WHO: BEN MCGINLEY, 32, A MIAD GRAD WHO JOINED HARLEY-DAVIDSON IS NOW ITS FIRST FULL-TIME DESIGN MANAGER FOR ELECTRIC VEHICLE PROJECTS
LiveWire, Harley’s first electric motorcycle, hit the market in 2019. Do some bikers think it’s sacrilegious for a Harley to not guzzle gas?
“There’s been a lot of positive reaction, even with some dyed-in-the-wool Harley-Davidson people. I was out at Sturgis (one of the largest annual motorcycle gatherings) last year. We did some demo-rides. And it was really awesome to see these guys who you’d think would be gas-and-oil only people come in pretty skeptical, thinking they wouldn’t like it – a lot of them were sure they would hate it, actually – and then after they rode the bike, every single person loved it.”
What’s the point of an electric motorcycle?
It sounds cheesy, but it’s a lot like riding a motorcycle for the first time when you ride a LiveWire. It’s such a pure experience. There’s less distraction. It’s just you and the throttle. You get exactly as much input as you put in. You can hear the tires on the road. You can hear your environment. And of course, it really accelerates like a bat out of hell. I love my gas stuff, too. I’ve got some old bikes. But I was really surprised at how much I ended up liking LiveWire.
How did you first get into designing vehicles?
I always had model kits and stuff. I guess you usually try to follow the instructions, but I would get a little impatient with it. I’d start to kibosh the plans and do it my own way.
What’s next for Harley and electric vehicles?
LiveWire is the first halo product, kind of on the top end (nearly $30 grand a bike). But we’re going to bring it to more accessible price points and genres of motorcycling. We’ve got a lot of exciting stuff that me and the team are working on that broaden the portfolio.