at home both on- and off-road. It is the company’s first foray into the adventure bike market in which competitors like BMW and Honda already have a large presence. The recreational market has become a more intense focus for consumer brands as a result of shifts driven by the pandemic.

Nelson also was cautiously optimistic about the manufacturer’s prospects in an increasingly electrified future. The LiveWire, Harley’s sole current electric motorcycle, shows promise, but the company has been somewhat slow bringing it to market since its release in late 2019, he said.

“More of a concrete strategy on the electric bike, the Livewire, will be necessary,” Citi analyst Shawn Collins said, but he added that EVs remain a longer-term rather than immediate financial priority. “EV cycles are a rounding error at the moment,” he said of the sales.

The LiveWire retails for nearly $30,000, making it one of Harley’s more expensive motorcycle offerings for the 2021 model year, which range from $9,500 to $49,000.

“Over time, we are bullish on the opportunity, given that we think lithium-ion battery costs are going to continue falling in the coming years and electric vehicles are going to be heavily subsidized by the new administration,” Nelson said. “We expect the cost of electric vehicles to reach parity with internal combustion engine vehicles by the middle of this decade, as battery costs continue to decline.”

Harley-Davidson’s share price is at a 52-week high — like many companies in this extended bull market — but remains well below its all-time peak.

The company’s iconic brand remains attractive, even as its financial fortunes have fluctuated.

“Harley-Davidson is the most valuable motorcycle brand on the planet,” wrote Craig Kennison, a senior research analyst and director of research operations at Baird, in a recent research note. Harley’s strong brand, scale, and loyal customers give it an advantage over competitors, in his view. Meanwhile, Harley’s new leadership has put in place operational changes that should drive growth in 2021, Kennison said, including streamlining its product portfolio, reducing dealer inventory 30%, and instituting ongoing annual costs savings of $115 million. “We increasingly like the investment case for Harley-Davidson,” he wrote.

There may be more cost-cutting to come, according to Nelson. He said Harley should look to further shrink its global footprint to focus on markets that are the most profitable with the greatest long-term growth potential. But shrinking the overall footprint does not mean less focus on overseas consumers.

Revving up profits

“Right now, they are spread too wide,” Nelson said. “Between 2006-2019, the company grew its non-U.S. exposure from 22% of total unit sales volumes to 42%. We think they need to continue growing this percentage out of necessity because we believe its North American market is in secular decline.”

Harley’s issue is about the top line, or revenue from motorcycle sales, and Citi’s Collins said into its earnings and February investor day how management talks about increasing the top line will be a key to continued investor confidence. “Lots of people have faith in Zeitz, but he has a high bar,” Collins said. “There is no simple answer. … The top line has been horrible.”

The biggest problem for Harley is well known: the brand has had trouble appealing to younger riders.

Younger consumers have shown an aversion to purchasing motorcycles for safety reasons, and vehicles in general due to the rise of ridesharing, as well as financial and urbanization trends, according to Nelson, and Harley’s domestic demand has been waning for well over a decade.

“Harley at one point was unstoppable, in the 80s and 90s and even through most of the 2000s,” Collins said.

The Citi analyst noted Harley competitor Indian Motorcycle, owned by Polaris, has had success bringing in a new audience, and Zeitz has shown his ability to work “marketing magic” when he oversaw the turnaround at Puma, which had lost consumers to Nike and Adidas. “His job is to try and insert the magic back into Harley so a younger person wants to buy one. That’s what he has his eye focused on for the next three year to five years,” Collins said.

“Harley-Davidson has known for a while that it needs to reach younger customers,” said Dennis Chung, the production editor at Motorcycle.com. “The problem is that demographic doesn’t necessarily want the same things in a motorcycle that Harley-Davidson’s older base values.”

A lot will hinge on the next generation of Harley-Davidson’s popular Sportster lineup of mid-sized cruisers, according to Chung. “There is definitely value in the classic Harley styling, but it needs to be balanced with modern design and modern technology,” he said.

The Sportster lineup has been in continuous production since 1957, and is one of Harley’s oldest model lines.

One way Harley-Davidson is responding to a more tricky consumer market is by shifting its focus from growing market share on an absolute basis to increasing brand exclusivity. The Rewire plan was an acknowledgment from management that blanketing the globe in a search for new sales wasn’t the way to go.

“Instead of trying to increase its sales volume, Harley-Davidson is now trying to earn more profit from each sale, even if it means selling fewer bikes,” Chung said.

Harley-Davidson recently reported a 39% increase in net income in the third quarter of 2020, compared to the same period in 2019, even though its global retail motorcycle sales in the third quarter of 2020 were down 8% compared to the prior year.

North American sales did grow in the third quarter for the first time in a long time, Collins noted, and there are broader trends in place that could benefit Harley. Sports and recreational vehicles sales are growing as a result of Covid and that tailwind could cross over to the motorcycle market as well.

“They do have the No. 1 brand in the market with 40% market share and the brand is unlike any other,” Collins said.

The European market, meanwhile, is growing and the new adventure bike Pan America should do well in that region.

The decision to reduce its product line by roughly 30% seems like a smart and necessary move because of overlap.

“A lot of Harley’s products are very similar. Eliminating some of the lower-performing products creates a more streamlined product portfolio, which helps reduce costs,” Chung said.

The company dropped a handful of models from its 2021 U.S. lineup – the FXDR 114, Low Rider, Breakout, Street Bob 107, Deluxe, Street 750, Street Rod, and Roadster.

As the company offers fewer models, it sells a range of accessories and customization options. This way, buyers can individualize their bikes in details such as paint, luggage, seats, stereo systems, brake upgrades, and other areas.

Collins said Zeitz understands the opportunity in bike parts and Harley lifestyle accessories, and while these are not strategies that can turn the business around at the top line level, they are important pieces in a more comprehensive plan to maximize revenue while keeping costs down and generating higher profits. He recently pegged as much as 15% upside in Harley’s stock ahead of next month’s earnings and investor day, writing in a note to investors that he continues to be encouraged by new management’s decision-making.

Even with a trimmed portfolio, the manufacturer still offers two dozen different motorcycles, mostly concentrated in the cruiser and touring market segments, as well as a trio of three-wheeled bikes.

“We believe Covid-19 has given Harley the opportunity to press the reset button on its strategy and refocus effort back on its core consumer, one which we believe holds the key to higher profit margins,” stated Morningstar senior equity analyst Jaime Katz in a November report. She praised the Rewire initiative as a means of balancing restoration of the firm’s core business and entry into new markets. Prioritizing profitability over scale should also refocus Harley on the success of high-margin parts and accessories and general merchandise segments.

“It’s okay to be in a shrinking market, if you’re improving the profitability of the products you sell,” Katz told CNBC.

Players dominating Electric Bike Market

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by Joe D’Allegro from https://www.cnbc.com

  • Harley Davidson and Honda are among the dominant motorcycle makers with big plans in electric bikes.
  • Harley also recently announced that it is spinning off a nascent electric bicycle business.
  • Uber is among the top investors in electric scooter company Lime, which just posted its first quarterly profit, while competitor Bird is reportedly planning to soon go public via a SPAC.
  • NIU Technologies, which makes smart scooters, has seen its share price soar.

Tesla reached a $500 billion market valuation this week, a sign of its dominance in the electric vehicle market. But Elon Musk has shown no real interest in one growing EV segment: battery-powered scooters and motorcycles. An accident he suffered as a youth on a motorbike — nearly fatal, Musk has said — turned him off two-wheelers, for now. But the manufacturing of battery powered bikes is growing and consolidating, which means it’s likely to produce one or more dominant players in the years to come.

The electric motorcycle and scooter market reached $30 billion in 2019, according to a June 2020 report by Preeti Wadhwani and Prasenjit Saha from the research company Global Market Insights (GMI). They estimated that the market — which includes everything from large motorcycles meant for interstate cruising to tiny stand-up scooters as used by Lime and Bird — will grow more than 4% annually for the next few years and hit $40 billion in 2026.

Concerns over vehicular emissions, increasing consumer awareness about air pollution, and increasing investments by government authorities in the development of EV charging infrastructure are all expected to keep the market growing. Another factor boosting electric bike prospects is the continued improvement in batteries.

E-bikes, scooters and motorcycles

Electric motorcycles and scooters are still relatively pricey, and none yet matches the range of the best gas bikes, but that’s slowly changing. Lithium ion battery costs are down 85% in the last decade, said Garrett Nelson, senior equity analyst at CFRA Research. Within another 10 years, electric motorcycles can achieve price parity with gas bikes, he predicts.

“The playing field is wide open,” says Nelson. He noted that Honda, Yamaha and Harley-Davidson together control about two-thirds of the global motorcycle market, and are each developing electric motorbikes. So too are other big established players, such as the Indian-multinationals Hero Motors and Bajaj Auto, and some smaller electric-only startups, including Zero Motorcycles and Energetica.

Electric mobility is leading to a manufacturing boom for vehicles sized between small foldable scooters and full-on motorcycles, said Sam Korus, an analyst at ARK Invest, which is known for its big bet on Tesla. Uber led a round of investment in Lime earlier this year, while Bird is reportedly considering a public offering through a special purpose acquisition company (SPAC).

Troy Siahaan, a road test editor at Motorcycle.com, races a lightweight custom-built electric bike, giving him insight into the similarities and differences between gas and electric two-wheelers.

“The riding experience of an electric bike is similar to gas-powered motorcycles in that you twist the throttle and go,” he said, “but you don’t get sound, vibration or engine heat with electric bikes. By and large, they also don’t require shifting, so they’re easier for new riders than most gas bikes.”

Siahaan also likes the torque output — a measure of the acceleration — of electric bikes, since it is all available at the outset.

Nelson noted that most growth right now is in the small- to mid-sized section of the electric motorcycle and scooter market. These are popular in China and Southeast Asia, where two-wheelers are more common as a mode of transportation, and pollution and noise reduction are socially and environmentally appealing.

Post-Covid-19 demand in urban mobility

Korus said Chinese scooter manufacturer NIU is among the promising players operating in the space between small folding scooters and large motorcycles. The company, which went public in 2018, sells its app-supported smart scooters in 38 countries across Asia, Europe and North and South America. Its stock has risen sharply. The stylish sit-on scooters offer up to 87 miles of range (140 km), multi-color dynamic gauge displays and GPS-based anti-theft systems.

NIU’s primary competition are low-cost manufacturers in China, which make scooters that are less “smart” than its offerings, as well as the higher-end players out of Asia and Europe, which tend to be priced higher. A NIU model may sell for roughly $3,100, while a comparable Honda is over $5,000, a Vespa over $7,000, and a BMW anywhere from $10,000 to $15,000, according to Vincent Yu, a Needham & Co. analyst.

Korus noted that NIU’s software actively collects data that can be used to support autonomous driving and allows the company to add value on top of just selling products. This is also a key feature of Tesla’s business model, which ARK Invest CEO Cathie Wood has pointed to in her bullish thesis on Musk’s company. But for NIU, monetization of autonomous driving may be fairly far off into the future. Yu said today there is high value in the smart features focused on theft prevention and vehicle maintenance, for example, knowing when parts need replacement. Its lightweight lithium-ion batteries are also an advantage over heavier, older electric scooters as consumers look for more portable batteries that are easier to swap in and out.

A big question for NIU is just how big the market can get and whether it can grow both manufacturing capacity and a retail store network along with it, Yu said. Asia is still heavily reliant on petroleum-based scooters, especially Southeast Asia, but that is changing. And, as the world emerges from the Covid pandemic, Yu is betting more travelers will shy away from mass transit and opt for scooters. In countries like China, they are much easier to obtain than cars thanks to lower costs and less regulation and permitting requirements, especially in larger cities.

NIU commands over 26% of the Chinese e-scooter sales market, and has risen in Europe to No. 3 over the past two years. Yu added that NIU is building a new factory, targeting major Southeast Asian markets like Indonesia, and adding more stores around the world to capitalize on the demand. In Q3, the company opened 182 stores and now has another 100 under construction.

Harley-Davidson and the electric future

In the U.S., smaller motorcycles suitable for urban transportation and only occasional highway use are not as popular as in Asia and Europe. Nelson said U.S. buyers tend to be older and favor larger bikes with traditional looks and the signature sounds of a combustion engine.

Harley-Davidson, the largest and oldest U.S. motorcycle manufacturer, has addressed these buyers with its LiveWire, an electric motorcycle with traditional cruiser styling and an impressive 105 horsepower that lets it accelerate to 60 miles per hour in a quick 3.1 seconds. The LiveWire is 7-feet long and nearly 550 pounds, giving it the size and weight to fit in with the company’s mainstream gas-powered offerings, but, at $30,000, it’s just too expensive for many potential customers.

With the traditional American motorcycle buyer aging, Harley sales are down almost 40% since their peak in 2006. “Demographics will be a problem for them,” Nelson said.

Harley is committed to electric under a relatively new management team, led by CEO Jochen Zeitz, who earned high marks for his focus on sustainability as CEO of Puma. “We believe electric needs to play an important role in the future of Harley-Davidson,” he recently told Wall Street analysts. He said sales volumes are low relative to traditional bikes, but added, “It must be an important segment in the long term future of the company and it’s also attracting new riders, new customers to the brand that might not have considered Harley-Davidson before.”

Craig Kennison, who covers Harley for RW Baird, said the priority for Zeitz and his team is to shore up Harley’s finances and focus its business on the key markets where it can generate the most profits from core consumers today, and it will continue to generate the vast majority of its business from its V-twin internal combustion engine cycles (sales for LiveWire are not disclosed but the assumption is they remain very minor). “It’s not a big number,” Kennison said.

Similar to the path chosen by Tesla to first focus on the luxury consumer, Harley needs to perfect the electric motorcycle technology and given the price points today — it cannot alone control the cost curve in key areas like battery technology — only over time will it become more affordable to a larger consumer market. But if Harley makes the right decisions on current profitability centers, it will support the investment in electric vehicles over the decades to come, he said. “Right now Harley has a huge market and needs to make as much money as they can, and servicing the core customer, which is still highly profitable, is the focus.”

Harley is headed into the pedal bicycle market as well. It recently announced that it will spin off its electric bicycle effort, which has been in research and development for a few years, retaining a minority stake in the new firm, Serial 1 Company, a reference to its first-ever machine.

Targeting the e-bicycle market, with pricing below $5,000, is a smart move by Harley’s new management, as it makes the brand affordable for the masses in a growing segment, said Brandon Rolle, Northcoast Research analyst. And similar to NIU’s target scooter market, riders may not need a driver’s license to operate these vehicles, which will help in Harley-Davidson’s appeal to urban commuters and casual recreational cyclists.

High-end bicycle makers like Specialized have an early lead in this market — e-bikes which generate power that is multiplied by the human pedaling activity — and it does have the potential for widespread appeal in the future, according to Kennison. “It lets ‘the everyman’ get on the road … especially during the pandemic people want to get outside and bicycling is a great way to do it, but depending on your fitness level, having the added electrical power creates a totally different experience. You can go 20 to 50 miles and it changes the appeal” he said.

Harley’s motorcycle competitors

In the near future, pent up demand for outdoor products caused by Covid-19 could benefit motorcycle makers, including Harley, which has had a “rough last five years” according to Wedbush Securities analyst James Hardiman. “A lot of investors have looked at Harley-Davidson and the broader motorcycle one as not benefitting,” from the new outdoors boom, the analyst said. But industry sales and used sales are both up, and those are precursors for a broader-based recovery in bike sales, Hardiman recently told CNBC. While the bear case about the aging demographics isn’t going away, it has been that way for a decade already, he said.

Among Harley’s competitors for the future full-size motorcycle buyer are not just traditional players like Honda and Yamaha, but Zero and Energetica, which have some of the most advanced electric bike technology currently available, Siahaan said.

Zero, founded in Santa Cruz, California, in 2006, isn’t a household name, but it’s one of the most established players in the field. It began selling electric motorcycles in 2009, making it one of the very first production two-wheelers (the earliest production electric motorcycles and scooters appeared in the 1970s and 1990s, respectively, but enjoyed limited success).

Zero’s current all-electric line-up includes everything from the FX, a small on- and off-road capable “dual-sport” motorcycle starting at $9,300, all the way up to the SR/S sportbike which starts at $20,000. The 110-horsepower SR/S can reach 124 miles per hour and is capable of more than 200 miles of range when equipped with an enhanced battery. The FR/S is so advanced Road and Track alluded to Zero getting close to the being the Tesla of two wheels in its review. Zero offers it with an app that lets users modify the bikes maximum speed, power, torque and regenerative braking parameters.

Zero reached a 10-year deal with Polaris, a recreational vehicle powerhouse, that should give it the resources to further expand manufacturing and distribution. It will bring Zero’s powertrain technology and software to Polaris’ lineup of snowmobiles and off-road vehicles.

The high-end brand Energetica was formed in 2010 as a subsidiary of CRP Group, a motorsport and aviation manufacturer based in Modena, Italy. It offers a small lineup of attractively styled bikes starting at $17,600 for the general-purpose Eva EsseEsse9, and ending with the top-of-the-line Ego+. The latter is a 145-horsepower sportbike with an eye-watering starting price of nearly $24,000, but a 150 mph top speed and up to 250 miles of range.

Saha of the Global Marketing Institute told CNBC that the company is investing highly in R&D and owns several patents related to electric vehicle manufacturing in Europe, Asia, and North America.

Of course, as the largest motorcycle manufacturer in the world, Honda Motorcycles of Japan, is not standing still. It recently filed patents for electric-powered versions of its CB125R and CB300R, these are small, easy to manage general purpose bikes with “café racer” styling.

Saha notes that Honda is also making large investments in the development of swappable battery technology for electric motorcycles to allow riders to quickly replace the batteries after use. These moves, and factors like its global dealer and distribution network will aid Honda, Saha said.

Tesla moving beyond cars

And then there is Tesla. Though Musk has said the company will not produce a road bike, he has announced plans to release an electric all-terrain vehicle, the Cyberquad, late in 2021, and has at least teased the possibility of one day making a two-wheeled electric bike. In the least, Tesla could easily pivot a portion of its battery business to supplying other manufacturers, says Nelson.

Generating revenue is a big concern for any start-up, but especially in the electric motorcycle space, where federal and state-level regulation abound and consumer expectations are high. Many of the companies that first entered the electric two-wheeler market place have failed or been absorbed by larger players. This includes Brammo, which launched in 2002 and sold bikes with six-speed transmissions like those in traditional gas bikes rather than the single-speed automatics most electric manufacturers use. It was first purchased by the recreational vehicle maker Polaris in 2015, then engine maker Cummins in 2017. Brammo-branded bikes are no longer sold, but its technology lives on with its purchasers.

A similar fate befell Alta Motors, a maker of technologically advanced off-road electric bikes. The company shuttered operations in 2018 and its assets were taken over by Bombardier’s Recreational Products business in 2019 for use across its product lineup, which includes Ski Doo snowmobiles and the Can-Am line of three-wheel motorcycles.

“It’s always difficult to predict the future,” Siahaan said. “A lot of companies come out with big, bold announcements, but never even come to market.”

“It’s very early, so it is difficult to see how it all plays out, but that’s typical of a true growth market,” added Kennison.

Royal Enfield To Launch Classic Electric In 2023

By General Posts

by Arun Prakash from https://www.rushlane.com

Royal Enfield is looking to strengthen its position by expanding its portfolio both in domestic as well as overseas markets

Royal Enfield recently launched its cruiser motorcycle Meteor 350 after a long and arduous wait. The bike had been highly anticipated for almost a year now and since its launch has mostly received positive responses from different quarters. However, Royal Enfield will not be limiting itself with this launch.

The Chennai-based bikemaker is looking to expand its portfolio – both domestic and international – by introducing as many 28 new models, in the next seven years. Starting with the Meteor 350, which was recently launched, the next bike planned for launch is the new gen Classic 350 in next quarter. This is expected to be followed by new gen Bullet 350, Electra 350, Cruiser 650, Himalayan 650, Classic Electric etc.

Royal Enfield Future Plans
Speaking to PTI on Royal Enfield’s future plans, CEO Vinod K Dasari said that the company has got a product plan for the next seven years or so. He added that the brand is looking to launch a new product every quarter which means that at least 28 new bikes will be launched in the next seven years. This is to strengthen its position in the domestic as well as international markets.

Royal Enfield recently set up a new manufacturing facility in the Argentine capital of Buenos Aires which became the company’s first overseas production base outside India. The company is also looking to set up a new manufacturing facility in Thailand in the next 6-12 months followed by one in Brazil in the future.

He further goes on to add that all these new motorcycles will play in the mid-segment, i.e., 250cc-750cc displacement. Dasari did not divulge any details regarding the investment required for the upcoming models but said that the company will spend “several hundred crores on new products, new technologies like electric vehicles, digital solutions and so on”. Yes, an all electric Royal Enfield based on the Classic platform is due for launch in 2023.

Dasari further elaborates that the company has enough production capacity for the next 2-3 years and, therefore, a significant amount of its investments will be flown towards development of new technology including digital solutions, enhancements and new products including EVs; and global expansion.

Royal Enfield’s Growth Prospects This Year
When questioned about the brand’s growth prospects in the domestic market in the current fiscal year, Dasari said this year has to be seen on a month-on-month basis. The first four to five months businesses were seriously affected due to the outbreak of novel coronavirus and the subsequent nationwide lockdown.

However, now the company has achieved booking levels better than pre-Covid levels. He claims that even though Royal Enfield has received bookings for more than one month, it has inventory in the pipeline left to suffice 15-20 days.

Meteor 350
Royal Enfield, primarily known for its mid-segment displacement motorcycles, has been in the news very often lately due to the launch of Meteor 350. It is offered in three variants- Fireball, Stellar and Supernova and has been priced at Rs 1.75 lakh for the base variant and Rs 1.90 lakh for the top-spec variant. (Both prices are ex-showroom).