Electric Harley-Davidson Coming Next Year

Harley-Davidson LiveWire 1 photo
Photo: Harley-Davidson
The idea of a dead-silent Harley-Davidson that doesn’t vibrate itself apart seems weird, but times are changing, and the bar-n-shield company is pressed to sprout a new segment to stay in the game. Thus, an electric production bike has been confirmed for the near future.
With the baby-boomer generation getting older and stepping out of the motorcycle world, sticking to the classic H-D recipe won’t cut it for the future. According to the company’s latest set of end-of-year numbers, sales went down 6.7 percent in 2017. Even more worryingly, they’ve dropped 8.5% in the US, its core market.

H-D is aware of this downfall and has promised to put out 100 new motorcycles over the next ten years, hoping to attract around 2 million new riders to the brand. It has already been revealed three new trademarked nameplates, and now comes a fourth.

Remember the LiveWire project? It appears that it will reach production soon as Harley-Davidson plans to release it to the public in around 18 months.

“The company is on target to launch its first electric motorcycle within 18 months,” the firm says in its fourth-quarter results release. “Today, the company announces it will invest more aggressively to lead in the application of electric motorcycle technology to inspire ridership among a new audience.”

Quite an interesting turn as most big bike makers tend to release small electric models for people only interested in commuting, and not for avid riders. If H-D relies on the LiveWire project, the bike planning to get released next year should be quite the opposite and challenge the likes of Energica and Zero Motorcycles.

First seen about four years ago, the LiveWire was already looking very different from what the company usually makes. Very few shiny chrome parts, matte black coated frame, USD fork, single shock suspension at the back, and an overall aggressive stance inspired by streetfighters.

Despite its mean looks, the LiveWire offered around 53 miles (85 km) of range when it was first shown to the public, which was a bit disappointing considering the production model could cost around $25,000. We hope H-D engineers will sort that out by the time this bike hits dealerships. For comparison, the base Energica Eva streetfighter offers a range of up to 125 miles (200 km) in ECO mode as well as 80 kW (109 hp) and 133 lb-ft (180 Nm) of torque on tap.

In the meantime, Harley-Davidson is expecting sales to drop even more, and, to sustain efforts towards its new models, the firm is planning to shut down its Kansas City, Missouri factory. If this happens, around 800 people will be sent home and the assembly taking place there will be shifted to the York plant in Pennsylvania.
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