Harley Davidson’s LiveWire “Test Ride” Brings Electrics Closer to Mainstream

harley-davidson-museumMaking a pitstop in Milwaukee this weekend I was excited to see that Harley Davidson would be offering a peak at their new LiveWire electric motorcycle prototype at their iconic museum here.

As it turned out, demand was so high for test rides the best I could get was a look at the bike and chance to rev one held in a stationary position (see video below).  Nonetheless, it was more than enough to be impressed.

Harley’s new ride (more info on the company website here) is merely an experiment at the moment.  Although they’ve produced more than a dozen fully functional prototypes, the bike is currently just a test to see who’s interested in a mainstream electric motorcycle and to garner feedback on the model.  The test will also determine whether such people represent a new market for the company or if the grizzled, sonic-boom inducing core of Harley enthusiasts would ever go for a quiet, carbon free alternative.Although there are a number of high end electric bikes on the market already, Harley’s foray into the space represents a serious mainstreaming of the concept.  Nonetheless, deviating from Harley’s trademarked rumble (it literally is trademarked) is risky and bold.  I don’t expect Harley to spend a lot of time touting any “green” claims surrounding LiveWire.  Although the company has solid green cred, I’d expect that their marketing will continue to focus on independence, speed and, in this case, modernity. All of that is fine with me if it means moving electric bikes into the mainstream.

Nick Aster is a new media architect and the founder of TriplePundit.com

TriplePundit.com has since grown to become one of the web's leading sources of news and ideas on how business can be used to make the world a better place.

Prior to TriplePundit Nick worked for Mother Jones magazine, successfully re-launching the magazine's online presence. He was instrumental in the creation of TreeHugger.com, managing the technical side of the publication for 3 years as well as an active consultant for individuals and companies entering the world of micro-publishing. He earned his stripes working for Gawker Media and Moreover Technologies in the early days of blogging.

Nick holds an MBA in sustainable management from the Presidio School of Management and graduated with a BA in History from Washington University in St. Louis.