On June 13, 2016, Autoblog posted an article about Harley-Davidson’s venture into electric motorcycles - production harley davidson electric motorcycle 5 years report. When it comes to pushing the R&D envelope The Motor Company does a pretty good job—and for the most part, pushing is good. A company that doesn’t try to increase market share by reaching out to different sectors is a company in the process of rotting away. But an electric Harley? It almost sounds like a contradiction of terms?
Well, it’s true. The LiveWire™ exists and it seems like HD is going to move forward with it in the very near future. You can see it, and maybe just as important hear it, by checking out Cycle World’s review https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vuhPZTrSmBw .
As far as looks, the LiveWire™ has it. At first glance you can see the V-Rod influence making the jump from thumper to hummer a little easier to take. Though, to make that jump successfully, Harley engineers have to do more than find another great profile. Making an electric motorcycle look good is one thing; making it handle well and giving it some power is quite another. Notice that in the video: a test rider is taking off from a standstill with just a twist of the wrist (no clutching visible). So it seems like the bike really has some torque off the line, but I think the tire screeching you hear in the video is in part, attributable to the white road paint, not horsepower.
Along with power, range is just as important. Going 0-60 in four seconds is great. Having to spend the next hour at a charging station doesn’t sound so appealing, but I’m sure HD engineers are working on that. Imagine the frustration of having to find a charging station every 100 miles or so. I guess if you’re just looking for something to run errands on, then it might work . . . but don’t they already have scooters for that?
Regarding the environment, I’m not going to argue the benefits of electric vs. gas because as of today, everything from batteries to the original source of electricity is not completely resolved. But I will argue the importance of sound. HD always pays close attention to this nuance and while the LiveWire™ isn’t a potato-masher, it does sound uniquely Harley. Think jet turbofan without the afterburners.
Overall, I think The Motor Company is on the right track and when they figure it all out, they need to start thinking about a touring bike.