Harley-Davidson showcases first-ever electric motorcycle

By Shawn Knight
Jun 19, 2014
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  1. Iconic motorcycle maker Harley-Davidson on Thursday revealed an ambitious project called LiveWire, the company's first-ever electric motorcycle.

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  2. Rippleman

    Rippleman TS Maniac Posts: 520   +139

    Although I think this is awesome, I don't think the HD marketing department realizes no HD biker would buy this. Not all bikers think this way, but most just won't think they would be "tough" riding an electric bike.
  3. TomSEA

    TomSEA TechSpot Chancellor Posts: 2,550   +594

    I want to see the first guy ride that into the annual Sturgis Rally and then get beat to a pulp by the "real" bikers.
    Phr3d and davislane1 like this.
  4. davislane1

    davislane1 TS Evangelist Posts: 3,372   +2,164

    Well, it doesn't have the presence of a traditional Harley, but it does sound sufficiently sci-fi, for whatever that's worth.
  5. SNGX1275

    SNGX1275 TS Forces Special Posts: 10,689   +395

    They could make a separate division within Harley-Davidson to sell this bike under. I think that is really the only way it would have a chance. Almost like a Beats by Dre type thing... Fusion by Harley-Davidson (replace Fusion with whatever they want to call it).
    SalaSSin likes this.
  6. ikesmasher

    ikesmasher TS Evangelist Posts: 2,526   +829

    A 50 mile range is pretty nice IMO. I wouldnt drive something like that cross country...
  7. SNGX1275

    SNGX1275 TS Forces Special Posts: 10,689   +395

    @ikesmasher - I don't know. Wouldn't work for me, or just barely would. 25 miles one way from my apt to my work. I'd get this bike and after a month of use battery life would drop to 48 miles and I'd be SOL. 75-100 miles I think is a more reasonable target distance. Anything shorter than 50 and you are really limiting yourself to in town driving, and for that, just get a Vespa.
    ikesmasher likes this.
  8. ikesmasher

    ikesmasher TS Evangelist Posts: 2,526   +829

    o.o I can see where you are coming from then- im just used to going 5-10 miles to get somewhere.
  9. SNGX1275

    SNGX1275 TS Forces Special Posts: 10,689   +395

    @ikesmasher - I wasn't fast enough on the edit - more info included now.
    ikesmasher likes this.
  10. cmbjive

    cmbjive TS Booster Posts: 777   +137

  11. Tekkaraiden

    Tekkaraiden TS Evangelist Posts: 990   +90

    That would require them to stop laughing first.

    I actually find it to be a really interesting design and I enjoy how it howls as it drives by.
  12. Vrmithrax

    Vrmithrax TechSpot Paladin Posts: 1,285   +238

    I'm not so sure that it wouldn't sell... I mean, Ducati - the world-famous superbike builder - sells little street bikes that don't look like they belong at all within the Ducati family. But they sell them, and a fair number of them.

    Harley-Davidson has an image, a reputation, and a history. But they also need to keep up with the times and diversify to stay alive. Nothing wrong with bringing a whole new demographic into their business model, without killing the side of the business that is all about "hawgs" and hardcore riders.
  13. Skidmarksdeluxe

    Skidmarksdeluxe TS Evangelist Posts: 6,336   +1,938

    I can see some people buying them just for the name. Electric cars are going to be the norm in a few years, why not motorbikes as well?
  14. MilwaukeeMike

    MilwaukeeMike TS Evangelist Posts: 2,729   +1,093

    Hey sweet a story about Milwaukee! (sort of)

    Bunch of things to consider here..
    1) Motorcycle riders don't care much about efficiency. Bikes get far better MPG than cars. I've never owned a Harley, but my sport bikes got about 40 MPG and that's with opening up the throttle and going over 10k RPMs on a regular basis.
    2) The 50 mile range isn't a big deal. There are a TON of hardcore Harley riders who would never stand for this, but as someone who's only owned a sport bike, 50 miles is beyond the range of a comfortable ride for many motorcycles already. 50 miles is plenty for a commute or to take downtown on a summer night for easy parking and driving in traffic.
    3) The sound: Harley has actually patented the sound of their motorcycles, and I doubt many die hard owners would buy a bike that doesn't wake up a neighborhood with that trademark rumble.

    They are obviously targeting a new market here. I think it'll be too slow and not bad-a$$ enough for the sportbike rider, and too quiet without the range and not bad-a$$ enough for the Harley rider.

    I think if they market it as a a cool upgrade to a Vespa, they'll do OK. But that's where the cost comes in. I'm guessing it'll be $12k at least, and that'll make it a tough sell.
    cliffordcooley likes this.
  15. cliffordcooley

    cliffordcooley TS Guardian Fighter Posts: 8,430   +2,822

    I don't have a motorbike but my neighbor does. Even though the 50 mile range was enough for him in town during work hours, the weekends would require a larger range. He worked only 5 miles from home, but on the weekends he would pack up and ride 150 miles or more. I would prefer a longer range if I had one, even if it did cover two way travel during the week.

    He also had the mufflers modified, to make the bike louder. Not my cup of tea, but the bike is not so loud it is out of my comfort zone either. To be honest I would prefer how quite this electric bike is. But that is just me, and I know I'm a minority on that aspect.
  16. Ambitious project? Concept device?
    I can see electric bikes everywhere on streets.
  17. If they take advantage of the offer from Elon musk to openly share his charging stations, might be nice. Also id like to see some some kind of generator in the front wheel, thatd help push the 50 mpc up a little.
  18. cliffordcooley

    cliffordcooley TS Guardian Fighter Posts: 8,430   +2,822

    I wish everyone understood, it takes energy to create energy. The energy created would be burnt up in the generation process. Strapping a generator to a motor will not make a battery last longer. Ohh and by the way; just because the generator is on the front wheel, still makes it just as much drag as if it was connected directly to the motor.
    SNGX1275 likes this.
  19. tipstir

    tipstir TS Ambassador Posts: 2,383   +105

    Gas won't be around forever at this rate so next Gen motor bike will be this at is looks like. My cordless lawn mower is all powered by 1x 3 hr charge 40v/40amp Lithium-ion batteries. Other tools uses 20v/20amp Lithium-ion batteries also. Save a lot of not buying any gas for power tools. So why can't you drive one on motor bike.
  20. Wagan8r

    Wagan8r TS Evangelist Posts: 594   +50

    Nice. I love how it sounds like the cop hovercycle that chases young Kirk in the Star Trek reboot.
  21. Rippleman

    Rippleman TS Maniac Posts: 520   +139

    You should take this ground breaking revelation to Toyota and tell them they got the prius all wrong. they might hire you for millions per year. I think you knew exactly what the previous poster meant (regenerative brake) even if he didn't call it by name.
  22. SNGX1275

    SNGX1275 TS Forces Special Posts: 10,689   +395

    I really doubt it Rippleman. The amount of ignorance of energy is incredibly high when talking about electric vehicles.
  23. cliffordcooley

    cliffordcooley TS Guardian Fighter Posts: 8,430   +2,822

    Let me elaborate.
    Lets backup a bit. What factors are involved in calculating the 50 mile range? Is it highway mileage or stop and go traffic?
    No I didn't consider regenerative brake as a form of "generator in the front wheel" to extend the 50 mile range. For one reason, stop and go traffic will reduce the range regardless of regenerative brake usage.

    In your defense and possibly the guest defense, yes regenerative brake will slightly extend mileage in stop and go traffic. However on the highway without needing brakes, regenerative brakes will not add to the mileage.
  24. captaincranky

    captaincranky TechSpot Addict Posts: 11,457   +1,759

    OK. It's obvious the aesthetics department worked long and hard on the styling of this bike to emulate their own, "V-Rod", which in turn is emulating pretty much any Japanese sport bike, save for the noisy, garish, V Twin engine. Still in all, the thing looks like a Tonka Toy, with those nasty plastic covers, trying to hide all the parts that look like they belong inside of a computer, instead of on a motorcycle.

    With that said, 0 to 60 in 4 seconds flat, is pretty darn spunky. Hold on real, real, tight when you punch it. That kind of spunky.

    As for regenerative braking, because you have used so much energy bring any vehicle up to speed, it's highly doubtful you could ever have a net gain in energy from braking (*). Although I concede that you could certainly cut some of your losses.

    (*) Always starting out going downhill might yield energy parity, but it's just not practical.

    Hills reverse Newton's "what goes up, must come down axiom", to "what goes down, must always come up". But boys and girls, remember to call your physicist if you stay going up for more than four hours....;)

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