Some years ago, the thought of an electrically-powered Harley-Davidson bike would’ve been considered blasphemy. However, in 2015 the traditional American motorcycle maker shocked us all when it brought the all-electric Project LiveWire prototype. While it wasn’t supposed to be a production motorcycle, it garnered a lot of interest and showed off just how modern Harley-Davidson can be when push comes to shove. Now it seems the shove is right around the corner.
Bill Davidson, great-grandson of the company’s founder William Davidson, and VP of the Harley-Davidson museum, recently stated that an electric motorcycle project in the company was progressing well and that electric bikes would be launched eventually, although he did not comment on a timeline for such a launch. The Milwaukee-based company plans to launch 100 new models over the next 10 years, so it would be safe to assume that such a bike, or series of bikes, would be part of this upcoming line-up.
Davidson also lamented the fact that moving to electric would mean losing one of the company’s signature elements – the typical “potato-potato” engine note from its push-rod-operated V-twin motors. However, he mentioned that the engineers at Harley-Davidson were working hard to ensure a distinct note from their electric motorcycle that sounded cool. And with the LiveWire, what they’ve been able to achieve is what they describe as a “jet fighter noise”. The company has been very clear that even its electric bikes will carry a personality and design that would make it immediately recognisable as a Harley-Davidson.
While there have been no details revealed about this upcoming electric motorcycle, it’s clear that the Project LiveWire bike was meant to serve as a technology demonstrator. And as such, the LiveWire bike packed a liquid-cooled electric motor that was good for about 75hp of peak power and 70Nm of torque, putting it on par with the company’s own Sportster range. The 7kWh battery pack the bike had was good for a range of about 85km and could be charged in a couple of hours.
You can read about our first ride experience of the Project LiveWire here.