Harley-Davidson has appointed a chief electric vehicle officer and is to set up a standalone electric-motorcycle division. The move comes after the recent launch of its Serial 1 e-bike brand.
Harley’s only current electric motorbike is the LiveWire. This was championed by now-CEO Jochen Zeitz ahead of its 2019 launch and he now plans greater investment in this area.
Zeitz – who previously transformed the fortunes of Puma – has a reputation for wanting to keep sustainability at the forefront of decision-making and has introduced environmental profit and loss accounting at Harley-Davidson.
In February, he announced plans to set up a new division focused on electric motorbikes and followed that up by appointing the firm’s first “chief electric vehicle officer”.
Explaining these moves, he said: “The creation of a separate division will allow full autonomy to EV development, freeing the business unit to behave with the same agility and speed as a tech start-up while still leveraging the support, expertise and oversight of the broader organisation, allowing for cross-pollination with innovation in electric with combustion product development.”
Live Mint reports that Zeitz has now nominated Ford Motor Co CEO Jim Farley to join the Harley-Davidson board. This is widely seen as another move towards electrification. Under Farley, Ford has nearly doubled its spending to $22bn as it moves to electrify its line-up.
Harley’s dedicated e-bike firm, Serial 1, unveiled its first four bikes in November of last year.
“The dynamic, fast-growing eBicycle space is at the forefront of a global mobility revolution,” commented brand director Aaron Frank. “The formation of Serial 1 allows Harley-Davidson to play a key role in this mobility revolution while allowing Serial 1 to focus exclusively on the eBicycle customer and deliver an unmatched riding experience rooted in freedom and adventure.”