Activate Your Premium Membership Today >

Harley-Davidson’s CEO Talks of Going All-Electric

"It's a Natural Evolution that Needed to Happen"

Harley-Davidson's CEO, Jochen Zeitz. Media sourced from Norges Bank Investment Management.
Harley-Davidson's CEO, Jochen Zeitz. Media sourced from Norges Bank Investment Management.
Last updated:

Wait, Harley-DavidsonAll-electric

You heard right; Harley’s CEO, Jochen Zeitz, just finished coverage with Dezeen on the brand’s projected goals – though contrary to what’s going around, we won’t have to expect the full transition to happen for at least another couple of decades. 

Harley-Davidson's CEO, Jochen Zeitz. Media sourced from Business Journals.
Harley-Davidson’s CEO, Jochen Zeitz. Media sourced from Business Journals.

“It takes decades, right? But you have to also think in decades rather than just thinking about what year and the short-termism that everyone is exposed to as a public company,” Zeitz imparts to Dezeen.

“We are thinking: ‘how do we evolve if you think really long term’, as this will not be an overnight transition…preparing for that transition is why LiveWire was born.”

LiveWire's S2 Del Mar™. Media sourced from Drag Bike News.
LiveWire’s S2 Del Mar™. Media sourced from Drag Bike News.

In short, Zeitz is turning the American bike brand to align with the founding evolution of her original bones: To reinvent, or simply invent something unique – and all catering to motorcyclists across the industry.

What do you think? Is Harley’s brand direction aligned with what you envision for the brand? Be sure to drop a comment letting us know, and as always – stay safe on the twisties. 

*Media sourced from Drag Bike News, Norges Bank Investment Management, and Business Journals*

Leave a Reply

  1. Antiquated psychology sounds appealing to some but EVs are not the future. They might be a bridge to a new technology but are not the sustainable future. Put down the Chinese koolaid and lets understand the monopolies on rare earth minerals and reliances on carbon based power generation for recharging make EVs impractical and unsustainable.

  2. One would expect nothing less from this ECO CEO. I disagree with the speculation above that it will take “decades” to accomplish the change. Zeitz doesn’t want to produce ICE motorcycles a minute longer than financial implications dictate. He directs one of the most iconic American brands there is, and he’s not even an American citizen. Based on his actions and direction, I will never buy another new Harley Davidson motorcycle.

  3. I think you have used a photo of Yamaha Virago in the HD related article, which is at least weird …

    1. Hey Andrejs,

      Remedied a day or so ago – my fault for not looking closer! That day’s media package went by in a blink.

      Cheers, and thanks for stopping by. 🙂

      Amanda Quick

  4. I guess the “almighty dollar” is more important than not destroying the environment and promoting child slave labor!!!! The electric vehicle movement is a farce!!!! The Libtards have no clue as to how WRONG electric vehicles are!!! If I hadn’t totally customized my Harley Road King, I’d get rid of it. Won’t support Harley anymore!!!!

  5. Going totally electric is a horrible idea!! Once the batteries are spent, they sit in a field, cant recycle them. Not to mention the impact it has on the earth of having to mine for the material to make the batteries! I dont want to sit around and wait a few hours to charge a battery when i can fuel up and be on the road again! it will take away from the ride! Please stop trying to appease the liberals and dont do it!

  6. The movement away from the combustion engine is all the rage now, and carries significant populist appeal. Politicians push for electrification, manufacturers follow the policies.
    Has anyone thought of the geopolitical repercussions of electrifying all transportation?? The current world order has stabilized oil-producing countries to maintain the global economy. Shifting this “stabilization” from oil production to battery production will take years, topple governments, suddenly empower countries with no democratic institutions, dictatorships.
    Ultimately, we’re hopping on a bandwagon headed God knows where. Without evidence to support the net benefit of the complete lifecycle of batteries and magnets vs other technologies, existing and yet to be developed. Harley’s CEO talks about short-sighted visions of the past… I’d argue that we are collectively embarking on another short-sighted electrification journey no better that those of the past.
    Speaking of the past, that “Harley bike” picture mid-article, it’s a Yamaha Virago.

    1. Hey Dan,

      Geopolitical repercussions of going electric (especially from a mass-production point of view) is definitely the hot topic nobody wants to touch; it’s a good point also from the standpoint that creating these electric bikes isn’t necessarily carbon neutral – thereby creating the irony of electric transport.

      Add all the other legalities and economic kerfuffles bound to happen, and it’s a messy soup of potential, that’s for sure.

      By the way, Virago media remedied – my fault for choosing the wrong media.

      Thanks for stopping by and leaving your cents; short-sightedness is what we all suffer from in one way or another, so it’ll be interesting to see who has enough money to lengthen that vision for this particular corner of the Powerspors Industry…

      Cheers,

      Amanda

  7. I’m glad to see Harley looking to the future. They haven’t built anything I would buy since the 70s except their adventure bike. I really like that and, from reports, it’s a very nice machine. But the future’s coming and it’s going to be electric, so I hope they come up with something cool. Of course, there will be naysayers galore but never mind. Remember when unleaded gas was going to be the end of high performance engines and ABS and FI would never work on bikes? I can’t wait to ride a high performance electric bike. Get busy Harley!

  8. Too bad Harley is no longer even run by an American …
    They must change or die…
    Hipsters want Cafe racers & electric bikes…
    Old HD boomers like me are going into the dust bin of history…
    Its all good…change, progress…
    Time to hand over the reins ro the youngsters…

  9. When the Live Wire debuted I had an opportunity to demo it at the local H-D dealer. It was easy like ready a scooter given that its twist n go no shifting. The striking style was eye-catching but the ergonomics no longer fit me. I could not see myself and my nearly 60 year old body riding this for more then an hour. While most commutes are typically under an hour (mines ’bout 20 mins), I don’t think I would feel ready & raring to go to work after riding in on a Live Wire. But it was great to sample.
    After my Live Wire demo, I return to the showroom and found myself drawn to the Tri-Glide. The sales rep suggested I take it out for demo ride which I did. Man I can hardly describe the sugar honey iced tea grin on my face! What an easy enjoyable ride it was. And even though it was easily twice the size & weight compared to the Live Wire and required shifting, I found the Tri-Glide to be as effortless as the Live Wire. It occurred to me, as I was driving my Honda Odyssey still feeling the thrill of the back-to-back demos, that the Tri-Glide may be the optimal platform for a electric/battery powered motorcycle. Label it “3s the charm”!

    Concerning the transition to electric, Jochen Zeitz and the Moto-Company bean counters maybe on the right track and they’ve already shown that they can build it. But will the faithful come? For my money I’d say no. The Live Wire despite all its techno marvels comes off as soulless which, IMHO, is the essence of Harley mystique.

    BTW, the Live Wire is not the only thing that’s not quite authentic H-D, the bike picture with the caption that reads in part “A Harley bike, showcasing the brand’s continual commitment to the ride.” is actually a Yamaha Virago!

    1. Hello Phil,

      Love your perspective, your story, and thanks for stopping by. You are absolutely right, I chose the wrong image to round up media for this article, now remedied.

      Regarding the Tri-Glide platform: It’s definitely worth considering. From what I understand, there are soon to be a few more neutral-ergonomic electric bikes in our good industry…

      Thanks again for your input and for catching that media blunder – and all the best for 2023!

      Cheers,

      Amanda

  10. In two decades I probably will not be riding any longer . But for all that come after me that would be horrible. To miss out on riding a two stroke pulling you like it has a turbo charger would be such a loss! I really don’t think that we have the resources to produce that many batteries. Someone is going to finally think and realize that this whole battery powered world is just dumb.

    1. I really don’t think that we have the resources to produce that many batteries.

      Lithium is one of the most abundant minerals on the planet. Electric engines are far simpler to manufacture, maintain, and refurbish. Battery recycling continues to improve and mature as EV adoption creates demand.

      The world is changing, even if you want to pretend that it can’t.