Harley-Davidson Goes Electric With The LiveWire

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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?

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Christopher DeMorro

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.