Earlier today, Harley Davidson made history by introducing its latest bike, Project LiveWire, to the public. Yes, that’s right: history. The company- which has now been around for 111 years- just opened up the beginning of a new chapter by releasing its first electric motorcycle.
At the Manhattan event, over a dozen of the new bikes were on display and certain selected (and very lucky) members of the media got to take the bike out for a spin.
Jacob Kastranakes from The Verge says, “LiveWire is far from the type of bike that Harley enthusiast are used to. It has a single gear, a touchscreen dashboard, and no gas to speak of. Oh, and it’s quiet. Really, really quiet… LiveWire is nearly impossible to hear when out among New York City traffic. When revved indoors, however, it lets off a high-pitched whine that sounds more like an oversized vacuum than a vehicle.”
According to reports, the new electric motorcycle tops out at around 92 miles per hour and has a zero to 60 time that is under four seconds.
However, this bike is still in its infancy of design. Currently, the bike only has a range of about 55 miles when in economy mode and 33 miles when it’s in power mode. It also takes a pretty long time to charge, somewhere around 3.5 hours.
Mark-Hans Richer, Harley Davidson’s chief marketing officer says, “Project LiveWire reinforces the brand and its dimension. It’s really about reinvention. We are taking what is great about America and about Harley-Davidson and we are moving it forward.”
But the real question is how will Harley Davidson fans react to the decision to go electric? So far, it is still unclear, but it has been reported that Harley Davidson website traffic has more than doubled since the LiveWire announcement. That, of course, bodes well for a company that at times struggles to find new and innovative ideas.
In an interview with NBC news, UBS analyst Robin Farley re-iterates the point saying, “Harley is basically trying to demonstrate that they can innovate beyond their core customer and that’s been a challenge for them in the past.”
Still, this new Harley model is a long way from being put out on the roads. After all, there are still a number of bugs that need to be worked out. There needs to be more power, more juice. There needs to be quickewr charging times. And, of course, there needs to be more sound, right?