Most badass electric vehicle yet?You know that electric transportation has truly arrived when even icons of the gas-burning world are switching over to electrons. Harley Davidson has unveiled Project Livewire, its first electric motorcycle and a big deal for a company that takes pride in using old technology. They're being smart about going electric; Livewire won't be sold as is, instead, it'll tour the country - starting with Harley-Davidson dealerships along Route 66 before expanding to the rest of the U.S., Canada, and Europe in 2015 - to get feedback from Harley Davidson fans and customers so that the electric chopper concept can be further refined before a model is released commercially.
"America at its best has always been about reinvention," said Matt Levatich, President and Chief Operating Officer, Harley-Davidson Motor Company. "And, like America, Harley-Davidson has reinvented itself many times in our history, with customers leading us every step of the way. Project LiveWire is another exciting, customer-led moment in our history."
They describe the sound this way: "Think fighter jet on an aircraft carrier."
There's some jet in there. But doesn't it also sound like something straight out of a sci-fi film? In can't remember which one exactly, but I could swear there's a fairly recent movie that has futuristic motorcycle-type of things that sound kind of like this (I don't remember if they're floating off the ground or have actual wheels, but in any case...).
I think that's much better than the huge noise that ICE motorcycles make, but maybe that's just me. I've never been a big fan of noise pollution.
Of course, Harley-Davidson is trying to brand this as something different from other electric vehicles. They actually compare it to an electric guitar rather than an electric car, saying it's all about expressing individuality and iconic style and all that. It's an interesting approach, and might reach a segment of the popular that wouldn't be interested by a more buttoned down EV.
While I wish Harley-Davidson would hurry up and release an electric motorcycle that the public can buy, I understand their approach. Taking the time to get feedback from their loyal customers can probably increase the chances of success, and while it might take a while before they sell a lot of electric motorcycles, this could have a kind of 'halo' effect on electric transportation the way that the Tesla Roadster had a few years ago, helping change some people's minds about what is cool and what isn't.
The nice folks at The Verge had the chance to take Livewire for a spin. Here's their first impression of the electric Harley: