Harley-Davidson to build new R&D facility for electric motorcycles

Harley-Davidson will build a new research and development facility in Northern California to support its future product portfolio which will include the company’s first complete line of electric motorcycles.

As part of the company’s “More Roads to Harley-Davidson” growth plan, the company will launch its first electric motorcycle called “LiveWire” in 2019, which the company says will be the first in a broad, no-clutch “twist and go” portfolio of electric two-wheelers designed by Harley. It will be followed by additional models through 2022, which will include smaller, more accessible product options.

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“This new R&D facility in the heart of Silicon Valley will help us deliver on those plans and demonstrate our commitment to lead the electrification of the sport,” Harley-Davidson CEO Matt Levatich said in a statement.

The new facility in California, which will serve as a satellite of the Willie G. Davidson Product Development Facility in Wauwatosa, Wisconsin, is expected to open in the fourth quarter of 2018.

It will initially focus on electric vehicle research and development. Long term, the company may consider expanding the center’s focus to an increased range of advanced technologies.

The company has already begun recruiting top talent in electrical, mechanical and software engineering. The facility will initially employ a staff of approximately 25, most of which it intends to hire from within the Silicon Valley area.