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But Is It Still a Hog? Harley Has an eBike

June 20, 2014 in Electric Drive, EVs by Rich Piellisch  |  No Comments

Harley-Davidson Is to Unveil a Battery-Electric Motorcycle
With Unique Sound: ‘Think Fighter Jet on an Aircraft Carrier’

Citing a “customer-led product development approach,” Milwaukee-based Harley-Davidson is taking the wraps off of a 100% electric motorcycle, and is taking the battery bike on a national tour dubbed Project LiveWire.

'Like America, Harley-Davidson has reinvented itself many times.'

‘Like America, Harley-Davidson has reinvented itself many times.’

“Project LiveWire is specifically designed for the purpose of getting insight into rider expectations of an electric Harley-Davidson motorcycle,” the company says.

“Like America, Harley-Davidson has reinvented itself many times in our history, with customers leading us every step of the way,” company president and COO Matt Levatich said in a release.

‘We’re Serious About This Technology’

The battery bike “shows the world that we’re serious about this technology,” says chief engineer Jeff Richlen.

Harley is using a three-phase AC induction motor, longitudinally mounted with a gear box and two belts to deliver 74 horsepower with 52 foot-pounds of torque to the rear wheel. Acceleration is zero-to-60 in under four seconds.

A lithium ion battery is expected to yield range of about 53 miles – adequate for the demo machine. “This bike is not about range,” Richlen told F&F. “It’s about an amazing experience on a Harley-Davidson electric vehicle.”

Likened to the Birth of the Electric Guitar

“Project LiveWire is more like the first electric guitar – not an electric car,” senior VP and chief marketing officer Mark-Hans Richer said in the LiveWire announcement. “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.”

RPStratThe “Project LiveWire Experience” will allow customers to test ride the battery bike, provide feedback and learn more about the story of the motorcycle. The tour will hit more than 30 Harley-Davidson dealerships in the U.S. through the end of the year and in 2015 will expand into Canada and Europe.

“In just the last few years, we’ve broadened our reach to serve an increasingly diverse society, as well as reinvented our approach to product development and manufacturing,” Levatich said.

Harley Is Seeking EV Engineers

Harley promises “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.”

The Project LiveWire Experience Tour gets under way in New York City June 24-25 with a second stop at the Harley-Davidson Museum in Milwaukee June 26-29.

Harley is hiring too. According to the LiveWire website, “We are looking for experienced EV engineers who share the pioneering spirit of the four young founders who started this company more than a century ago by putting a motor in a bicycle frame.”

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Source: Harley-Davidson with Fleets & Fuels follow-up

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