Harley goes electric with Livewire

Harley-Davidson has now officially released information and images on the all-new Livewire which is the firm’s first foray into the world of electric power and also makes it the first mainstream manufacturer to produce an electric motorcycle.

The all-electric Livewire has a 55kW three phase electric motor which produces the equivalent of 74bhp and insiders suggest it has a claimed range of ‘around 100 miles’ although we have not been able to get this officially verified.

The biggest surprise is that traditionally conservative Harley-Davidson has beaten every other major manufacturer to the punch with a fully electric motorcycle; the closest to date is the BMW C-Evolution electric scooter.

What really surprises along with the technology is the styling which is a long way from the standard Harley-Davidson cruiser that is so familiar. There is an LED front light and a modern flat dashboard with a digital display.

The bike features sporty styling aimed at a younger and more urban buyer as the American firm aims to add to the gains it has made in recent years in attracting younger buyers from the 18 to 34-year-old sector. The Livewire has an all-new diecast aluminium chassis, belt-drive along with upside forks, single rear monoshock and a single front brake disc.

Everything about this bike smacks of something that is almost ready for production although Harley are refusing to budge from the unwavering line that this is nothing more than a prototype motorcycle.

There is no clutch as this is a single-speed clutchless twist-and-go style machine for ease of riding. It would appear Harley wants this to appeal to those who may not have much motorcycle experience as well as those who want a city motorcycle that looks cool too.

A 2014 US tour – starting off with a journey down the famous Route 66 – will visit more than 30 Harley-Davidson dealerships now through the end of the year. In 2015, the Project LiveWire Experience will continue in the US and expand into Canada and Europe.

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Andy Downes

By Andy Downes

Former MCN Senior Reporter