When news broke out last year that Harley-Davidson had made an all-electric bike, there was a massive uproar in the biking community. How could the manufacturers of the world’s most iconic choppers and cruisers do this? How dare they sully the good name of Harley-Davidson with an electric vehicle? It was blasphemous. Once the frenzy died down and people got a look at the bike though, they were simply awestruck. The engineers and designers over at Harley had pulled off the seemingly impossible – they had made an electric bike that looked jaw-droppingly gorgeous and even managed to produce a brilliant sound that reminds you of a X-Wing from Star Wars!
Named the Project LiveWire, HD’s venture into the future technology of electric vehicles isn’t a commercially available model as yet (sorry guys). ‘So why did they make it then?’, you ask. The LiveWire was made to act as a base model for all future electric bikes by Harley-Davidson. To ensure that customer satisfaction is the first priority, Harley-Davidson initiated a tour across 30 cities in USA named Project LiveWire. During this tour, HD invited bikers to test ride the LiveWire and provide their feedback and what they expect from an electric Harley.
After receiving feedback from nearly 15,000 customers in 2014, Harley-Davidson then went international, with Project LiveWire making an appearance in Malaysia, UK, France, Germany, Italy and the Netherlands. In the words of Mark-Hans Richer, CMO Harley-Davidson, “Project LiveWire has reset expectations about what a Harley-Davidson motorcycle can be. The first phase of the Project LiveWire Experience tour provided valuable feedback about the features and experience riders expect from an electric Harley-Davidson motorcycle. This year we’re expanding that experience to a global audience to gain even deeper insights from riders to help us shape the future direction of this exciting technology.”
The LiveWire is powered by a V-twin electric motor instead of the conventional gasoline-fueled powerstations that are usually found on a Harley. The motor produces 74 hp and 52 foot-pounds of torque that propel the bike from 0 to 100 kmph in an astonishing 4 seconds and the LiveWire further goes on to hit a maximum speed of 160 kmph. A Lithium-ion battery, with a range of 53 miles (85 kms) that takes around 3.5 hours to recharge from empty to full, supplies power to the electric motor.
In terms of design, the HD LiveWire is simply beautiful yet striking to look at. It was even the vehicle of choice for Black Widow (played by Scarlett Johansson) in Avengers: Age of Ultron. The hardest part of building the bike, according to harley’s engineers, was finding a way around the heavy battery. They solved this problem by using a cast aluminum frame weighing just over 6kgs and hollow-spoke wheels made from the lightest aluminum ever produced by Harley-Davidson.
All in all, the LiveWire is a brilliant bike that is surpassing expectations and looks to set a new standard in electric bikes. If this prototype is anything to go by, we can’t wait for the first commercially available e-bike from Harley-Davidson which will surely bring about a revolution in the future of motorcycling.
It will undoubtedly be a while before an electric Harley-Davidson reaches the Indian market. Until then we’ll have to make do with the conventional, petrol-powered Harley’s which are quite brilliant in their own right. If you want the experience of riding a Harley-Davidson but can’t afford to buy one (which is the case for most of us), you can now rent one at affordable rates from Wheelstreet and create a biking memory to last you a lifetime.
This article is brought to you by Wheelstreet – India’s first bike rental platform.