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Reports US

US stock market daily report (June 19, 2014, Thursday)

June 20, 2014, Friday, 05:59 GMT | 01:59 EST | 09:29 IST | 11:59 SGT
Contributed by Millennium Traders

Harley-Davidson, Inc. (HOG-NYSE) announced the unveiling of the first electric HOG, a prototype of a futuristic superbike called LiveWire. The Harley-Davidson LiveWire is an electrified monster, weighing in at 460 pounds, with no need to shift gears and capable of zero to 60 in under four seconds. It accelerates like a ballistic missile and sounds like a jet engine turbine. Jeff Richlen, chief engineer for new products for Harley-Davidson said, "It's a great, kick-ass motorcycle. It just happens to be electric." A hurdle of the LiveWire is the limited range offered by electric motorcycles with batteries that need recharged after nearly 130 miles which can take 30 minutes to an hour. Richlen said, "Some people may get on it thinking, 'golf cart. And they get off thinking, 'rocket ship'."

The electric HOG was unveiled Tuesday at an exclusive preview on a closed runway at the former Marine Corps Air Station in Irvine, CA. In New York at an invitation-only event on Monday, Harley-Davidson will show handmade demonstration of electric motorcycles. Harley-Davidson is world renowned for their big touring bikes and iconic HOG brand. Harley-Davidson dominates the American motorcycle scene with big-bored, heavy-metal horsepower factories, laden with chrome and leather, sold in such variations as the Fat Boy, V-Rod, Road King and Electra Glide.

Matthew Levatich, Harley-Davidson president and chief operating officer said, "As a company, we have always been about strength and freedom and power. So it's really a question of 'why not?' instead of 'why?' This isn't some sort of ploy for us. This is real." Levatich added that he expects Harley-Davidson to become a leader in developing technology and standards for electric vehicles. Levatich also said true growth will require common standards for rapid charging and other features, as well as places for people to plug in. He added that Harley-Davidson expects to play a key role in developing electric vehicle standards and its dealership network could provide charging stations to serve all drivers.

Harley-Davidson will take several dozen motorcycle riders on a 30-city tour to test drive the bikes and provide feedback. Harley-Davidson will use the information gathered to refine the electric bike, which is expected to hit the market in a few years.

Levatich said, "We think that the trends in both EV technology and customer openness to EV products, both automotive and motorcycles, is only going to increase, and when you think about sustainability and environmental trends, we just see that being an increasing part of the lifestyle and the requirements of riders. So, nobody can predict right now how big that industry will be or how significant it will be."

Levatich said, "We've been very silent up to this point about our investment in EV technology... but now that we're public and we're in this space, we expect to be involved and a part of leading the development of the standards, and the technology and the infrastructure necessary to further the acceptance and the utility of electric vehicles."

Harley-Davidson sold more than 260,000 conventional motorcycles during 2013.