Video: Jay Leno Drives Project LiveWire

The first electric motorcycle was patented more than 100 years ago, and for a brief time in the early 20th century electric motorcycles enjoyed widespread popularity. Jay Leno is a lover of all thing innovative and mechanical, and the Harley-Davidson Project LiveWire electric motorcycle struck a chord with the legendary funnyman.

Leno was given the chance to talk with Ken Ostermann from Harley to discuss what makes Project LiveWire so special. Though not intended for production, LiveWire is meant to get feedback from Harley fans on what they like, and what they want from an all-electric Harley. That’s what Harley is taking Project LiveWire on a nationwide tour to give customers a chance to experience the bike for themselves.

Basically, Harley is trying to figure out what people want in terms of range, power, and driving experience from electric motorcycles. This feedback will ideally be used to built a competitive electric motorcycle that can compete with startup brands like Zero and Brammo.

Leno gets a chance to play with the cool touchscreen feature that offers a wide range of options to cycle through. The real payoff is his extended test drive though, where Leno describes the noise-free ride as being like “one with the wind” and “quite pleasant”. His prediction; once an electric motorcycle wins the Isle of Mann TT, and celebrities start buying more electric motorcycles, their popularity will skyrocket.

Project LiveWire is one mean-looking motorcycle, and besides his quibble with the 53-mile range, I imagine Leno will be one of the first in line to buy a production version of an electric Harley.

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.