Electric Harley-Davidson “Livewire” to Debut Tomorrow

06/18/2014 @ 1:42 pm, by Jensen Beeler17 COMMENTS

Electric Harley Davidson Livewire to Debut Tomorrow Harley Davidson electric logo 635x425

Harley-Davidson has just posted a video to its YouTube, which teases a new model coming tomorrow, June 19th, 2014. The video itself is devoid of any information, with a sole blurred motorcycle jetting past a Route 66 sign. The only hint we have on what to expect is the unmistakable sound of an electric drivetrain at full-tilt.

We first broke the news about Harley’s electric motorcycle two years ago, and we have already caught the electric Harley-Davidson on the Avengers: Age of Ultron film set, looking pretty much ready for production, including DOT reflectors, so this revelation isn’t completely out of left field.

A quick stroll through Harley-Davidson’s trademark filings shows the “Livewire” name being registered with the USPTO back in November 2012. The name can also be spotted on the side of the motorcycle that was seen on the Avengers set.

After our story broke last week, our spies reported that a launch of that machine was said to be coming later this week. With this announcement, all the pieces of the puzzle now seem to fit.

Whether Harley-Davidson will debut the new machine as a concept or a production machine remains to be seen (though we’re expecting the latter), but for the Bar & Shield brand to venture out of the land of “potato-potato” with an electric vehicle is a huge shift for the iconic American company.

After releasing the Street 750 for the US market, and the Street 500 for India and other emerging markets, Harley-Davidson showed the first signs that it was willing to change its Baby Boomer mentality. Releasing an electric cruiser though, puts the whole operation on its head.

We still remember clearly the debut of the Porsche-designed V-Rod, and the exclamation/question “it still sounds like a Harley, right?” Held hostage by its sacred cows, there seemed to be little hope for the Bar & Shield brand, until recently.

We have seen generally favorable comments to the new machine on our pages, which kept its cruiser lines while integrating a massive battery pack, controller, and motor casing. It will be interesting to see what specs Harley-Davidson releases on its electric, especially when it comes to price and range.

We suspect Harley’s pitch will focus on the massive torque of the machine, and how this is the ultimate Harley-Davidson for stop light racing. As always, time will tell…but expect this to be the biggest news to come out of Milwaukee in the past 50 years.

Source: Harley-Davidson (YouTube)

Comment:

  1. 999 says:

    I doubt it’ll sell… their general market buys their sound. So we’ll see how this goes…

  2. This bike isn’t being built for Harley’s current riders.

  3. Bruce says:

    I never thought i’d live to see the day…

  4. Doug says:

    ‘ ..and the exclamation/question “it still sounds like a Harley, right?” ‘

    So, would you put the exclamation point before or after the question mark? Been an age old question that I might finally find the answer since you left it open above.

    Oh, goodonya HD. This might be as jolting as Tesla’s news.

  5. 80s pop/reggae comes to mind…

  6. jzj says:

    First, nice touch with the plugged-in HD logo.

    As to the sound, hey, there’s no reason it can’t sound like a classic Harley. (Or, for that matter, a train or a jet or a diesel truck.) I have the “XLR8″ app on my phone and it bluetooths into my electric car to enable the sound of a big-block Chevy to come through the speakers (it uses the phone’s accelerometer to approximate acceleration, speed, and deceleration): it’s pretty neat.

  7. protomech says:

    Brutus has demonstrated synthesized audio on their V9 cruiser:
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-s3vQ4wIC6I

    Surely Harley could do something similar if their customers demanded .. which they would.

  8. Any electric OEM that includes a soundtrack is DOA.

  9. Wayne Thomas says:

    Jensen, you said…

    This bike isn’t being built for Harley’s current riders.

    ==

    Actually, yes it is. Eh….eh. See the play on words. HD should take that phrase and ride with it in marketing.

  10. protomech says:

    “Any electric OEM that includes a soundtrack is DOA.”

    I think it’s a little bit silly, particularly if it’s trying to ape a conventional bike. I find there’s plenty of aural feedback on my (very quiet) Zero when I’m actually riding .. which is what I care about. But maybe some type of audible sound in parking lots would be nice, that’s the only place I feel like electrics would really benefit from a more audible sound signature.

  11. I will give you that, and it’s only a matter of time before the DOT requires it. But as for playing the sound of an engine though a speaker…no…a thousand times no.

  12. …and Waynes, I saw what you did there. Harley-Davidson would amped to borrow that idea from you.

  13. coreyvwc says:

    Trying to make it sound like a normal motorcycle via speakers would be the cheesiest and most ridiculous thing ever! However, if they were to somehow amplify the existing whine of the electric motor and make it sound like a screaming Tie fighter… That might actually be kinda cool.

  14. Random says:

    It may be the first HD I’m actually interested in… Standard ergos, real suspension travel, even some ground clearence for turning! The electric powertrain could be a nice thing for in-town riding and the possibility of upgrading it in the near future, but the deviation from the cruiser mindset/engineering may be the biggest change from present HD ethos. Hope it “lights up” the electric motorcycle market…

  15. darran says:

    Erik Buell designed the V-Rod motor. Porche made it EPA friendly.

  16. Jw says:

    I like it

  17. Jason says:

    Since I commute to work through an urban environment, I could imagine manyike me that this would be perfect for. I do hope it has decent range, but it might get away without it if they can pitch it to the urban crowd??? Hmmmmm. But so far I really like it