Harley-Davidson To Debut All-Electric Bike

The automotive world is going electric and Harley-Davidson is following suit, but petrolheads think this just goes against everything that the marque stands for. Guest writer, MAC, reports.

I can hear the low groaning noise from all of those freewheeling motorcycle purists already because there is something simply wrong about the king of the open road building something that doesn’t have a low grumbling soundtrack to go along with it – there is something wrong if it’s a Harley and it doesn’t have a growling lump of V-shaped metal throbbing at its very heart.

For those of you who are old enough, can you imagine Erik Estrada or Larry Wilcox looking cool and macho in the TV series CHiPs as the portrayed California Highway Patrol officers riding on this:

The all-electric Harley-Davidson may look sexy, but then Harley-Davidson has never really been about sexy. When you think Harley, you don’t think of bronzed hunks cruising along the Riviera on a bright and breezy sports bike with a perfect tan, perfect teeth and a pretty lady sitting on the back. No, you think rough, tough bikers in leathers, with unkempt hair and…well, you get the picture.

So, what the heck does Harley think they are doing messing with the legend? At present, there are no plans to put the electric-powered bike on sale. Instead, the firm will select customers from all over the USA to ride it and provide feedback. Like all Harleys, this particular version has been given a name – there was a pre-existing model dubbed the Electra-Glide, so this one is being called Project LiveWire, although many think it should be called Project D.O.A. as it is about as close to Harley heresy as you can get.

All the freedom of the open road as long as you can find a place to plug it in…

‘Project LiveWire is more like the first electric guitar – not an electric car,’ said Mark-Hans Richer, senior vice president at 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.’ Don’t worry, I don’t understand that statement either.

Feedback from the Harley-Davidson Riders Club of Great Britain suggested a degree of cynicism. Dave Scott said, ‘It looks OK but I’d need a real engine in it.’ Another member asked how safe it would be, ‘For an electric bike it has a good look, but I can’t help but think a silent bike is a recipe for disaster on our ever increasingly busy roads.’

If you want to see this two-wheeled aberration, then you will have to live somewhere along the old Route 66 in the USA as this is where the selected customers will get to ride the test bike as it visits some of the 30 Harley-Davidson dealerships along there between now and the end of the year.

The real Electra-Glide, this one eats petrol for breakfast and has a hairy chest!

image: Harley-Davidson

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