November 29, 2022

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Automotive to Us

Keanu Reeves’ Arch Motorcycle company floats idea of electric motorcycle

ARCH Motorcycle Company, founded by Keanu Reeves and Gard Hollinger, is known for its bespoke sport cruiser motorcycle production. But while those bikes have always featured internal combustion engines, the duo behind ARCH recently floated the possibility of adding electric power to their lineup.

ARCH was founded in 2011 after Gard Hollinger, a motorcycle customizer, created a one-off Harley-Davidson for Keanu Reeves.

Reeves had asked his friend to perform the customization work, which eventually led to nearly everything on the bike except for the original Harley engine being replaced.

Enjoying the build and ride so much, Reeves ultimately convinced Hollinger to start a motorcycle production company together. And thus, ARCH was born.

In a recent interview shown in a video posted on ARCH’s site, Hollinger and Reeves sat down to discuss the future of the company. And after a decade of building purely ICE-powered designs, the pair seem open to the idea of exploring electric models in their future.

As Hollinger explained:

“Electric vehicle trends are obvious, and like cars, it is impossible to ignore that electric motorcycles will play an important role and could become the primary drivetrain of choice. I hope, in some way, the internal combustion engine will survive for more years to come given the emotion they can bring to the riding experience.

We live in a time right now where there’s so much discussion about what powers vehicles of the future…and so the idea of being able to develop our own drivetrains – whether that’s electric or internal combustion – I think all of those things are really what make ARCH what it is.”

Reeves added:

“We have a lot of hope and we have a lot of ambition, and desire to create and present something that we love.”

With ARCH mainly focused on cruiser and sport cruiser designs, that could allow the company to be one of the first to market with a true cruiser electric motorcycle – depending how long it takes them.

Most electric motorcycles available in the US are primarily roadster and sport designs. Zero Motorcycles, perhaps the best known US electric motorcycle manufacturer, focuses largely on naked street bikes and dual-sport models.

Energica, an Italian electric motorcycle company that is quickly expanding its presence in the US, also focuses entirely on sport bikes.

Even Harley-Davidson, the epitome of a cruiser motorcycle company, split the gap between cruisers and sport bikes when it rolled out the LiveWire’s roadster design.

While there are some electric cruiser designs in the works, no major brands have brought an electric cruiser bike to production.

harley-davidson livewire electric motorcycle
Harley-Davidson LiveWire electric motorcycle

ARCH certainly has the cruiser expertise, but without the major R&D resources of brands like Harley-Davidson, one has to wonder how ARCH could develop its own electric powertrain. More likely, Arch could partner with existing manufacturers to leverage a complete electric drivetrain that could then be incorporated into ARCH’s own motorcycle designs.

Electric powertrains are much simpler than internal combustion engines (an ICE has hundreds of moving parts, whereas an electric motor has arguably two or three – the rotor and its bearings). But the highly sophisticated electronics needed to control the motor require electric vehicle expertise to develop in-house.

A company like Zero Motorcycles could be a good example of a potential partner. They recently partnered with Polaris to put Zero’s electric powertrain in Polaris’ off-road vehicles, with the new all-electric Polaris RANGER XP Kinetic unveiled as the first model resulting from the partnership.

Polaris’s EVs will all be off-road vehicles, and so it might be a harder sell to put Zero’s drivetrains in what would ostensibly be a direct competitor for electric street motorcycles. Though ARCH’s price tags for its bespoke motorcycles are around 4-5x that of Zero’s, meaning they might not be such direct competitors after all.

What do you think of ARCH’s plan to potentially explore an electric motorcycle? Let’s hear your thoughts in the comments section below.

Oh and if you’re reading this Keanu or Gard, let’s go for a ride sometime and talk more about EVs. There’s definitely room in the market for you guys.

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