Harley-Davidson Announces Plans for Electric Motorcycle [VIDEO]
Harley-Davidson motorcycles have long been known for their large gasoline engines and loud, rumbling exhaust notes. Now, after more than 100 years since the company's founding, Harley-Davidson will be producing their first-ever electric motorcycle in what they call "Project LiveWire".
It is hard to imagine seeing a Harley on the street without hearing it too, but thanks to the all-electric motor in this new bike, there is not even a need for an exhaust pipe. Many people are inclined to assume that this bike would behave like other two-wheeled, electrically powered vehicles, which up until now have consisted of almost nothing but scooters, often barred from riding on freeways due to their low top speed. That is not the case with this motorcycle, however. The 0-60 acceleration time takes around 4 seconds, an impressive feat for a vehicle so eco-friendly.
"Some people may get on it thinking, 'golf cart,'" lead engineer Jeff Richlen said to the Associated Press. "And they get off thinking, 'rocket ship.'" This is largely due to the fact that electric drivetrains have no need for gear shifts, and power is smoothly delivered to the rear wheel.
Most electric vehicles suffer in range, however, and this electric bike is no different. Riders of this bike will need to recharge their battery every 130 miles or so. While this limited distance would prevent the bike from making a practical highway cruiser, it would be perfect for in-town commutes. When the time does come to charge the battery pack, it can be expected to take between 30 minutes and one hour.
Project LiveWire is a somewhat risky venture for Harley-Davidson, but they are optimistic of the electric bike's future. "We think that the trends in both EV technology and customer openness to EV products, both automotive and motorcycles, is only going to increase, and when you think about sustainability and environmental trends, we just see that being an increasing part of the lifestyle and the requirements of riders," Harley-Davidson President Matt Levatich said to the Associated Press. "So, nobody can predict right now how big that industry will be or how significant it will be."
Harley fans are already divided on the new bike, but only time will tell how successful it is. The bike has no official release date so far, and it could be a few years before the new motorcycle hits sale floors. The official release date will likely be dropped at the bikes unveiling set for New York City on Monday, June 23.
For more information on Harley-Davidson's Project LiveWire, check out the Harley-Davidson website.
Here's a video of the concept bike from Harley-Davidson:
Information from the Associated Press used in this report