Iconic motorcycle manufacturer Harley-Davidson (IW 500/183) is taking the electric vehicle market for a spin.
The Milwaukee-based company on Thursday unveiled its first electric motorcycle. The bike, dubbed Project LiveWire, marks a drastic change for Harley, a brand known for its signature loud and powerful motorcycles.
"It’s an expression of individuality and iconic style that just happens to be electric," said Mark-Hans Richer, senior vice president and chief marketing officer. "Project LiveWire is a bold statement for us as a company and a brand."
The LiveWire has 74 horsepower, 52 foot-pounds of torque and a top speed of 92 mph with a range of 53 miles.
So, it's not the fastest. It's not the most powerful. And it will need recharged after an hour.
But it's an electric motorcycle! An electric motorcycle made by the rough-and-tumble Harley.
It begs the questions: If Harley can do it -- Harley with its commitment to "personal freedom" and its penchant for rugged individualism – can't everyone? Won't everyone?
"America at its best has always been about reinvention,” said Matt Levatich, president COO, Harley-Davidson Motor Company. “And, like America, Harley-Davidson has reinvented itself many times in our history, with customers leading us every step of the way. Project LiveWire is another exciting, customer-led moment in our history."
The LiveWire is still a prototype. It will be defined through feedback Harley collects during the Project Livewire Experience tour – an international two-year tour during which customers can ride and comment on the new electric bike.
Project Livewire Experience kicks off June 24-25 in New York City, before heading to Boston June 27-29 and Philadelphia July 17-1. The rest of the tour will be announced in the coming week.
The LiveWire is a stark departure from Harley's V-Rod or Road King. But it still has a unique sound, although not the sound riders have come to associate with Harley.
"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."
Listen for yourself: