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Harley-Davidson Unveils an Electric Motorcycle

Rider Magazine StaffJune 19, 2014
Harley-Davidson's Project LiveWire is an electric bike that the public will get to ride and evaluate, guiding its future development and viability.

Harley-Davidson’s Project LiveWire is an electric bike that the public will get to ride and evaluate, guiding its future development and viability.

No, it’s not April Fool’s Day, and as far as we know, hell hasn’t frozen over. That headline is true: Harley-Davidson has unveiled an electric motorcycle.

“Project LiveWire is more like the first electric guitar – not an electric car,” said Mark-Hans Richer, Senior Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer, Harley-Davidson Motor Company. “It’s an expression of individuality and iconic style that just happens to be electric. Project LiveWire is a bold statement for us as a company and a brand.”

At this point, the 111-year-old company is just dipping its toe in the electrifed water. Project LiveWire won’t go on sale anytime soon, and Harley-Davidson has released few details about the bike. But the public will get a chance to ride it and provide feedback, guiding the future development and viability of the project.

Harley-Davidson says Project LiveWire “offers a visceral riding experience with tire-shredding acceleration and an unmistakable new sound.”

Harley-Davidson says Project LiveWire “offers a visceral riding experience with tire-shredding acceleration and an unmistakable new sound.”

Starting next week with a journey down Route 66, the Project LiveWire Experience will visit more than 30 Harley-Davidson dealerships by the end of the year. Licensed motorcyclists will get a chance to ride the new bike, while others will get to experience Project LiveWire through the Jumpstart simulator. In 2015, the tour will continue throughout the U.S. and expand into Canada and Europe.

Most electric bikes are eerily silent, but Harley-Davidson’s internal-combustion V-twins are known for their distinctive potato-potato-potato sound, so much so that the company tried to trademark it. Harley-Davidson says Project LiveWire “offers a visceral riding experience with tire-shredding acceleration and an unmistakable new sound.”

“The sound is a distinct part of the thrill,” said Richer. “Think fighter jet on an aircraft carrier. Project LiveWire’s unique sound was designed to differentiate it from internal combustion and other electric motorcycles on the market.”

We’ll find out more when we ride the bike next week in New York City, and we’ll get more details on the bike itself, so stay tuned. Harley-Davidson says the goal of this reveal is to get customer feedback on what they want from an electric bike, and the specs will evolve accordingly if and when the bike goes into production.

To find specific dates and locations for Project LiveWire Experience, visit projectlivewire.com

5 comments

  1. I like the idea. I would love to be one of the first owners. I like the look and think it’s a cool concept

  2. I admire the Motor Co. for making this “move” but at this point there are to many unanswered questions.
    It seems that if you combine this with the Street Line of bikes that Harley sees the future of motorcycling being a Urban endeavor, rather than the open road experience.
    What they seem to miss in all their attempts to lure new riders is the 16 year old boy. The street 500 might fill that gap if the dealers are smart enough to see it as and investment in the future. A diligent kid working over the summer in our grocery store could save enough to make a down payment on his first loan, and make the monthly payment. The problem is the dealers not embracing the bike or the kid wanting.it. The question is do 16 year old boys want to be associated with the bikes of old people (remember 25 is old to a 16 year old).

  3. How would the rider gain the attention so many Harley riders want with the loud exhaust? I believe it will not be a big seller.

    • Harley-Davidson says Project LiveWire “offers a visceral riding experience with tire-shredding acceleration and an unmistakable new sound.”

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