When Bob Dylan dropped his acoustic in the 1960s and switched to an electric guitar the stodgy world of folk music lost its collective mind. Now, another native son of the Midwest is making a similar shift. Harley-Davidson a brand best known for rumbling V-twin engines and loud chrome pipes is announcing its first electric motorcycle with the Project Livewire.
Harley is showing all sorts of photo and video of its EV bike, and the project appears fairly far along. Although, it's not quite ready for dealers yet partially because H-D wants to get customers' reaction to this big shift first. The company is taking the Livewire on a cross-country tour through 30 dealers along Route 66 starting next week, and some people actually get the chance to get on and ride this experimental hog. In 2015, the program goes international with stops in Canada and Europe.
The Livewire has the cues of a naked sport bike with an exposed trellis frame and dual-sided rear swing arm suspension, but the engine is something very non-Harley, though. There's no big V-twin here, instead the electric motor appears partially exposed in a polished case underneath.
Harley is keeping technical details a tightly kept secret for the moment. It promises "tire-shredding acceleration and an unmistakable new sound" in its press release but doesn't back it up with any hard figures. From the teaser video, it definitely has the high-pitched whine associated with electric motors. Development appears to be moving ahead nicely, though. The stunt double for Scarlet Johansson's Black Widow was caught riding the Livewire during shooting for The Avengers: Age of Ultron.