Sep 27, 2022 - Economy

Hog goes electric: Harley-Davidson spins off EV division LiveWire

A helmet-wearing motorcyclist leans around a corner on an orange bike

Harley-Davidson's original LiveWire electric motorcycle. Photo courtesy of Harley-Davidson

Soon, hogs won't make much noise.

Driving the news: Harley-Davidson on Tuesday spun off its electric motorcycle division as a separate, publicly traded company.

  • LiveWire made its public debut in a SPAC deal with AEA-Bridges Impact Corp, known as ABIC, in a $1.8 billion merger aimed at funding its development of EV bikes.
  • The shares were trading down 2.8% to $8.75 shortly after 3pm.

The big picture: Harley, whose bikes are affectionately referred to by its fans as hogs, has been straining to reinvent itself for years, having struggled to sell traditional motorcycles to younger generations.

  • The company is hoping to take advantage of investors' enthusiasm for EVs as it retains a 74% stake in LiveWire.

What's next: Harley-Davidson CEO Jochen Zeitz, who will serve as CEO of LiveWire for up to two years, told Axios on Tuesday that LiveWire will focus on "urban adventure" bikes.

  • LiveWire will "focus on those new segments that we think we can grow," he said — namely shorter-range rides like the 110-mile S2 Del Mar, which will be released in the spring.
  • Down the road, Harley will develop its own longer-range electric motorcycles with greater capacity to tour the country, Zeitz said.

The impact: Harley's goal is to be "carbon neutral" by 2050, though Zeitz acknowledged that the technology to transform Harley's "core" products into pure EVs will take longer.

Go deeper