The Most Progressive Motorcycle Manufacturer in 2018 is….. Harley-Davidson?

This can’t be right. Harley-Davidson, that company that makes huge, old fashioned, rumbly, V-Twin cruisers. They’re leading the charge into electric motorcycles. I never thought I would be saying that.

They are reinventing themselves at pace into a company fit for the future with plans for multiple electric bikes. A powerful naked bike, urban runabouts, even an ebike. I would like to know of anyone who predicted this.

The biggest aspect to this, is the fact that they’re blowing Yamaha, Honda, Suzuki and the rest out of the water. This has got to be hugely embarrassing for all of the major manufacturers. Beaten to electric by the company everyone expected to be consigned to the history books because of the rise of electric, not embracing it.

Even BMW and Piaggio, who are embracing the change more than the others, haven’t done anything for a long time, and keep delaying their debut EV respectively.

When I was a kid, I was drawn to Harley-Davidson. Then over time I lost interest as I got more and more into technology and modern designs. But now it’s great to see the transformation they’re on the path towards, and I’m fully back onboard as a fan of the company. I just hope they can convince their customers to make the switch, while simultaneously attracting a whole new audience.

I really hope it pays off for them, because it would have been so easy for them to bury their heads in the sand and do nothing. But they came out swinging, fighting for a better future for the company.

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Motoring journalists have been brainwashed to misreport on EVs

A trend I’ve been noticing recently is that motoring journalists, or people who have been involved in the motor industry for a significant time, don’t really understand EVs fully even if they like them and want to encourage their take-up.

Nico Rosberg, Jason Fenske (of Engineering Explained), Tiff Needell, Countless other motoring journalists and many more besides. These people are EV curious or already big fans, but because they’ve been so entrenched in the motor industry, they don’t really get EVs and what makes them different. They compare charging with fuel stations. They talk about range in a way that suggests everyday use means taking long road trips all the time, and that EVs could only possibly work for city driving. Which to me is ridiculous. I would never want to drive in a city if I could avoid it.

In some cases, they even talk about well-to-wheel emissions and compare EVs running purely on coal to just the tailpipe emissions of gasoline cars. It’s totally unacceptable and just wrong.This misinformation spreads like wildfire. People won’t be aware of how easy it is to live with an EV and charge at home, or charge away from home on all different types of chargers to suit different situations. They won’t believe that EVs are cleaner or they’ll think that they can afford to wait until solid state batteries because lithium ion is supposedly so bad for the environment.

If people who like EVs are inadvertently misrepresenting them, then that’s the least of our problems. We’re facing another year or two of having to fight off a toxic cocktail of misinformation and flat-out lies.

On the plus side, this situation will naturally improve over time regardless. So we can look forward to the day where we no longer get presented with false information by people who’ve just read something anti-EV on Facebook or some tabloid not worth the paper it’s printed on.

Will Geneva 2018 be the turning point for EVs?

No. It won’t be. It will certainly be big for EVs, but until we get to a point where 51% of the cars on show are EVs, then we won’t be there in my opinion.

However, in terms of public perception of EVs and the idea that they will take over entirely from fossil fuels, this may indeed be it. Jaguar, Audi and Mercedes will all unveil either prototypes or full production EVs. But I see this trend where people still don’t fully understand that EVs are here to take over. They think of them as an accompaniment to an ICE car. A second car for running errands around town. I’m hopeful that the I-Pace, e-Tron Quattro and eQC will change that. Tesla already should have, but many still have never heard of Tesla and seeing it from established luxury ICE car makers should make a difference. Perceptions won’t change overnight but I don’t think it will take that long.

Make no mistake, Geneva will be huge for EVs, but most likely 90% of the cars shown there will not be electric. Which for me will be deeply frustrating and depressing. It may take until 2020 before we get to that magical 51%. It may happen sooner, and I really hope I’m wrong, but I think 2020 is a reasonable assumption.

The Weak Performance of EV Makers

Imagine Tesla selling only one car and not bringing anything else out or even announcing another car for 4 or 5 years. Then imagine that car getting almost no support from their sales staff. Then imagine the Supercharger network didn’t exist. Now imagine other companies who have infinitely more manufacturing experience and many more times the amount of money available to them. Yes, companies like that exist in 2017. It’s crazy to think about.

BMW are the first company I think about that fit the bill completely. But at least they’ve offered an EV of some description for years. How many companies out there have failed to even release a single one by now? See my last post for a very long list.