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#500 “First Strike” Edition LiveWire – United Way Auction

Harley-Davidson, in conjunction with Bonhams, is auctioning off a one-of-a-kind custom motorcycle and donating the proceeds to the United Way Worldwide’s COVID-19 Community Response and Recovery Fund.

The Milwaukee motor company has previously stepped up in times of crisis; it has contributed to both U.S. and international relief efforts consistently over the years, from support for 9/11 first responders to donations of motorcycles in the Haitian earthquake restructuring. Now with the current COVID-19 pandemic health crisis, H-D is chipping in to raise funds for this moment.

The motorcycle being auctioned is an exclusive version of Harley-Davidson’s electric machine, the LiveWire®, which is customized with a one-off paint scheme and unique graphics package.  This bike wears a full array of carbon fiber accessories including carbon fiber Speed Screen Blade, Tail Section Cowl, and Tank Trim. To mark the historical significance, the never-to-be-replicated motorcycle on auction is number 500 of the 500 “First Strike” edition LiveWire’s and will be signed by members of the Davidson family.

The motorcycle winning bidder and a guest will also be treated to a unique delivery experience and a “behind-the-scenes” tour of the Harley-Davidson Museum, which includes all travel and accommodations to Milwaukee as well as a private, one-of-kind walk-through of the museum.

The auction started yesterday and is being held digitally by Bonhams to follow the CDC’s social distancing guidelines, and will close on May 26 at 4:00pm (EDT).  Bidders can find more information about the auction and prize package at bonhams.com/LiveWire, which is available for participants from the United States.

Thank you Harley-Davidson!

Photo courtesy of Harley-Davidson.

All Rights Reserved (C) Northwest Harley Blog

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Jochen Zeitz with an electric Harley-Davidson LiveWire motorcycle – Photo Credit: Joshua Kurpings

He saved Puma. Now he’s going to fix the Harley-Davidson global business!

I’m talking about Jochen Zeitz, the interim Harley-Davidson CEO.

The motor company today announced that Zeitz has been appointed President and CEO, effective immediately. You might recall that Zeitz assumed the role back in February when Harley-Davidson ditched CEO Matt Levatich for years of disappointing sales.

Before we ratchet up turnaround enthusiasm of new leadership, it might be good to peel back a layer on the mysterious Mr. Zeitz.  I’ve written a detailed background post HERE.

It’s been my experience that business leadership works much differently during a turnaround transformation.  Managers are less able to rely on practices that previously insulated them from criticism. In addition, a traditional consumer goods company is research driven, and don’t typically decide on action until research tells them to change – but the reality is that research doesn’t always tell you what the consumer wants.

Let’s check out some of the Zeitz FACTS:

  • Zeitz is on a combat mission to make the Harley-Davidson business sustainable in a way that improves both society and the natural environment, and that creates economic growth.
  • Zeitz was the driving force behind Harley’s sustainability efforts and approved former CEO Matt Levatich’s desire to “bet the farm” on electric motorcycles.
  • It took 8-years and the work of a thousand engineers to fully realize the LiveWire, the company’s first electric model, that finally went on sale at $30K.
  • Among the entire Harley-Davidson board of directors, there’s a total of ZERO years of motorcycle industry experience.  Coincidentally, ZERO is the top manufacturer of electric motorcycles for the street and dirt.
  • No public (via Google search) photo exist of Zeitz riding a motorcycle, attending a motorcycle rally or HOG event.
  • At Kering, Zeitz was known as the “sustainability Taliban” — Kering employees characterized him as impatient and demanding unrealistic standards.
  • Lack of gender equality on the Harley-Davidson board, yet Zeitz has been a board director and influential member since 2007.
  • Zeitz history of working with unions is murky.  In China workers don’t have the right to Freedom of Association and Asia remains Harley’s strongest sourcing region
  • Zeitz gets the gist of enlightenment after a dialogue with Benedictine monk Anselm Grün – yeah, yeah, you let go of attachments, dissolve your ego, and then you get enlightened and write a book.

Let’s gain some additional insight of the Zeitz thinking from his previous statements; “My belief is that every company has an opportunity to innovate by creating business solutions for services or products that significantly reduce your impact and create more demand for your product.”  “Well, unless you are an extracting business. In that case, you’re a dinosaur and you’re dying.”  The solution is to marry sustainability with growth. “It’s a question of what we grow and how we grow, and how we can reduce our impact significantly and still grow,” he went on to say, “We have to grow within planetary boundaries.

Planetary boundaries?  Huh?

I’m as green as the next fuel/air motorcycle enthusiast, but I had to do a deep dive on this one…  It seems the 11,700-year-long Holocene epoch (“Age of Man”) is the only state of the Earth System (ES) that we know for certain can support contemporary human societies. The planetary boundary (PB) concept, introduced in 2009, aimed to define the environmental limits within which humanity can safely operate.  The planetary boundary (PB) framework contributes to such a paradigm by providing a science-based analysis of the risk that human perturbations will destabilize the Earth system (ES) at the planetary scale.

Whoa, this is heavy!

I would assume that in Harley-Davidson parlance and every day practice, this means that instead of making short-term profits that may incur costs later on (an obvious example being depleted resources leading to higher raw material prices, or social inequalities reducing at-work performances and purchasing power), businesses need to spread some of that growth to the wider world around them, for the sake of the planet – but also themselves.

Who would’ve thought… buy a Harley-Davidson motorcycle for the sake of the planet!

Zeitz might actually be on a path similar to Alfred Ford.  Currently known as Ambarish Das, he is a great-grandson of Henry Ford and heir to the Ford Motor Company who has converted his earthly consciousness to helping build the Temple of the Vedic Planetarium in Mayapur, which was largely funded by Ford’s $35M donation.

I don’t want to appear like I’m self-serving, but as you get gray hair in the beard you tend to focus the “More Roads” plan on which rides you are really trying to accomplish in life.  Maybe it’s time to published a memoir, meet-up in Alachua County, Florida and reflect in one of those “healing” pools.

I hope this transcendental awakening works out for Harley-Davidson.

Photo courtesy of Harley-Davidson.

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Q1’20 Harley-Davidson Retail Motorcycle Sales + Motorcycles and Related Products Segment Results

Let’s jump right to that impressive Q1’20 financial result:

  • Harley-Davidson (NYSE:HOG) posted earnings of $69.7 million compared with $127.9 million in the same period a year ago.
  • The dividend was slashed to 2 cents a share from 38 cents.
  • The motor company is in talks with major U.S. banks to secure $1.3 billion in liquidity.
  • Harley’s U.S. retail sales were down 15.5% compared with the same period a year ago.
  • International retail sales were down 20.7% compared with 2019.
  • Harley’s U.S. heavyweight motorcycle market segment share was down 2.2 percentage points, to 48.9%.

Another quarter, another poor performance from Harley-Davidson, though the market seemed to buy into the promise that this time it will be able to turn things around.

Déjà vu…

Management promising to fix things again by “crafting strategy accelerants” to deliver improved sales and better returns.  However, it admitted that its efforts thus far haven’t worked and also said it was “refining” the plans it had already devised, but it wouldn’t reveal how it was going to achieve them until this summer. Granted the financial problems Harley-Davidson encountered this quarter aren’t necessarily all of its own making, though it hasn’t helped itself along the way.

It’s important to note that the Harley-Davidson trends in the U.S. have been weak for years despite the economy being strong for so long. That is a major problem and the acting Harley-Davidson CEO, Jochen Zeitz, remains vague on what the motorcycle company is going to do to change that dynamic.

The “ReWire” Board

The fact that management chose the term “ReWire”, emphasizing the electric future to describe their refining plans reads like a satirical article in The Onion.  It’s as if CEO, Jochen Zeitz said, “I’ve heard some concerns going around, and I want to impress upon each and every one of you that I’m taking every possible step to ensure that we tap into a market that has traditionally been neglected by motorcycle manufacturers, Harley-Davidson is announcing a new line of motorcycles designed specifically for men.”

The “ReWire” plan consists of five main points:

  • Enhance core strengths and better balance expansion into new spaces.
  • Prioritize markets that matter.
  • Reset product launches and product line-up for simplicity and maximum impact.
  • Build the Parts & Accessories and General Merchandise businesses to their full potential.
  • Adjust and align the organisational structure, cost structure and operating model to reduce complexity and drive efficiency, to set Harley-Davidson up for stability and success.

The ReWire playbook abandons some of the previously ratified “More Roads” plan, but there is so much “CEO Speak” — “designed to address top priority opportunities, drive consistent execution and reset the company’s operating model in order to reduce complexity, sharpen focus and increase the speed of decision making.” — in that investor call its difficult to know what exactly remains “committed” to or what will stop.

Little is certain these days, but there’s one sure thing: in a situation where 30+ million people were laid off or furloughed in the past 6-weeks, people are definitely thinking about their wallets.  And living with ever-present, crushing uncertainty and the knowledge that people all around us are dying isn’t the stimulus to rush out and purchase a new motorcycle.

Let us face facts.  It’s going to be a different world for a while. After all, temperature checks, touch-less payments, masks, wipes, take-out and distancing were not part of the Harley experience before the March closures.

If Harley-Davidson is about anything, it’s about bringing people together. Lots of them. And really, really close — with motorcycle rallies, music festivals, HOG events and all the cross country rides.  Looking at you Sturgis!

The whirlwind of 400,000+ motorcycle enthusiasts half-hearted adherence to CDC guidelines, while gathering all week in a number of local bars, and eating VEGAN-burgers could be viewed as a controlled experiment to determine the virus’s true incubation rate.

I have some gray in my hair and beard, something you will see in a majority of Harley enthusiasts.  I find the idea of a Harley specifically aimed at men deeply patronizing.

Photos courtesy of Harley-Davidson.

All Rights Reserved (C) Northwest Harley Blog

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2020 CVO™ STREET GLIDE®

It’s a slang expression and in general has the meaning of knowing if something is worth the trouble of trying to get it.

And in this case I’m thinking about the MSRP on Harley-Davidson’s 2020 lineup.

In 2019, the 10 models in the touring family: Road King; Street Glide; Road Glide; Road King Special; Electra Glide Ultra Classic; Street Glide Special; Road Glide Special; Road Glide Ultra; Ultra Limited Low; and Ultra Limited had starting prices which ranged from $19,289 to $28,089.  The new 2020 models starting prices range from $19,499 to $28,699.  The three 2019 CVO (Custom Vehicle Operations) models: CVO Street Glide (starting at $40,889); CVO Road Glide (starting at $42,339); and CVO Limited (starting at $43,889). The new 2020 CVO models are priced below.  I’m no Financial Samurai, but that’s getting squeezed!

But wait a minute.  Maybe it’s time to just accept the reason why the average new motorcycle price is so high is because the economy is booming and people seem to have money to spend. If people weren’t cashed up, prices would decline instead of rising to these historical levels.

So, let’s look briefly at the new 2020 models…

2020 CVO™ TRI GLIDE®

Harley-Davidson launched new models and a saddle-bag full of new technologies that are featured on the Low Rider® S model, the all-electric LiveWire™ model, a new CVO™ Tri Glide® model and a “re-styled” Heritage Classic.  Not mentioned in Harley-Davidson’s press release were the models which will not be returning for 2020: the Superlow, 1200 Custom and Forty-Eight Special, the Electra Glide Ultra Classic, the Ultra Limited Low and the CVO Road Glide. Also gone is the Road Glide Ultra, which is officially being replaced by the Road Glide Limited.

The LiveWire motorcycle as previously noted is powered by the all-new H-D Revelation™ permanent-magnet electric motor rated at 105 horsepower (78 kW) and producing 86 ft. lbs. of torque.  You may recall that back in January, Harley-Davidson made a splash at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas, with the LiveWire and stated they would start deliveries of the $29,799 all-electric motorcycle by this fall.  The motorcycle was initially rolled out for “beta testing” back in 2014 to H-D brand fans, but since then, the motor company has been working on fine-tuning the design and overall electrification.  Unlike an internal combustion engine (ICE), the H-D Revelation can produce 100 percent of its rated torque the instant the throttle is twisted, and 100 percent of that torque is always available, resulting in incredible, acceleration for an exhilarating ride. The LiveWire can accelerate from 0-60 mph in 3.0 seconds, and 60-80 mph in 1.9 seconds. And the high-voltage battery provides 146 miles (235 km) of city range or 95 miles (152 km) of combined stop-and-go and highway range as measured using the MIC City and MIC Combined tests.  The H-D Revelation motor is cooled by a water jacket, with coolant circulated through a small radiator, and is positioned longitudinally and low in the chassis to lower the motorcycle’s center of gravity, and aid maneuverability.

2020 Low Rider® S

The Low Rider S focuses first on performance. This motorcycle places emphasis on power, handling, and enhanced rider control, while maintaining the typical character of the Harley-Davidson. The motorcycle employs the Softail chassis, enhanced by premium suspension components tuned for aggressive riding and powered by the Milwaukee-Eight 114 engine.  The Low Rider S is really rooted in the legacy of the Low Rider models of the 1980s, that has a devoted following which spread world-wide from origins in Southern California.  The 2020 Low Rider S model has a base price of $17,999.

The Heritage Classic model has been restyled for 2020 “to give the bike a more appealing and nostalgia look of Harley-Davidson chrome.” The Heritage Classic is powered by the same Milwaukee-Eight 107 powertrain as the 2019 model and retains the same mechanics as its predecessor.  The base price for for the 2020 Heritage Classic is $18,999.

The Road Glide Limited, which replaces the Road Glide Ultra will offer the rider new premium luxury-touring features. The model is intended for long-haul touring and is equipped with the distinctive aerodynamic Road Glide shark-nose fairing with triple split stream vents that limit rider head buffeting. The motorcycle is powered by the standard Milwaukee-Eight 114 engine. The base price for the Road Glide Limited is $28,299.

2020 CVO™ LIMITED

The CVO Tri Glide is the newest addition to the company’s line of premium CVO motorcycles and labeled as the ultimate three-wheel motorcycle.  The trike will uphold the CVO standard for advanced technology, exclusive components, and attention to detail that is expected of CVO’s. The CVO Tri Glide will utilize the Milwaukee-Eight 117 powertrain that is unique to CVO models.

Base price for the 2020 CVO Tri-Glide is $48,999.
Base price for the 2020 CVO Limited is $44,039
Base price for the 2020 CVO Street Glide model is $40,539

The H-D™Connect service rolled out which is a cellular telematics control unit (TCU) that functions as an (LTE) enabled modem connecting the 2020 LiveWire™ and select 2020 Touring models to the cloud.  The service is built on the IBM Cloud and Panasonic’s OneConnect™ service.  It’s a ($12/month fee-based service – FREE 1st year) service that remotely connects the rider to their motorcycle through the Harley-Davidson App via a smart phone.  The built-in cellular connectivity with the IBM Cloud, IBM artificial intelligence (AI), analytics and Internet of Things will enhance the rider’s experience as well as keep the rider in the know with motorcycle status, notifications and alerts.  The press release, web site and product documents note that the service is not available in all markets and availability will vary.

H-D™ Connect

The motor company also launched the new Reflex™ Defensive Rider Systems (RDRS) — unlike previous model years Linked Brembo Brakes with ABS, the new system is a collection of technology designed to match motorcycle performance to available traction during acceleration, deceleration and braking, utilizing the latest chassis control, electronic brake control and powertrain technology.   With features like: Cornering Electronically Linked Brakes, Cornering-ABS, Cornering-Traction Control with modes, Drag Torque Slip Control, Vehicle Hold Control and Tire Pressure Monitoring (TPMS) the motor company upped it’s game to give the rider confidence and control in less-than-ideal situations.  Important to note is that RDRS is not a system to directly influence vehicle direction. This is a key difference between motorcycle RDRS and Automotive Stability Control. The rider is ultimately responsible for speed, steering, and path corrections.  The RDRS features are standard on the 2020 LiveWire, Trike and CVO models, and optional on all 2020 Touring models in the U.S. (except Electra Glide®Standard models).

Boom!™ Box GTS infotainment system has evolved with the latest look, feel and function of mobile phones and tablets and with durability and features designed specifically for motorcycling. Every element has been optimized to enhance the rider’s interaction with the motorcycle and connectivity.  Most notable is the GTS processes faster, has more memory and is much more responsive.  Start-up time is reduced from 21 seconds to 10 seconds,  Time to FM Audio is less than 6 seconds and Route calculation time is reduced from 10 seconds to 2.5 seconds.  The GTS replaces the Boom!™ Box 6.5GT system on MY19 Ultra Limited, Ultra Limited Low, Road Glide Ultra, Road Glide Special, Street Glide Special models, and is a factory-installed option on Street Glide, Road Glide and Ultra Classic models.  What DID NOT change and deserves a shout-out is the current audio sources are maintained: AM, FM, WB, XM, A2DP Bluetooth streaming and Digital Mass Storage compatibility!

Heather Malenshek, Harley-Davidson Chief Marketing Officer stated that “Harley-Davidson offers riders a host of new models, gear and accessories for 2020 as we leverage our unmatched ability to blend style, performance and technology in products designed to elevate the motorcycling experience.

Clearly rider and motorcycle assistance systems are rolling out faster and getting better at Harley-Davidson.  The advance technologies provide incremental improvements and make for inspiring marketing collateral.  But, the picture looks different for more price-sensitive customers when you shine a “Daymaker” headlamp on cost competitiveness.

The accelerating motorcycle costs are a good reminder that whatever you’re going through–whatever financial pressure or squeezing stress–the question at the end-of-day is–is it worth what it produces? i.e., is the juice really worth the squeeze?

UPDATED: October 1, 2019 — Previously neglected to include the role Panasonic Automotive has in connecting Harley riders to their motorcycle through a cellular connection to the telematics control unit (TCU) utilizing Panasonic’s OneConnect™ service. The OneConnect™ service complements the Harley-Davidson App and the new Harley-Davidson Connect service. Together, these systems link LiveWire riders with their motorcycle through their smartphone providing features such as motorcycle status, tamper alerts and vehicle location and service reminder and notifications.

References:
H-D Media Kit: (HERE)
More Roads to Harley-Davidson Plan: (HERE)

Photos courtesy of Harley-Davidson

All Rights Reserved (C) Northwest Harley Blog

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Vectrix Electric Scooter - Police Edition

I’ve been in Las Vegas for the better part of January doing a work gig where 3DTV, Audio/Video equipment and musicians saturate the Consumer Electronic Show.  It’s the largest trade show in the world and is quite the rat race as people grind it out over days of endless announcements and product demonstrations.

It was all there.  From 50 Cent’s launch of his new branded “Sleek” headphones to Lady Gaga’s new high-tech sunglasses that double as a camera.  Even Harley-Davidson got in on the evangelization with a testimonial of Intel’s AIM Suite – a product that anonymously monitors viewer metrics such as age, gender, and attention span in a retail setting.  Ms. White of H-D Canada gave it a glowing report.

While running around with the other 140,000 people attending CES plus the additional 27,000 photo snapping people attending the Adult Entertainment eXpo I was nearly run over by law enforcement on a motorcycle.  An electric motorcycle in fact.  It turns out that the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department recently unveiled the no gas, no noise electric motorcycles at its Convention Center Area Command. These motorcycles were donated by the Consumer Electronics Association and are nearly silent with a top speed of 62 mph.

Lady Gaga - Camera/Sunglasses

The scooters are manufactured by Vectix Corporation who advertise them as the world’s first pure-performance electric maxi-scooter.  On their web site there are testimonials from Police officers who have pushed them to 65+ mph. Clearly not for high-speed chases, but they are being used on “The Strip”, and the convention center – both location some of the most congested areas in the entire state.

 

Vectix Corporation is a well financed and international effort with production facilities in Poland.  They’ve received start-up help from Lockheed Martin, Alcoa and Parker-Hannifin.

There’s a perception that Police scooters make people feel closer to the police by taking away the barrier created by a squad car.  I’m not so sure about how it changes the approachability, but can provide my experience as a person with no criminal intentions… I wasn’t looking for a “stealth officer” on two wheels and the no noise device startled me when I didn’t hear it coming.

Photo courtesy of CEA, Lady Gaga and Vectrix Corporation.

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2010 MotoCzysz E1pc

Congrats to the Portland, Oregon team at Motoczysz (pronounced moto “sizz”) for their recent victory at the Isle of Man TT!

The world’s most advanced electric motorcycle, the 2010 MotoCzysz E1pc won the TT Zero electric race by lapping the Isle of Man at a record 96.820 MPH, just shy of the 100 MPH goal the team was aiming for.  The motorcycle has five individual battery packs on each side which contain 1.25 kWh of energy apiece (10 times the battery capacity of a Toyota Prius), weigh 19.5 Lbs and can be removed and replaced in seconds.  For reference the MPH lap record set by the fastest gas-powered superbikes is 131.5MPH.

The Motoczysz win makes history.  Not only for electric motorcycles, but it’s the first time an American-made bike has won a race at the Isle of Man since Indian debuted a two-speed gearbox in 1911 and only the second time an American rider has finished first there.   Popular Science has an excellent article on the back story HERE.

There is an incredible amount of science and technology that has gone into the design and manufacture of this electric motorcycle.  When will the ingenious inventors and garage tinkers at H-D get involved in this technology?

Photo courtesy of Motoczysz and Amadeus Photography.

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Santosh Electric Pocket Bike

A pocket bike is a miniature motorcycle.  Often referred to as MiniGPX or “mini-moto” and first made popular as ‘pit-bikes’ for drag racers to travel around in the pits during races in the late ‘50s.

These days pocket bikes are available in both gasoline and electric versions with engine’s ranging from 40cc to 50cc.  A typical mini-moto is about ¼ the size of a standard racing motorcycle and there are Pocketbike races across the country on tracks used for kart racing.  There is the Northwest YSR-50 enthusiast HERE or YSR Racing HERE.

Now we have the world’s smallest electric pocket bike.  Apparently the builder felt that the current generation of electric pocket bikes were just too big so they recently introduced Santosh pocket bike is literally quite small.   The bike is just 12 inches high and 18 inches long. The way Santosh pulled off this compressed miracle was to make the battery pack wearable, rather than mounted on the bike which is capable of running at speeds of almost 10mph.

Talk about a little guy speed junkie!  Check out the video if you want to know more.

Photo courtesy of Santosh bikes.

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Brammo_CEO

Craig Bramscher (Brammo CEO) and Oregon Sen. Ron Wyden

Equal treatment from the state and federal government.  It’s a topic that many motorcycle groups and individuals invest a lot of time to ensure.

Whether it’s fighting against profiling of average citizens who ride motorcycles or “anti-gang bills” that defines a gang as “an association of three or more individuals who share a symbol or name either formally or informally.”  Or maybe it’s calling out press organizations who use motorcycle club sensationalism to sell advertising which has the added benefit of isolating the motorcycle riding segment of our population from the mainstream and tries to “criminalize” motorcyclists in the court of public opinion.

But, today economic factors have me advocating on behalf of the motorcycle “Eco-Activist”.  Specifically the manufacturers that make electric two-wheeled vehicles.   They have been largely discriminated against and cannot benefit from the numerous government incentives designed to spur the growth and adoption of electric vehicles.  Remember the Clunker Program?  Motorcyclists need not apply!

However, there are some positive signs with HR 3246, which is called the Advanced Vehicle Technology Act.  The U.S. House of Representatives unanimously passed the amendment giving two-wheel electric vehicles manufacturers access to Department of Energy funding for further development of electric vehicles.  For the EV industry this will allow, for the first time, two wheel vehicles to benefit from federal Department of Energy funding which automobiles enjoy.

Plug IN America was instrumental in getting this legislation passed in the house, but as you may recall a bill must pass both the House and Senate and then be signed by the President.  And while it’s gratifying to see the House of Representative approve and show support for electric motorcycles, the Senate needs to follow suit.  I encourage motorcyclists to take a moment to tell their U.S. Senator’s to support and pass this measure when it comes up to vote. A complete list of Senators and their contact information can be found here.

Photo courtesy of Brammo.  Full Disclosure: I don’t work for or have an investment or ownership in Brammo.

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Siemens & OCC Smart Chopper

Siemens & OCC Smart Chopper

Imagine for a moment an old chopper guy who has a bike totally torn apart.. totally… split cases, gears out of the tranny etc., and is rebuilding the Linkert carb with new gaskets, running new cables and the lot trying to rebuild the bike while making ends meet with the food and electric bills.

Speaking of electric bills, now imagine a highly customized motorcycle that makes only a “whirly” noise when running, but has the ability to scan the rider and identify if there are certain thoughts taking place within the brain, logs the riders intentions before they become actions and informs law enforcement!  Not in my life you say?   Think again.

Siemens (the German engineering company) is a mega-giant in the field of industrial-equipment which few people know about.  They have a deep portfolio of technology as well as significant background in magnetic resonance and MRI medical devices to perform brain scans. It’s well known that researchers have placed volunteers in MRI machines and asked them to decide something while pushing on two different buttons.  Meanwhile in another room scientists are looking at scans of the brain and using the MRI data to figure out what the volunteer intends to do before it is done!  Still a skeptic, then do a “Google” on Bernstein Center for Computational Neuroscience or look up Dr. Paul Wolpe’s work at the University of Pennsylvania.

MRI Brain Scan

MRI Brain Scan

It’s called predictive behavior and wouldn’t you know the sleeveless dudes at Orange County Choppers (OCC) worked with Siemens to develop that highly customized “ecobike”… an electric motorcycle that has zero emissions.  OCC used recycled materials, water-based paint and lots of Siemens’s electric motor technology, LED lights, and high-tech 12-volt batteries. The bike is estimated to go 60 miles before it needs to be plugged in for a charge and can reach speeds of 100MPH.  And while on the subject of ‘intentions’… it’s smart-grid ready and has the ability to tell the motorcyclist when electricity is cheapest.  Siemens calls the bike the “Smart Chopper” and plans to show off their technical prowess at energy/industrial trade shows and conferences over the next year.

Props to Siemens and the Teutul’s!  I previously blogged on a desire to see Harley-Davidson experiment with and showcase their engineering prowess re; electric motorcycles, but clearly they are not listening to my idea of an American motorcycle manufacture investing in this future technology.  I also provided information on the Zero and the Ashland, OR-based company, Brammo, who announced it was selling an electric motorcycle with an estimated 378 miles per gallon and cost $11,995.

Don’t get me wrong, the OCC/Siemens electric chopper is cool enough, but it looks like an industrial-sized MRI machine between your legs! And, what if I’m correct about those “scans?”  Siemens made special arrangements to have a lot of its products used in the bike and what if that “whirly” sound is determining your intentions – reading your mind – as you throttle on the built in wi-fi relays predictive information to some authority?  Maybe my prediction is off a year or two?  But, at minimum this complicated electronic chopper should provide practical applications such as an understanding of subjective thought and help people change radio channels!

Clearly the technology is moving at a pace which gives any ethicists something to think about.  If you ride the “Smart Chopper” and are accused of a crime please contact me for a complimentary consultation.  I’m not an attorney, but I will blog for your best interests and try to help ensure that you are not wrongly punished for thinking!

Photo courtesy of OCC and Siemens.

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