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Harley-Davidson Testing the Waters for Electric Motorcycles

Harley-Davidson Livewire Concept Electric Motorcycle
Harley-Davidson Livewire Concept Electric Motorcycle

Given that electric vehicles seem to be inevitable, which also makes electric motorcycles inevitable.

Actually, this isn’t the first electric motorcycle on the market, such as Brammo and ZERO, among others, providing some pretty impressive bikes, at least when it comes to performance. Weight, of course, has a lot to do with it, making range a questionable target to reach. Perhaps less expected is the source of this latest electric motorcycle concept: Harley-Davidson. Perhaps we know Harley-Davidson for producing what could be deemed the Cadillac of the motorcycle world, but the Harley-Davidson Livewire Project isn’t just another of the same.

The Livewire Project isn’t even a production model, or even an electric motorcycle test-bed, but to test the waters with Harley-Davidson’s very particular fan-base. After all, what makes a Harley-Davidson, but its instantly-recognizable design and stance, and would it be a Harley-Davidson without its distinctive engine song? Remember, an electric motorcycle would essentially be limited to an electric-motor whine, and engine sound is just one of the many things that separates Harley-Davidson motorcycles from the import so-called “rice-burners.”

Of course, a Harley-Davidson electric motorcycle would still be “All-American,” but will people take to it? For now, the Livewire project is mostly for looks, but some concept specifications might seem a little disappointing. From a performance standpoint, the bike’s AC induction motor generates just 74 hp and 52 lb•ft of torque, pretty much the same as the cheapest Sportster 883, except that the Sportster has a five-speed transmission to make best use of the torque. Also, the Livewire has just 53 miles range and a top speed of 92 mph.

Still, this is a nice-looking ride from Harley-Davidson, the first electric motorcycle from an original American motorcycle manufacturer. I’m thinking maybe the company should reconsider its single-speed transmission, as a multi-speed gearbox would make better use of the small electric motor they fitted the concept with.

Image © Harley-Davidson

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