With the world going green and automobile companies shifting their footing from gasoline to electric power with innumerable inventions and innovations in using electricity as a driving force for modern vehicles, it was about time the motorcycle giants gave the world a “live” version that people could actually try for themselves.
Harley Davidson Motorcycles have come up with something that will add a whole new spark to the electric revolution and encourage others to take equally big, if not bigger steps into the electric market. The whole idea of a company, whose name when mentioned, brought loud, thundering and massive two wheeled beasts being ridden by formidable looking bikers with leather jackets and bandannas and beards, shifting to electric wouldn’t sound very convincing although everyone has tried a hand at it lately. But one look at their new electric concept, and every preconceived notion in your head regarding the bike will vanish.
Project “Live Wire” – as it is presently dubbed, is every bit a Harley, except for one thing. It does not have a fuel guzzling, ground shaking, monstrous power creating signature “Harley Davidson” engine. Instead, it sports an electric motor that delivers 74 horsepower and takes the bike from 0-100 kmph in under four seconds. It has a lithium ion battery which provides for a range of around eighty kilometres and takes three full hours to charge. It weighs 460 pounds and even though it is an electric, the sound will at the very least bring a wide smile on your face. At high speeds, the bike sounds quite similar to a the hum of a jet engine, although starting it from dead stop does make it sound like an RC series car.
The prototype, with just one gear achieves a maximum speed of about 148 kmph – not much at all considering that it’s a “Harley” – but then the initial purpose that Harley is looking to fulfill is getting a clear insight and feedback on enthusiast’s expectations from an electric Harley Davidson Motorcycle and to apply that information in shaping the future of the Motorcycle companies in the arena of electric motorcycles.
The styling and design are very “Harley”, and the Motorcycle hints at being of the sport-cruiser segment. An extra bit of effort has been put into keeping the weight of the frame and the bike in general on the lower side because of the added weight of the batteries. The absence of an exhaust system further brings the weight down, and surprisingly adds to the clean and neatly packaged looks of the new-age hog. Most of the chassis has been built by the company and building the motor controller required Harley to take help from – a pleasant surprise for many – Mission Motors, builders of high performance electric motorcycles.
All said, the Live Wire is still a prototype and Harley has no obvious plans of bringing it into the market at least till 2016, when it has plans of a proper launch for the bike, the company would take twelve of these electric prototypes all across North America where they will allow the general enthusiast public to test ride and experience the bike for themselves.
Although Harley’s ventures into the smaller, city oriented markets haven’t really fared well for the motorcycle manufacturer, they have nonetheless kept at constant efforts and proven once again their willingness to diversify – with the launch of a 750 cc light and sleek street motorcycle also called the Harley Davidson Street 750.
HD launched the Street 750 in India at the 2014 Auto Expo. It is the most affordable motorcycle form the American Motorcycle giant’s entire lineup on sale in the country. It is specifically aimed at the young enthusiast section in almost all the developing markets across the world like India’s.
The success and popularity that the Street achieves will also eventually pave the way for Harley’s Project Livewire which surely, every motorcycle lover and enthusiast would dream – if not of owning – atleast of getting a chance to ride.