Harley-Davidson has been building loud, gas guzzling motorcycles since 1903. 101 years since developing its first motor-powered bike, the company is striking out with its first-ever electric motorcycle called LiveWire. Not only does it look like an electric biker’s wet dream, LiveWire can go 0-60 in less than four seconds and sounds like a fighter jet and banshee combined.
Electric vehicles are known for being whisper quiet, but that wouldn’t be right with a Harley-Davidson chopper. In place of gas explosions making a racket, the LiveWire produces a high-pitched whir with its V-twin electric motor. To back up the noise, the LiveWire offers up 74 horsepower and 52 foot-pounds of torque to reach a top speed of 92 mph. The bike also has a lithium-ion battery with a range of 53 miles to the charge that takes 3.5 hours to top back up when plugged into a 220-volt system.
Harley-Davidson engineers speaking with Wired said the hardest part about building the bike was figuring a way around its heavy battery. LiveWire’s builders essentially had to cut down the chaff everywhere else on the bike from a cast aluminum frame that weighs just 14 pounds to hollow spoke wheels made of the lightest aluminum Harley-Davidson has ever produced. On the plus side, LiveWire requires no exhaust system, which helps to lighten the load and make the bike sleeker. But don’t think this bike won’t scream when it reaches fast speeds.
The only sad thing about all this is no one will be able to buy one outright. Instead, the e-motorcycle seen above is one of the few dozen prototypes Harley-Davidson built to tour 30 cities across the United States in an initiative called Project LiveWire. During these pit, stops potential customers can test ride the new bikes and provide feedback on the electric chopper.
The tour kicks off in New York next Monday, June 24, 2014, after which it will head to Boston and then Philadelphia. Harley-Davidson plans to announce more tour cities next week and next year it will come to yet more cities in the U.S., Canada, and Europe.
Via The Verge
Images © Harley-Davidson