Author Topic: Another miss for H-D  (Read 190 times)

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Richard230

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on: October 07, 2019, 11:11:54 PM
You gotta give them credit, when it comes to making bad business decisions, it is hard to beat the Motor Company:https://finance.yahoo.com/news/harley-struggles-fire-generation-riders-102245712.html
2011 Royal Enfield B5 500, 2018 16.6 kWh Zero S, 2016 BMW R1200RS, 2009 BMW F650GS, 2005 Triumph Bonneville T-100, 2002 Yamaha FZ1


Arizoni

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Reply #1 on: October 08, 2019, 12:24:44 AM
The Harley "LiveWire" costs over $29,000?  Thinking a bunch of young riders are going to pay that much has gotta be one of the dumbest ideas I've ever heard of.  IMO, thinking anyone would want to pay that much for an electric motorcycle is dumb.

Makes me glad I don't own any Harley stock.
Jim
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heloego

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Reply #2 on: October 08, 2019, 11:32:39 PM
Hold on there Arizoni.  :o
Think about what the schools have been churning out for the last generation or so. Maybe even HD realizes the old adage "There's a sucker born every minute." Or at least graduated every minute.
$29K is for the BIG suckers.  ;)
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tooseevee

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Reply #3 on: October 09, 2019, 01:28:47 PM
Hold on there Arizoni.  :o
Think about what the schools have been churning out for the last generation or so. Maybe even HD realizes the old adage "There's a sucker born every minute." Or at least graduated every minute.
$29K is for the BIG suckers.  ;)

            You're right. We're churning them out by the millions every new year as they move through our disastrous, Progressive-controlled, so-called "education system" for their first 18 years (IF they graduate at all) then they go on to an even worse system after they "graduate high school" (graduate FROM high school seems to have been done away with) and a third flunk out the first year or take nothing but remedial courses even into the 2nd year with aNOTHer outrageous tuition charge and another "student loan". Universities are making millions (in bloated tuitions) teaching what they should have been taught in high school. For many high school is totally useless because their lower and middle public schools were also useless disasters.

          Many thousands of teachers now are also products of our failed public school and university indoctrination centers and a new crop every year.

             So there are thousands out there who will buy the electric harley as a virtue signal and elitist political statement same as they bought Priuses and Smart Cars. And Smart Water.

              PS: I think it's more like three generations. (it actually started in the early 1900s).



               
« Last Edit: October 09, 2019, 01:31:49 PM by tooseevee »
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Richard230

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Reply #4 on: October 09, 2019, 02:12:05 PM
My oldest granddaughter went to UCLA for two years before finishing her education in Germany because she wanted more of an educational challenge.  She told me that during her freshman year at UCLA she was required to take three quarters of a GE class that taught students about "alternate lifestyles" and "social justice" requirements.  While she got an A in the classes, she said that she hated the classes and was completely sick of hearing about the subject by the time she finished her indoctrination. 

What high school and colleges should be doing is to require a year of education regarding how to manage their money and expenses, along with what they use to call "homemaking".  Of course I would not be surprised if that word is no longer "politically correct".

And speaking of politics, in California educators are doing their best to change history to remove any mention of European history and instead focus on the history of downtrodden and oppressed cultures that have been crushed by global, money-grubbing entrepreneurs and the free market system. All hail socialism and government control of your lives - just like they do in China.   :o
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axman88

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Reply #5 on: October 09, 2019, 06:42:51 PM
This thread went rapidly from simple Harley bashing to bashing of, I guess, millennials? liberal local government?

I'll try to turn it back towards something that might be more on the topic of motorcycles and their evolution, and Harley's Livewire.

Let's do a basic economic analysis of the Livewire vs. another popular gasoline Harley.  I'm choosing the Street Glide, instead of a Sportster, or Street 750, just so things don't come out looking AS bad.

Let's assume that the battery lifetime of the Livewire is going to be 10years, based on my observation that a lot of Prius batteries in 10 year old cars are essentially dead.

 A Harley FLHX Street Glide costs around $22K, and gets around 41 mpg.  Let's say our average rider puts on 5000 miles a year.  Let's say that gas prices average $3/gal now and will creep up to just $4/gal over the next ten years.  I think we can all agree that the average price trend is going to continue to be upward and I think price will only increase as production is reduced in the face of more electric vehicles being introduced.
10 years of riding that FLHX is going to cost 5000 miles / 41 mpg = 122 gallon per year x $3.50 gallon (avg) x 10 = $4270

A diligent owner of this Street Glide is going to get regular oil changes and service.  Let's put in another $200/year for service, probably a low estimate, but this is another $2K over the ten years.  This results in an all up price of ownership after 10 years of $28,270.  I'm guessing that this ten year old bike with 50K miles on it will still be worth $7K to somebody, so when the owner sells it, he'll have spent $21,270.

The Livewire costs $29,800 retail, and lets assume that Harley is getting their full ask price.  There's no gas used, no oil used, and let's assume that the owner charges the bike himself at cost of $1/charge, which is probably high.   Assuming the bike gets charged every 100 miles, that's $50 per year, or $500 over ten years for power.  No oil changes are required, but lets assume that the owner takes the bike in for servicing every three years at $200 per visit, another $650.  At the end of the ten years, the batteries are dead.  Let's assume the Livewire, after 50,000 miles and ten years, has therefore lost most of it's value, and is worth only $2K.  This puts the 10 year cost of ownership of the Livewire at $29,800 + $500 + 650 - $2000 = $28,950

I know that for me, and probably most of you, a bike that goes "whine" is a lot less desirable than a bike that goes "rumble".  But for an owner that doesn't care about such things, and finds it repugnant to use up the earth's declining supply of pickled dinosaur juice, and who hates to add extra carbon to the atmosphere, perhaps spending the extra $768 per year while zipping around on two wheels makes a lot of sense.

This calculation is only going to get more biased towards the Livewire as gas prices continue to increase, which they likely will.  When gas becomes scarce, the value of all the old dinosaur burning machines is going to plunge precipitously.  For right now, Harley could influence a lot more buyers to choose the Livewire, by dropping the price to around $22K.  I wouldn't be at all surprised if HD gets help from some future federal gov't in the form of tax credits for purchase of their electric vehicles.  I for one, think that HD is making smart business moves.  Like it or not, the Street 750 and 500s are their highest volume sellers, because they are popular in markets OTHER than the USA, markets that are growing, not shrinking.


Richard230

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Reply #6 on: October 09, 2019, 10:34:06 PM
Let me toss some other facts into your calculations:  I purchased a Zero electric motorcycle in November 2017.  The state of California gave me a $900 rebate and I received a check for $1,830 from the IRS.  That IRS credit went away that year and it looks like it will not reappear for electric motorcycles, although the CA rebate will continue.  Purchasers of electric cars receive a $7,500 rebate from the state and the IRS still gives a 10% rebate for an electric car purchase, although there may be an upper limit to this generosity.

Gas prices here are now over $4 a gallon for regular, with prices in my area running around $4.30 to $4.60 a gallon.

Because the state feels that owners of electric vehicles (think Teslas) are not paying their fair share of road (gas) taxes, next year they will be hitting up owners of electric vehicles an additional flat $100 per year in registration renewal costs. Unfortunately motorcycles were not exempted from this additional tax as all of the legislators were thinking cars and not motorcycles when the law was passed as Zero couldn't afford an advocate to kiss butts under the state dome when the law was being written.

Zero claims that the batteries in my bike will last for 455,000 miles before dropping to 80% capacity.  I don't believe that for a moment but I am sure that I won't live long enough to prove them wrong.

According to Zero, their power trains should be "commissioned" (synchronized with the electrical controller) every 8K miles. This takes about one hour and another 30 minutes to check the bike over.  Our local labor rate is $150 per hour, which has been increasing about $20 an hour ever year.

The liability insurance premium for my Zero is 15% greater than for my BMW R1200RS.  My guess is that insurance companies are more worried about battery fires than they are about gasoline fires.  ::)

Our electrical rates in California are going up faster than gas prices due to the incompetency of our utility company PG&E, that is now running around northern California shutting down the power to some 800K customers because they are worried about their equipment causing wildfires since they haven't maintained and updated it properly.  I expect big rate increases in the future so that they can make these upgrades and clean up debris along thousands of miles of their equipment and utility lines.  Right now I am paying 23 cents per kWh at the utility's lowest tier rate, which is expected to increase every year for the foreseeable future.

I might add that my Royal Enfield consistently gets 70 mph using regular fuel and I perform all of my own servicing.

I don't know how all this pencils out, but those are the electric motorcycle owning cost facts at the moment.
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Arizoni

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Reply #7 on: October 10, 2019, 01:32:39 AM
Quoting Axman88"s post,
"At the end of the ten years, the batteries are dead.  Let's assume the Livewire, after 50,000 miles and ten years, has therefore lost most of it's value, and is worth only $2K.  This puts the 10 year cost of ownership of the Livewire at $29,800 + $500 + 650 - $2000 = $28,950"

Let me just point out that he ended up with a non-running motorcycle.  When you add in the high price of a giant replacement lithium battery it wouldn't surprise me to see an additional $10,000 added to the cost of ownership.  That makes the cost $38,950, using his numbers.

As for the Zero's claim that the batteries will last 455,000 miles, I'm reminded of those damn LED bulbs I have screwed into some of my lights around the house.
You know.  The ones that the makers brag, "The LED will last for 10,000 years..."
Sure, the solid state LED might last that long but the solid state AC/DC crap inside each bulb that is needed to make the bulb work burns out every 6 months (or less)  around here. :(
Jim
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axman88

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Reply #8 on: October 10, 2019, 06:31:24 AM
Quoting Axman88"s post,
"At the end of the ten years, the batteries are dead.  Let's assume the Livewire, after 50,000 miles and ten years, has therefore lost most of it's value, and is worth only $2K.  This puts the 10 year cost of ownership of the Livewire at $29,800 + $500 + 650 - $2000 = $28,950"

Let me just point out that he ended up with a non-running motorcycle.  When you add in the high price of a giant replacement lithium battery it wouldn't surprise me to see an additional $10,000 added to the cost of ownership.  That makes the cost $38,950, using his numbers.


$2K was the assumed value of the bike if you sell it to somebody ELSE who spends the $10K and then gets a running bike for another 10 years.  But yeah, one could replace the batteries and get another 10 years, with the 2nd ten being the cost of the replacement batteries, plus operating costs.  Replacement cost for a Prius battery is around $1.5 - 2K around here, but I guess that's not a "giant", it is a small car.

Thanks for the extra info regarding your operating costs Richard.  California is a special case in a lot of ways.  Sorry to hear about the new road use tax.  What amount of power do you have to put into your Zero to recharge it?  What prompted you to try an electric bike?

I certainly agree that a Royal Enfield is at the opposite end of the cost spectrum to any of the options we've discussed.  I do all my own bike service also, and if and when I get an electric bike, I'll be doing the service on that too.  Of course, I won't be buying new.


Richard230

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Reply #9 on: October 10, 2019, 02:26:59 PM
My Zero's on-board charger sucks up 13 amps at 120V.  I once rode 150 miles south along highway 35 in the Santa Cruz Mountains, through Bonny Doon and back up Highway 1 along the coast to my home in Pacifica and made it into my garage just as the battery's state of charge meter read "00".  I would say that I averaged about 40 mph for the entire trip. It took 16 kWh, as measured by my Kill A Watt meter and 13 hours, to completely recharge the battery pack.  I won't be doing that again.  Range anxiety got to me.   :'(

I bought my first electric motorcycle 10 years ago. It was a 2009 Electric Motorsport GPR-S, assembled in Oakland, CA, using a chassis made in Thailand by a motorcycle company with the name of Tiger.  EMS then installed an off-the-shelf motor and controller, along with really crappy Chinese-made batteries with the brand name of Hi Power into the chassis.  That bike failed after only 300 miles when their homemade BMS caught on fire. The company bought back the bike and sold me a 2010 GPR-S with a larger golf-cart motor and even more Hi Power batteries.  That one lasted 1200 miles before the batteries started puffing up and died.  I sold that bike's chassis to another sucker who wanted to try again.

In 2012 I bought a new Zero and thought the bike was great.  I really enjoyed riding it.  One fellow took the exact same model that I had and rode it to the southern tip of South America before some part broke that he couldn't repair and then built an electric boat from the electrical power train components.  Anyway, when the 2014 Zero's came out they were about a 50% upgrade from the 2012 bike and so I gave that Zero to my daughter, who rode it until the summer of 2018, when Zero recalled all of the 2012 models due to the possibility of them catching on fire when charging.  So I gave my 2014 Zero to my daughter, who is still riding it a couple of times a week and bought a 2018 Zero S to replace it.

As far as why I wanted to ride electric?  I have bought 45 motorcycles over the past and that is where I spend my loose change.  No cruises, barhopping, or eating out for me. I just like to ride different types of motorcycles and electric power is really easy to ride.  No vibration, no need to warm up, very quiet, no clutch or gear shifting, riding in stop-and-go traffic jams are no problem, always ready to go, and there is no need to wait in line at a gas station. Plus, maintenance and running costs are very minimal. My electric motorcycle has replaced my car for local travel.  Right now I am putting less than 500 miles a year on my 20-year old Saturn station wagon.  :)
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axman88

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Reply #10 on: October 11, 2019, 03:36:54 AM
Thanks for sharing your experience with electric motorcycles, Richard.  That history makes you something of a local expert in the field.  It seems like a good thing that you came to Zero after the few attempts you mention with the imported bikes, Zero seems to be at or close to the forefront of development of the type.  It's an interesting story, from very modest beginnings a little over a decade ago, Zero now has dealerships in most states, and a range of 5 models, starting at around $9K.  You're lucky to be so close to their HQ.

I think I misinterpreted the gist of your original post.  Rather than Harley making a mistake getting into electrics, perhaps you meant they didn't get in early enough?  Why did Harley proclaim that the bikes were targeted to the youth market when it should have been clear from the project definition and the amount of R&D money they were spending that they would be priced too high to sell many bikes to young folks?  Maybe what they should have done, in retrospect, was to make a deal with Zero ten years ago, to build Harley styled and branded bikes and rely on their massive distribution network to establish dominance.

Harley's ridership in this country is certainly not helping the company innovate.  Even the impressive VRod was shunned, and the Street 750 and 500 seem to be almost entirely ignored in the US, although some accounts say it's these are the "most ride-able" Harleys since ever.  It must be frustrating to the creative folks up there in Milwaukee to hear year after year, "You can design anything you want, as long as it's an air cooled 45 degree V twin".  It's quite a predicament, and made all the more difficult by their ridership's insistence on "American made".  I understand that Harley runs union labor factories in the US. 

I hope that Harley survives and even thrives, even if I personally don't ever own any of their products.   It seems ironic that in this era of the return of Triumph, and Indian, and now even Norton, that Harley Davidson should be suffering, but perhaps these things are not unrelated.


tooseevee

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Reply #11 on: October 11, 2019, 01:56:22 PM
"You can design anything you want, as long as it's an air cooled 45 degree V twin".  It's quite a predicament, and made all the more difficult by their ridership's insistence on "American made".  I understand that Harley runs union labor factories in the US. 

I hope that Harley survives and even thrives, even if I personally don't ever own any of their products.   It seems ironic that in this era of the return of Triumph, and Indian, and now even Norton, that Harley Davidson should be suffering, but perhaps these things are not unrelated.

            Did you mean to say "....perhaps these things are not related"?

            And harley has always been a union shop.

           
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Richard230

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Reply #12 on: October 11, 2019, 02:32:30 PM
A couple of years ago Harley started financing a local off-road and ADV electric motorcycle company by the name of Alta Motors - who, among other things were developing a hybrid gas-electric motorcycle for the DOD. Their HQ and factory was located in Brisbane, CA, about 10 miles from where I live. In the sort time that they were manufacturing production motorcycles, they became well respected in the electric motorcycle community. Their quality and performance was at least as equal to Zero, with lower prices, better chassis components, but smaller batteries.  The won more than their share of off-road races against gas-powered motorcycles.

At one point they needed more financing to keep the doors open as their sales had really ramped up and were exceeding their ability to meet the demand.  They needed to upgrade their factory to produce more motorcycles but couldn't obtain bank financing to do so.  Then along came H-D to the "rescue".  They gave Alta a financial line of credit and may have joined the company's board.  I think that was around early 2018. Business really picked up with great reviews of the bikes and lots of dealers jumping on the bandwagon.  Even San Francisco BMW was selling the Alta brand.

Then, without warning, H-D pulled their financial plug, around June 2018.  A month later the Alta Motors had to close their doors, which left all of their customers, owners, dealers and enthusiasts, high and dry. Not long after, H-D announced their new LiveWire electric motorcycle, which sells for twice the price of the road-going Alta, would enter the market. Now it had one less bike to compete for customers' dollars.

Zero's chief engineering development officer used to be Buell's top designer and my guess is that he would never have recommended that Zero accept any buy-out offer by H-D.  "Fool me once, shame on you.  Fool me twice, shame on me."   ::)

I might add that BRP bought the Alta Motor assets, but they are not likely to manufacture an electric motorcycle and will probably use the Alta technology in a range of other types of recreational EV's some day.   ???
« Last Edit: October 11, 2019, 04:12:49 PM by Richard230 »
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