Best-Known American Motorcycle Maker Goes Electric
Harley-Davidson has announced at the EICMA motorcycle show in Milan, Italy, it plans to build its long-awaited Livewire electric motorcycle. The company’s first electric motorcycle is based on a concept introduced four years ago; it’s expected to be available next year.
The Specs, so Far
Complete specifications are not provided yet, but we know a few things. The motor will be mounted longitudinally at the bottom of the chassis, forming a structural component of the chassis along with the aluminum frame.
The battery will be a RESS (Rechargeable Energy Storage System) multi-cell lithium-ion unit protected by a finned cast-aluminum housing. It will be mounted by the engine to provide a low center of gravity. The range was not announced, but the concept had 53 miles; The production unit is likely to do better.
Charging will be through an onboard Level 1 120-volt charger, with provided cable, for home use, with Level 2 and 3 (DC fast charging) also possible. Dealers will offer fast-charging stations on-site.
The Livewire will stop via 11.8-inch Brembo Monoblock disc brakes with anti-lock; a traction-control system comes standard.
The Showa adjustable suspension features a BFRC-lite (Balanced Free Rear Cushion–lite) rear mono-shock and an SFF-BP (Separate Function Fork–Big Piston) front fork.
As a high-tech device, the new motorcycle will offer four preset riding modes and three customizable ones. As it works in electric cars, these modes will let the rider choose to balance power, range and brake regeneration. Other highlights include a touchscreen display with information on navigation, Bluetooth, and vehicle functions. One can only hope that these don’t become a distraction on the road.
A Unique Sound
I am not a motorcyclist, but it seems to me that part of the fun of a riding a one is the aural stimulation. To address the near-silence of EVs, Harley-Davidson is providing a unique electronic sound that increases with speed. So, you’ll be able to get more of the riding experience (or perhaps deactivate it for stealth motoring).
Pricing and availability information is expected in January, with deliveries later in the year. Then, we’ll see how big the market is today for “the Harley of Electric Motorcycles” against companies like Zero that specialize in them. It all leads to a carbon-free future for two-wheeled transportation.
Related Stories You Might Enjoy—Two-Wheel Electrics