As reported by the New York Times, fewer Americans were buying motorcycles after the 2008 recession. Even Harley-Davidson, the biggest motorcycle manufacturer in the U.S., was experiencing a sales decline in the domestic market (via Reuters). Besides Alta Motors, other electric motorcycle brands such as Polaris and Arc Vector have quietly disappeared from the domestic market in the previous decade. Not to forget, Harley-Davidson’s electric motorcycle, the LiveWire, was a flop, and it’s one of the reasons its CEO resigned (via Business Insider).
According to John McInnis, a former employee at Alta Motors who is now working for Harley Davidson, the biggest obstacle to electric motorcycle adoption is “cultural aspect,” since the older generations favor gasoline vehicles. It could be a while before electric motorcycles become mainstream, but electric bicycles have become more popular –- and even automakers such as Ford have ventured into the e-bike business. As for Alta Motors, we think it’s not coming back considering that the company that bought its intellectual property (BRP) has no interest in reviving it.