Harley-Davidson Testing e-Bikes

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June 23, 2014

"When it comes time to shape the next generation, we rely on American ingenuity and the very same people who got us here—you. Join us for the ride," says Harley-Davidson as it unveils its new project Live Wire in a short video.

The Project LiveWire is about making bikes that echo the typical strong and robust look of Harley-Davidson, but these will be powered by alternative fuel (not diesel or petrol). Under the project, the company is now testing its first e-bike and is looking at feasibility of expanding into this sector of electric vehicles.

The bikes will come to United States and will be released only to read the reactions and expectation of customers. "While not for sale, Project LiveWire is specifically designed for the purpose of getting insight into rider expectations of an electric Harley-Davidson motorcycle," says the customized bike-making company in a release.

The project has invited customers to test ride, provide feedback and learn more about the story of the motorcycle, after which the company might consider popularizing them.

The company confirms plans for retail availability of LiveWire will be influenced by feedback from riders.

The e-bike will come to the United States as a 2014 model to more than 30 company dealerships through the end of the year. In year 2015, the project will continue in the United States and expand into Canada and Europe.

Given the trend of new products that are under research by a number of companies and were showcased in the recent Auto Expo in India this year, you can expect Harley-Davidson to reveal its e-bike to India next time in 2016.

This year, the Indian Auto Expo witnessed a rush by the companies in showcasing e-bikes, which could be the future of bikes and superbikes. Companies like Japanese Kiwami, showcased both ebike and scooter models, while Hero showed battery-driven concept bike. Car makers also jumped into the race with BMW showing off its electric 8, Mahindra with its Halo a e-sportscar and Verito e-car variant.

Harley-Davidson promises “an unmistakable new sound” has been maintained in the e-bike. This will give the bikes a distinctive flavor on road.

Mark-Hans Richer, senior vice president and chief marketing officer of the company says "sound is a distinct part of the thrill. Think fighter jet on an aircraft carrier. Project LiveWire's unique sound was designed to differentiate it from internal combustion and other electric motorcycles on the market."

The bike will offer good riding experience with a good acceleration, promises the company.

The typical big and bulky fuel tank is replaced by a sleek tank-like part which is expected to house the battery pack. The bike comes with one-seat option with disk brakes on front and back wheels. The motor takes the lower side of the bike like any other bike, but the components and wires of the bike have been hidden in black colored plates. The company says the bike uses "high-quality metal finishes and coatings."

Instead of the typical round head lamps, the bike uses a vertical bar kind lamp. This head lamp when looked at alongside the horizontal line of orange led light of the indicator gives the beast a very different “alien-like” look.

A small LCD TFT display screen has been given place on the handle bar to indicate important instrument panel.

Harley-Davidson has not revealed the full specs of the new bike under the project. The company however says, "Make no mistake, we love the V-Twin engine." The company is experimenting the new bike with the V-Twin engine via electric input.

A report in Wired reveals few specs of the bike. The LiveWire offers 74 horsepower, 52 foot-pounds of torque and a (governed) top speed of 92 mph, says the post. It will use a Lithium Ion battery pack that will give you a ride of 53 miles and take 3.5 hours for a full charge at 220 volts.

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