They’re large, heavy and very powerful. They’re also incredibly noisy, and owning one generally means you’ve subscribed to life on the open road or perhaps a mid-life crisis.
But later today, American motorcycle manufacturer Harley-Davidson will do something we never ever imagined it would: unveil an electric motorcycle.
Hell, it appears, has frozen over.
As CNET reported last night, the Milwaukee motorcycle company best known for its powerful, heavy cruisers posed a fifteen second video on YouTube, simply entitled “06.19.14.” Or in other words, today’s date.
In it, we see a road sign for the iconic Route 66. For a certain type of biker — Harley-Davidson riders included — Route 66 is a road you’ll travel thousands of miles to ride. It’s one of those roads you’ll take an entire vacation to ride from east to west, especially if you’re atop a throbbing, two-wheeled classic hog.
The shot is still, with only the sound of birds singing. From the distance we hear a high-pitched whine reminiscent of a jet fighter, and a motorcycle streaks past.
Clearly a Harley-Davidson but without the unmistakable burble of an internal combustion engine, the bike quickly rides into the distance, the whine from its electric motors fading away. Today’s date pops up on screen, along with the iconic Harley Davidson logo.
An electric Harley-Davidson might sound like a strange thing to get used to, but despite the reputation of some of its clientele, Harley-Davidson has a long history when it comes to environmentally-responsible behaviour.
It was, for example, the first corporation to voluntarily enrol in the One Clean-Up Program, a program designed to clean up the affected soil and groundwater at the former York Naval Ordinance Plant back in 2005.
According to Total Motorcycle, the Harley-Davidson Project Live Wire is an all-electric motorcycle fitted with ‘at least a dual clutch’ and the kind of torque and horsepower figures you’d expect from the brand.
Supposed to look something like a cross-breed between Harley-Davidson’s V-Rod, Rocker and Street bikes, the naked bike is due to go on tour around the U.S. today, presumably attending various events throughout the summer.
Harley-Davidson’s own website is similarly enigmatic.
“There are milestones that change history – those pivotal moments where the future is defined,” its site says. This is one of them. Just like this country, Harley-Davidson® has reinvented itself many times in our 111 years. This is the next chapter of our journey. Whether you’re a rider or not, we’re inviting you to take part in the experience, and be there for this historic ride forward.”
And in just four hours, we’ll be able to tell you more. Stay tuned.
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