You’d be forgiven if, in the madness of this year’s Consumer Electronics Show, you missed two small new ideas from one of the oldest companies around. (I sure did!) While announcing the final pricing for its first all-electric motorcycle, LiveWire, Harley-Davidson also debuted two concepts: an electric mountain bike thing, and a seated electric scooter that is, frankly, the company’s most exciting idea yet.
The concepts looked pretty in pictures, but last week Harley-Davidson dropped off a few working prototype versions in Aspen, Colorado during the Winter X Games and let some of the folks there tool around on them.
The bike looks fun, but electric bikes are a dime a dozen. The ruggedization will help distinguish it from the literal hundreds of others that are already available, and Harley-Davidson’s name recognition could help the company bite out a bigger chunk of the market than others should it actually pursue this as a commercial product.
The scooter, though, looks like a thrill! It’s very reminiscent of the electric mopeds that startup Lithium Cycles has been making for a few years, but with the kind of polish that a big company with lots of resources can accomplish. (In the press photos, at least. The prototype Harley-Davidson brought to Aspen is far more gnarly, with exposed wires and mismatched materials.)
Lithium Cycles’ Super 73 is one of the more fun things I’ve ridden over the last few years, and in fact it’s what sparked me to get a motorcycle license. Since then, I’ve tried electric motorcycles from Zero, and even driven BMW’s C-Evolution motorcycle / scooter hybrid. I’m excited to see Harley-Davidson finally realize its years-long electric motorcycle project with LiveWire. But I — like many others — am not too psyched about the nearly $30,000 price tag!
This scooter, on the other hand, would presumably be far more affordable. It would also be much more approachable than a motorcycle! Scooters of all shapes and sizes are being worked into the transportation infrastructure of cities all over the world (to different effect, to be fair) and something like Harley-Davidson’s concept could catch on if the company were to pursue it. It’s got style, it looks like a ton of fun to ride, and it — again, I’m guessing here — won’t cost $30,000. It might not turn around the company’s flailing business, but it’s a way more exciting idea than another motorcycle.