Meet The LiveWire, Harley-Davidson’s First Ever Electric Motorcycle

Harley-Davidson, the motorcycle manufacturer best know for its large-engined, highway-munching cruisers, has just done the unthinkable.

It’s unveiled a concept electric motorcycle.

Yes, it's an electric Harley-Davidson.

Yes, it’s an electric Harley-Davidson.

Called the LiveWire, the new electric motorcycle is a first for the Milwaukee-based firm. Designed to evoke the classic Harley-Davidson look, the concept motorcycle looks like a cross between the company’s V-Rod, Rocker and Street bike. Naked in design — that means no faring — the LiveWire looks the part, and sounds a little like a rocket ship as it zooms by.

We’d like to tell you official specifications for the LiveWire — but at the time of writing we’ve not had any hard and fast figures from Harley-Davidson to go by as its official press release gives none. But Wired, who has already ridden the LiveWire, is quoting a 74 horsepower (55 kW) electric motor capable of developing 52 pound-feet (70nM) of torque. (To put that kind of power into perspective it’s worth noting that Mitsubishi’s i-Miev Electric car is fitted with a 50 kilowatt electric motor, but can develop a far more manly 145 foot pounds of torque.)

The discrepancy in torque could be explained by the presence of a dual-clutch gearbox, something other sites have claimed the LiveWire has and which could account for the 0-60 time cited by Wired of under four seconds.

Top speed is apparently limited to 92 mph — again second-hand rather than straight from Harley-Davidson — and range isn’t disclosed officially in the press release either. As we’ve seen it quoted as being anything from 53 miles per charge all the way up to 130 miles per charge, so we’ve reached out to Harley-Davidson for clarification. Given other electric motorcycles on the market today are managing between 100 and 130 miles per charge, we’re hoping this all-electric hog is capable of a similar range. Anything less, and we’re doubtful it will meet with any demand.

“America at its best has always been about reinvention,” said Matt Levatich, President and CEO of Harley-Davidson. “Like America, Harley-Davidson has reinvented itself many times in our history, with customers leading us every step of the way. Project LiveWire is another exciting, customer-led moment in our history.”

Although only a concept at this stage, Harley-Davidson has made enough LiveWire prototypes to send around the U.S. and Europe on tour. Starting with a journey down the iconic Route 66, the bike will visit more than 30 Harley-Davidson dealerships throughout the U.S. before the end of 2015, before heading north into Canada and across the Atlantic into Europe next year.

With specifications still officially undisclosed, all we can do at the moment is take a look at the LiveWire’s design and drool a little. Like other bike fans, we hope to get a ride on the LiveWire real soon, but until then, we’d like to know what you think.

Leave your thoughts in the Comments below.

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