With more than 110 years of product offerings, Harley-Davidson has always been about gradual evolution not radical revolution. So, how does a company that has built its entire corporate image based around tradition compete in a niche market segment designed to disrupt the old guard? Harley started the LiveWire project as a way for the legacy brand to see if they can compete against start-ups.
It's one thing for a start-up to set out to disrupt the established market place. They can build their brand around the idea they are presenting something new and exciting. Innovating and shaking things up is part of the business plan.
Harley-Davidson is facing the rise of the electric motorcycle market head on. They developed the LiveWire electric motorcycle and deployed a small fleet of the nearly production ready prototypes. The LiveWire Experience tour was a way to introduce their core customers to a new product as well as bring new potential customers into the conversation. Through customer feedback, Harley hopes to make an informed decision about when, and if, to bring the LiveWire to market.
By most accounts, the LiveWire has been a success. Media and customers alike are touting the motorcycle’s abilities. Plus, Harley is not hiding that they hope the LiveWire brings a younger, more urban demographic to the brand.
The idea that The Motor Company would invest this kind of time and resources into a new segment within the market that is far outside their comfort zone speaks to two things. First, it shows that they feel the electric motorcycle segment is established enough and that there are enough buyers to justify the investment. Second, it shows that HD realizes that the success of electric-only motorcycle manufacturers has the potential to chip away at their market dominance.
The Harley-Davidson LiveWire was profiled in the Electric Car Insider 2015 Electric Motorcycle Buyer's Guide. The Buyer's Guide featured photos and specifications for 33 electric motorcycles. The Buyer's Guide allows potential buyers to see what is available across the entire spectrum. The comprehensive magazine makes it easy to compare and cross-reference motorcycles.