Harley-Davidson has been granted a patent for a motorcycle design that features an electric motor as the main power source. The motor is integrated into the frame of the motorcycle, with the motor case acting as a stressed member between the main frame and the swingarm. The swingarm is connected to the motor case, allowing for a pivot axis that is aligned with the motor axis. The design also includes a front wheel supported by a front fork and a rear wheel drivably coupled to the electric motor. The patent also mentions the use of a drive sprocket connected to the output shaft of the motor to drive the rear wheel. GlobalData’s report on Harley-Davidson gives a 360-degree view of the company including its patenting strategy. Buy the report here.

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According to GlobalData’s company profile on Harley-Davidson, direct injection type engines was a key innovation area identified from patents. Harley-Davidson's grant share as of September 2023 was 72%. Grant share is based on the ratio of number of grants to total number of patents.

The patent is granted for a motorcycle frame design

Source: United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO). Credit: Harley-Davidson Inc

A recently granted patent (Publication Number: US11708126B2) describes a motorcycle design that incorporates an electric motor as the propulsion system. The motorcycle includes an electric motor with an output shaft that drives the rear wheel to propel the vehicle. The front wheel is supported by a front fork, and the rear wheel is supported by a swingarm. The frame of the motorcycle includes a head tube for the front fork and swingarm mounts for the swingarm to pivot coaxial with the motor axis. The output shaft of the electric motor has an extended portion connected to a drive sprocket, which drives the rear wheel through an endless drive member.

The patent also describes various features of the motorcycle design. One of the swingarm mounts is integrally formed with the case of the electric motor, while the other is formed separately. The case of the electric motor serves as a stressed member of the frame, providing structural support. The frame includes a backbone and a front down tube, both of which are secured to the outer periphery of the electric motor case. The output shaft of the electric motor has diameter reductions at different portions, and it is supported by first and second bearings flanked by the swingarm mounts. The second bearing, located on the drive side with the drive sprocket, is larger than the first bearing.

Additionally, the patent describes the use of a belt as the endless drive member in the drivetrain. The swingarm pivot axis is concentric with the axis of rotation of both the drive sprocket and the rotor of the electric motor. The forward end of the swingarm is supported by the electric motor case with bearings, and the swingarm mounts are provided directly by bosses on the case. The case of the electric motor also serves as a load-bearing member between the swingarm mounts and the main frame of the motorcycle. The patent further mentions the inclusion of a battery pack positioned between the electric motor and the head tube, with the battery pack inclined forwardly to extend straight between the two components.

Overall, this patent presents a unique motorcycle design that incorporates an electric motor as the propulsion system and utilizes the case of the motor as a stressed frame member. The design includes various features to ensure proper support and functionality, such as swingarm mounts, bearings, and a drivetrain with a drive sprocket and an endless drive member.

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GlobalData, the leading provider of industry intelligence, provided the underlying data, research, and analysis used to produce this article.

GlobalData Patent Analytics tracks bibliographic data, legal events data, point in time patent ownerships, and backward and forward citations from global patenting offices. Textual analysis and official patent classifications are used to group patents into key thematic areas and link them to specific companies across the world’s largest industries.