Harley-Davidson unveils electric Livewire motorcycle
The iconic thump and rumble of Harley-Davidson motorcycles could be replaced by a near-silent whirr.
America’s iconic motorcycle manufacturer unveiled the production version of its Livewire electric bike at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas this week, locking down key elements of the machine’s performance.
Though the Livewire isn’t the first electric motorcycle to go on sale, it does represent the first serious effort from a major brand, and a development the likes of Ducati, Honda and Yamaha are expected to follow in coming years.
Substituting the brand’s traditional V-twin engine for an electric motor, the Livewire is good for a 100km/h dash in around 3.5 seconds, along with approximately 180 kilometres of riding range.
While the brand isn’t talking about specific power outputs at the moment (which is often the case for motorcycles), we test rode a Livewire prototype in 2015 which served up 56kW of power and 70Nm of torque - not bad for a compact bike with instant responses.
Drive’s David Morley found it was as simple to ride as a twist-and-go scooter, doing away with gears and a clutch in favour of more basic controls.
“Although it might fall down in traditional motorcycle areas of noise and mechanical feel, there's one crucial box that it ticks emphatically: Like any good motorcycle, the Livewire is huge fun to ride,” Morley said.
Harley Davidson has not revealed local prices for the Livewire, which is expected to cost around $40,000.
It goes on sale in Australia in 2020.
David McCowen is Drive’s news editor, combining automotive passion with more than a decade of reporting experience. Dave is often found at a racetrack – either in the press room, or driving his hot hatch.