A silent Harley with no engine, fuel tank, oil, gearbox or exhaust? Welcome to the future.
The LiveWire by Harley-Davidson is not only a very different kind of motorcycle, it’s going to need to save the ailing American giant. Still, by ditching their classic V-twin for an electric motor, Harley have beaten every other major motorcycle manufacturer by creating the first mainstream two-wheel EV.
The good news is it’s fast. Power comes from a 78 kW (105 hp-rated) electric motor mated to a 15.5 kWh lithium-ion battery-pack. Peak torque is available at 0 rpm, zero to 100km/h is in 3 seconds and v-max is 180 km/h. It’s also agile (lean angle is 45 degrees each way) and easy (there’s no clutch, no gears, and a wealth of electronic driver aids). On the down side, it’s heavy (250kg) and limited in range (157km). Luckily, Harley has pledged to fit all 250 of its global dealerships with superfast DC chargers capable of fully recharging a LiveWire in less than an hour (regular household outlets require 12.5 hours). Will its steep 29,799 USD price tag prevent it from becoming a launchpad for a new generation of Harley-Davidson vehicles? Only time will tell.