Harley-Davidson Goes Electric With The LiveWire



Back in 1994, Harley-Davidson filed a lawsuit to trademark the sound of its V-Twin engine, though after a six-year court battle, Harley withdrew the suit after competitors fought back fiercely. As it turns out though, the Harleys of the future may have an entirely different sound.

This morning the Harley-Davidson LiveWire electric motorcycle broke cover. Yup, Harley Davidson is building and electric motorcycle. Is your mind blown or what?

Though not confirmed as a production model yet, Wired reports that Harley will tour the LiveWire across the country to see if its customers are ready to go electric. The Milawalkee-based motorcycle maker certainly didn’t skimp out, turning to Mission Motors to help design an electric drivetrain goof for 74 horsepower and 52 ft-lbs of torque.

Not earth-shattering numbers, but the Harley can still sprint from 0 to 60 MPH in under 4 seconds, up to an electronically-governed top speed of 92 MPH. That ain’t too shabby, and Harley went to great lengths to keep the LiveWire’s weight down with an aluminum frame and hollow-spoke wheels that Harley claims are among the lightest ever built.

Power comes from a lithium-ion battery pack, though driving range is said to be limited to just 53 miles, with charging taking another 3.5 hours before you’re ready to ride again. But  again, the LiveWire isn’t intended for production. Rather, Harley wants to gauge customer reactions and see what they want, don’t want, and must have in an electric motorcycle. Surely some fans will recoil at the thought of an electric Harley, but others are surely intrigued by a new way to ride in the wind.

Regardless, Harley must have been watching upstart electric motorcycle makers like Brammo and Zero, as well as long-time competitors like Yamaha, gathering steam and making the news cycle for electric motorcycles on a regular basis. As much as Harley fans love the sound of their motorcycles, the instant torque of an electric motorcycle has plenty of appeal too.

I’m ready for an electric Harley. Are you?



About the Author

A writer and gearhead who loves all things automotive, from hybrids to HEMIs, can be found wrenching or writing- or else, he's running, because he's one of those crazy people who gets enjoyment from running insane distances.
  • Drivesolo

    I for one absolutely love it. But…. I’m not a HD fan and I know a few and from what I can tell w/ conversations w/ them about EVs; HD riders and electric motorcycles go together like oil and water. Great move by HD to be thinking about going in the right direction, I hope it succeeds.

  • Sikk.

  • Marc Siry

    ” turning to Mission Motors to help design an electric drivetrain goof for 74 horsepower and 52 ft-lbs of torque.” I’d say a 74 horsepower muscle bike counts as a definite “drivetrain goof.”

    • Multiple rider reports are claiming sub 4 second 0-60 times.

      Duc Diavel and H-D V-Rod are low 3 second, so this is at least in the same ballpark .. and it gets the job done with 74 hp instead of 120-160 hp.

  • UncleB

    The ‘reckoning” has come . . . The 20th century “Glory Days” are truly over . . . America is reluctantly being dragged into the 21st Century and the new Thorium LFTR Nuclear Age from China . . . Asian Cars, Asian bikes and now this: an “Electric Harley!

  • TedKidd

    150 mile range and Supercharger enabled…

  • Wallace

    Love it. Looks bad-as. Gimme a bich pad and I’m a buyer.

  • Robert Fahey

    The future of motoring is going to be awfully quiet: http://teslamondo.com/2014/06/03/and-the-revolution-will-be-very-quiet/

  • Jim Smith

    wow. that is awesome!

  • Day Sleeping Dad

    It probably would have made more sense to release it through Buell instead of HD.

  • QKodiak

    Zero SR anyone? 0-60 mph in 3.3 sec. Put in the optional powerpack when you need to drive a lot, and you’ll get 170 miles at city speeds, 88 miles at interstate speeds. I wish they’d sell an aftermarket aero kit that doubles the range for traveling.

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