The production-ready LiveWire electric motorcycle will be the first of many.
America has a new electric vehicle on its way. But it's coming neither from one of the Big Three in Detroit, nor a new “disruptor” like Tesla. It's being developed and brought to market by one of the oldest motor companies in the country. And it'll only have two wheels, not four.
If you're thinking “motorcycle,” you're spot on: it's the LiveWire, and it's the latest product from the Harley-Davidson Motor Company – a manufacturer as all-American as Ford or GM, with a history that stretches back to 1903. But unlike pretty much everything else Harley has ever made, it won't come with a burbling V-twin engine.
HDMC first previewed its plans for an all-electric motorcycle back in 2014 with what was then referred to as Project LiveWire. Last year it confirmed plans to put it into production, and now it's revealed the finished product at the EICMA motorcycle show in Milan.
Final specifications are still to be announced. But the initial details look promising, starting with the electric motor that will be integrated as a stressed member into the aluminum chassis. It'll be juiced by a lithium-ion main battery (also of as-yet undisclosed capacity), just like you'd find in, say, a Tesla Model 3 or Chevy Bolt, but (presumably) smaller.
That battery pack will be housed in a finned cast-aluminum case to help it stay cool and evoke the styling of an internal-combustion motorcycle engine. A separate 12-volt battery will power auxiliary functions like the adjustable TFT liquid-crystal display atop the handlebars. And riders will be able to charge it from a standard outlet or a fast-charger.
The long list of components also include ABS and traction control, Showa suspension, Brembo brakes, and Michelin Scorcher tires. Pricing and availability are set to be announced in January when the pre-order process opens for the first in a full array of electric motorcycles Harley-Davidson intends to roll out by 2022.