Published on October 22nd, 2018 | by Nicolas Zart0
Thorny Partnership With Harley Davidson Leaves Alta Motors Behind
October 22nd, 2018 by Nicolas Zart
We’re still trying to find out what happened at Alta Motors, but the company sent a press release last week informing us it is closing its doors.
What Happened To Alta Motors?
Alta Motors was seemingly doing well a few months ago, despite some financial struggles. It felt the company would find investments without much difficulty after winning so many races. Apparently not.
Has it completely folded? We don’t know yet.
Last we spoke with the team, Alta was expanding its reach, hiring, and doing what it does best, winning races. We also wrote how, against all odds, Alta Motors won the last Supercross race in Geneva, Switzerland, with a customer’s previous-year Alta motorcycle. It introduced its new version the Redshift EXR just a few months ago.
The company had partnered with Harley-Davidson. We hoped it would give the Harley-Davidson electric Limewire a lending hand, and vice versa. It turned out to be a different story. Asphalt & Rubber writes: “Today’s news comes after a story we published where the business relationship between Harley-Davidson and Alta Motors began to fall apart, which included further investment from the Bar & Shield brand into Alta Motors, and was dog-eared for the company’s next electric motorcycle platform.”
Next Step For Alta Motors?
It’s hard to imagine Alta Motors can fold, especially after producing highly focused electric motorcycles that won many races. Furthermore, it had 50% growth quarter to quarter in 2018, 1,000 units sold in 2018, a 300 unit backlog, and a network of 70 dealerships. It is hard to imagine no modern VCs snapping up that low-hanging fruit.
It would be easy to blame Harley-Davidson for the demise of Alta Motors after opening its own “research & development” center in San Francisco, where Alta Motors is headquartered. But we’ll wait for more information before dishing out that kind of judgment.
The story is as old as life itself. Startup finds a niche, focuses, and wins. Startup looks for more financial investments, partners with an archaic maker, and still struggles.
In a decade of covering EVs, I’ve now watched three excellent companies struggle, some to their end. AFS Trinity was deliberately kept away from the public and car shows by carmakers. CODA had a great technology and its only “problem” was that the car looked old. And now, Alta Motors is the last one in a line of great technology, great results, and a complete lack of financial enterprise from venture capital groups.
Stay tuned as we find out more and wait on answers from the Alta Motors team.