Iconic US motorcycle brand Harley-Davidson has created its first electric bike – but it will not be heading towards dealerships, at least not for a while. The bike will be tested by selected customers in the US, who will get to ride it and help Harley-Davidson make improvements by providing feedback.
Project LiveWire, as the company calls it, will involve a US tour that will follow Route 66. The tour will last until the end of 2014, with more than 30 dealerships visited on the way. Bike aficionados in Europe and Canada will get to share in the experience next year, Harley-Davidson said.
In a video posted by the company on its website, the bike seems to make almost no noise.
Even though Harley-Davidson seems very excited with the new bike, fans are divided in their opinion, according to the BBC. Some believe that a silent bike poses safety issues as the UK roads get increasingly busy.
However, Harley-Davidson senior vice president Mark-Hans Richer sees Project LiveWire as a “bold statement” for the company and the brand itself. The electric motorcycle will be able to reach a top speed of 92 miles per hour and go for 130 miles before its battery needs to be recharged. Recharging will take between 30 and 60 minutes.
We are moving towards zero emission cities and bike manufacturers, just like car companies, should take that path, says Professor Peter Wells of the automotive industry research group at Cardiff Business School.
It is expected that production of the electric Harley could begin by 2016, industry analysts suggest. But the first thing Harley needs to do is convince potential buyers that the electric bike is a good idea.
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