Photo (cc) by Matt McGee
The unique rumbling growl of a Harley-Davidson motorcycle distinguishes it from other two-wheelers. But Harley’s new hog is silent, until it takes off at least, and then it’s said to hum like a jet engine.
The Milwaukee-based motorcycle company recently introduced LiveWire, its first electric motorcycle. “The debut marks a dramatic departure for the 110-year-old motorcycle company, which is hailed or hated for its powerful engines, loud exhaust pipes and brash rebel attitude,” the Los Angeles Times said.
Harley hopes the sleek, new ride will appeal to a younger, more urban crowd. Electric motorcycles are a better fit for shorter trips because their batteries have to be recharged. The bike has a push-button ignition, lithium-ion batteries and zero emissions. Riders won’t have to shift gears. The LAT said:
It’s an electrified monster. Lean, bare and bold in its styling, the LiveWire weighs in at 460 pounds and is capable of zero to 60 in under four seconds. It accelerates like a ballistic missile and sounds like a jet engine turbine.
“It’s a great, kick-ass motorcycle,” said the company’s chief engineer for new products, Jeff Richlen. “It just happens to be electric.”
While this electric vehicle development venture may seem risky for Harley – a company known for the look, feel and sound of its V-twin engine – Harley president Matt Levatich thinks it’s a risk worth taking. According to The Associated Press:
“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,” Levatich said.
LiveWire isn’t for sale yet. Harley hasn’t announced a release date or a price for the bike. The LiveWire bike is on a 30-city U.S. tour, where riders are test-driving the motorcycle and giving the company feedback.
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