Iconic American motorcycle manufacturer Harley-Davidson Motor Co. is launching its first electric motorcycle. Calling it Project LiveWire, the company gave the public the first glimpse of the motorcycle at an invitation-only event on Monday in New York, the Associated Press reports. Select customers will then be able to ride the motorcycle and provide feedback. The bike is not yet for sale.
Harley-Davidson will kick off a 2014 U.S. tour of the bike with a trip down Route 66, visiting more than 30 dealerships along the way through the end of the year. Next year, the Project LiveWire Experience will continue in the U.S. and will be expanded into Canada and Europe.
People who don’t ride can take part in a simulated riding experience through a website created for the tour, projectlivewire.com. Feedback from riders along the tour will influence plans for longer term retail availability.
The company is low on details about the motorcycle but describes the bike as “tire shredding.” It will have a different sound. “The sound is a distinct part of the thrill,” said Mark-Hans Richer, senior vice president and chief marketing officer for Harley-Davidson. “Think fighter jet on an aircraft carrier. Project LiveWire’s unique sound was designed to differentiate it from internal combustion and other electric motorcycles on the market.”
Harley-Davidson is getting the word out about the bike and tour through social media, including Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and a Youtube video. The video about the bike reminds people about the company’s past while pointing to its future. As Matt Levatich, president and chief operating officer for Harley-Davidson, said: “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.”
There is one problem with electric motorcycles, and that is the lack of charging stations: “Electric motorcycles, for now, are practically limited by battery capacity to commutes and afternoon rides, rather than open-road touring, although range continues to improve with each passing year,” Consumer Reports points out.
Image credit: PR Newswire