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Harley-Davidson Reveals Two Electric Urban Mobility Concepts at CES

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January 07, 2019 at 09:15PM

Along side the new 2019 LiveWire, Harley-Davidson revealed two electric urban mobility concepts at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas. The two as-yet-unnamed concepts, a mountain bike-style vehicle and a scooterish looking model, give us the first looks at a selection of “lightweight urban” electric models that Harley-Davidson says will go into production in 2021 and 2022.

Harley-Davidson first showed design sketches of the two concepts last July, when it announced its “More Roads to Harley-Davidson” plan, which will see the company expand beyond its core cruiser and heavy-weight touring product base. At the time, Harley-Davidson announced the LiveWire will be followed by two more electric motorcycles along with some new lightweight urban electric models in 2021-2022.

The two concepts match the smaller design sketches on the right. The larger design sketch on the left is a preview of one of two electric motorcycles that will follow the LiveWire in 2021 and 2022.

With these urban mobility vehicles, Harley-Davidson hopes to tap into a market estimated to include 38 million vehicles in Asia and another 1.8 million in North America and Europe.

Of the two concepts, the first one appears closer to being ready for production, while the second concept looks more like a prototype than a show concept.

HD Electric Concept 1

The first concept, which we’ll call Concept 1, looks like an electric mountain bike, but with a bit of a flat tracker look for the seat. The battery is presumably inside the black casing in the middle of the frame, powering a small electric motor positioned where you’d expect to find the crankset of a bicycle. A drive belt connects the mtor to the rear wheel, and instead of bicycle pedals, the concept is equipped with a fixed pair of spikey pegs.

The front uses a tall tire, perhaps a 29-inch bicycle tire. The rear tire, however, is shorter and wider, which is probably one of few truly Harley things about the concept. The rear wheel is mounted to a swingarm with a single shock providing suspension duties. Up front, the concept uses a motorcycle-style inverted fork with a triple tree instead of a typical bicycle front end. It’s difficult to make out any supplier markings for the fork, but we can see from the top of the fork tubes that the suspension is adjustable.

Markings on the rear brake caliper and front brake lever indicate the concept uses Zee hydraulic brakes from Shimano.

HD Electric Concept 2

The second concept may be even more unconventional, for a Harley. Concept 2 uses a single backbone frame with two arms at the front extending down to the front of the powertrain unit, and two at the back connecting to the rear wheel axle. The powertrain is contained in a black box that runs along the bottom of the bike, creating a large open space in the middle which could presumably be used for holding cargo.

From the tire markings, the second concept runs on 20×4-1/4 tires (though it appears the front tire may have been mounted backwards, which is unusually sloppy). The front end uses a very short inverted fork, while the rear end does not appear to have any cushioning at all. The rear wheel also lacks any brakes at all, so stopping power is entirely provided by the front disc brake. The rotor looks identical to the Shimano Zee disc on the other concept, but appears to use a different caliper.

The powertrain is entirely contained, with a drive belt exiting the back on the right side to spin the rear wheel. To either side of the powertrain is a pair of flat footboards that appear to be made from skateboards. Click to enlarge the photo above, and you can see front of the boards are cut a little too close to the mounting screws, another uncharacteristically sloppy touch for Harley-Davidson. Yes, this bike is only a concept, but there is a lack of fit and finish typically expected from H-D.

Things are tidier at the front, with the circular faux-headlight that reveals the Harley-Davidson bar and shield logo on the steering head. I’m not usually a fan of ape-style handlebars, but given how low the concept’s frame appears, they make sense here. The throttle cable is neatly routed inside the handlebar, while a single underslung mirror is attached to the end of the left grip.

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