Project LiveWire: Harley-Davidson’s First Electric Bike
Photos & Video: Courtesy of Harley-Davidson
Harley-Davidson. Electric bike. Yeah, those phrases do go together. Color us all surprised, but the Motor Company has been on a roll lately, innovating it’s inventory with more than trim styles and fancy marketing techniques. The Dark Custom line, the small Street, those surprises have been leading up to what H-D is calling “Project LiveWire” - an eBike with muscle, mass, and sex appeal. At least that’s what the photos tell us. Harley knows it’s a stretch for its current consumer base, but as the Motor Company moves into the 21st century, reaching out to a new audience, it also knows that tradition needs to be, if not broken, built a new. So along with this concept bike, H-D is taking it to the public to get person to person input before they launch this live wire.
Select cities across the U.S. will host Project LiveWire for actual test rides. The “Experience Tour” launched on June 24 in New York, and will go to Milwaukee, WI, Philadelphia, PA and Boston, MA before the month is over, with more than 25 additional stops over the rest of the year. Any licensed rider can take a 20 minute test-ride and provide feedback. For more info, check out the website: Project LiveWire
For those outside of the launch radius, Harley will also be running Jumpstart, a simulated experience also aimed at soliciting rider feedback.
On of the oft-cited issues motorcyclists have with ebikes is the sound, and H-D has kept that in mind. “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.”
The bike 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.”
HDForums.com got a look at the bike and has some insight into how it works:
“How does a motorcycle with no transmission, clutch, or exhaust run? First off is the selection between “Power Mode,” for a harder accelerating, bar-hopping experience with a 30-mile charge or “Range Mode” with a 53-mile charge, but sacrifices acceleration. It takes 3.5 hours to recharge from a 220-volt charger and during riding when you let off the throttle the bike automatically takes that kinetic energy and recharges the battery. Electric motors have instantaneous torque, accelerating LiveWire to a 0-60 of 4 seconds flat, but it tops out at a disappointing 92 mph.”
So an eBike, a crowd-sourced project, and aggressive marketing campaign? The Motor Company certainly has its eyes on the prize - future riders who love the growl of a Hog, but also want to be part of an innovative, aggressive and cool new ride.