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Transportation Power

Harley-Davidson Unveils Their First Electric Motorcycle 345

Posted by samzenpus
from the easy-electric-rider dept.
Major Blud writes Harley-Davidson has unveiled their first electric motorcycle called "Project LiveWire." The bike is currently not for sale and detailed specifications are scarce. Harley plans on taking it on a demonstration tour of the U.S. for the next year to gather customer feedback. "The new LiveWire won’t make the distinctive 'potato-potato-potato' chug that Harley once tried to patent. Its engine is silent, and the turbine-like hum comes from the meshing of gears. But electric motors do provide better handling and rapid acceleration — with the electric Harley able to go from 0 to 60 mph in four seconds. LiveWire’s design places the engine at the bottom of the bike."
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Harley-Davidson Unveils Their First Electric Motorcycle

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  • Nice looking bike... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by RoknrolZombie (2504888) on Thursday June 19, 2014 @10:05PM (#47278437)

    Nice looking bike, but I wonder if they're going to offer something more cruiser-like. I'm certainly not opposed to a "greener" ride, but I'd look a damned fool on one of those.

    • by oic0 (1864384) on Thursday June 19, 2014 @10:26PM (#47278547)
      Just take off the pirate outfit and put on a full face helmet and proper motorcycle safety gear. It will look natural I promise. ;)
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by msauve (701917)
      That's OK. Without the loud noises, you won't get the attention you desire, anyway.
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Runaway1956 (1322357)

        Ever heard those crazy bastards claim "loud pipes save lives"?

        A REAL motorcycle makes plenty of noise, but by the time anyone hears it, the bike is a couple hundred yards out in front of them. The thunder always follows the lightning. Loud pipes are compensation for 75 year old technology that won't run any faster than the family car. It's amazing how many people have spent all that money on a Harley, but either the machine won't run over 80 mph, or the rider is to scared to exceed 80. My commuter is 33

        • by CohibaVancouver (864662) on Thursday June 19, 2014 @11:22PM (#47278791)

          Loud pipes are compensation for 75 year old technology

          Incorrect. "Loud pipes" are compensation for a small penis.

          • by trawg (308495)

            Incorrect. "Loud pipes" are compensation for a small penis.

            FWIW, I have several friends that ride bikes. None of them are the sort of people that I would classify as the type that would do something just out of some sort of inferiority complex.

            They uniformly tell me that they see loud pipes as a critical safety measure to make drivers aware that they're there.

            I do not know if drivers in general (i.e., around the world) are uniformly bad at paying enough attention to notice riders (of bicycles or motorbikes), but certainly here (Brisbane, Australia) people seem to

            • by Anonymous Coward on Friday June 20, 2014 @03:34AM (#47279565)

              I ride bikes and I've always seen this attitude as more of an excuse to ride an anti-socially loud vehicle more than anything else. I'm not sure how blowing a lot of extra noise out behind you is supposed to help the cars in front of you (who so like to pull out of side roads) notice you, with their windows shut, AC blasting, and perhaps the Stereo on.

              Just ride defensively and stop giving politicians more reasons to legislate motorcyclists

        • Meanwhile auto makers are getting ever better at making their cars sound proof, and promote that in advertising. Then top it off with ever better sound systems, and you wouldn't hear an F-18 if it buzzed the car with 10 metres to spare at Mach 1.
        • Going beyond 80mph is illegal.

          • by MrMickS (568778)

            Not everywhere...

          • Depends on where you ride. Some places have speed limits that are higher than 80mph, or no speed limits at all.

            And a lot of people are perfectly happy doing 10-20mph over the limit, even if it is illegal. That does not invalidate the OP's argument.

        • by dbIII (701233)
          These things almost never get hit out on the highway where there's plenty of room and everything's moving. It's suburbia and relatively low speed where cars are more likely to hit motorcyles so I think they do have a point.
    • by mellon (7048)

      I'd look badass on one of these.

      And man, did you see the hair on those guys? Do they actually ride motorcycles?

    • by metlin (258108)

      I dunno, as someone who enjoys crotch-rockets (Hayabusa FTW), I love its look.

      It's almost like something that Batman would ride.

      • by drinkypoo (153816)

        I dunno, as someone who enjoys crotch-rockets (Hayabusa FTW), I love its look. It's almost like something that Batman would ride.

        Yeah, almost, except that it has half the range and half of the performance of the competition, which is already shipping bikes. It makes no sense to sell this bike as a H-D.

    • by Alioth (221270)

      It's a Hardley Rideable, not a bike!

  • Dangerous (Score:2, Interesting)

    by blackiner (2787381)
    I sincerely hope they add some sort of noise generator, bikes are dangerous enough already.
    • Re:Dangerous (Score:4, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward on Thursday June 19, 2014 @10:27PM (#47278551)

      Bikes aren't dangerous ... bimbos in SUVs are dangerous. Cell phone drivers are dangerous. Bikes are devices. People are the problem.

      • Bikes aren't dangerous ... bimbos in SUVs are dangerous. Cell phone drivers are dangerous. Bikes are devices. People are the problem.

        The fact that 'people are the problem' are what makes bikes dangerous.

        If you're behind the wheel of a Smart car and you're hit by a bimbo in an SUV you get up and walk away.

        If you're on a bike you're a dead skidmark if you're lucky and in a wheelchair for the rest of your life if you're not.

        • Re:Dangerous (Score:5, Insightful)

          by Harlequin80 (1671040) on Friday June 20, 2014 @02:18AM (#47279375)

          Yes and no.

          While bikes are more dangerous than cars you can avoid more accidents on them then if you are in a car.

          What most bike riders don't like to acknowledge is that, as much as we would love to blame the volvo driver, we tend to kill ourselves by ourselves.

          Have a look at the statistics. A huge percentage of fatal motorcycle accidents are single vehicle. It comes from the fact that you can but an absolute weapon of a vehicle for essentially pocket change. Then most of us ride for fun at the weekend so our total number of hours driving a bike are relatively low, and as such so is our skill levels.

          My bike will do 120kph in 1st gear and get there unbelievably quickly, then the only thing that caps its speed as an electronic limiter at 300kph..... Way faster than this electric harley. There are so few cars that can even come close and none of them are affordable.

          If we weren't out having fun on our super awesome toys tearing up and down the local mountain the fatality rate would be a hell of a lot lower.

    • Re:Dangerous (Score:5, Insightful)

      by mellon (7048) on Thursday June 19, 2014 @10:52PM (#47278679) Homepage

      Oh, are you one of those people who thinks a glass muffler gets you noticed and keeps you safe? More likely startles some poor minivan driver into swerving into your path. If you want to stay safe, the way to do it is to pay attention. Keeping the bike quiet means you'll hear Mr. Minivan coming. See and avoid, man. See and avoid.

      • Well, I suppose that may work better. I go running on the side of the road a lot and I pay careful attention to hear cars come up behind me, which lets me turn my head and see if they have moved over enough not to smash me. I pay a lot of attention to sound while driving (obviously not as much as visual) so I figured it would help though, it definitely helps notice ambulances and police.
        • I go running on the side of the road a lot and I pay careful attention to hear cars come up behind me

          Actually, if you're running on the side of a road without a sidewalk, you're supposed run on the left side of the road so you can *see* the oncoming traffic.

    • by msauve (701917)
      So, you're one of those people who are oblivious to the traffic around them, and depend upon others to be defensive when around you. You shouldn't be on the road.
    • No amount of noise is going to make a bike safer. The noise FOLLOWS you, it doesn't precede you. The guy 200 yards behind you on the interstate hears you, the guy 200 yards ahead of you doesn't hear a thing. I don't give a damn that they guy behind me can hear me - he is no threat to me. That guy ahead though, could be a problem.

      Noise generator - what a waste of energy.

      • by bloodhawk (813939)

        umm NO. sound travels in both directions, a bike does not move at sufficient speed for sound to only be behind them. The benefit of hearing a bike is not for cars on the interstate, it is for pedestrians that will step out in front of you, people that are doing slow speed manoeuvres that may fail to see you in the mirrors but still might hear you coming 20-50 yards behind them. push bike riders that at the best of times are a hazard even when they know you are there.

        • by markdavis (642305)

          But it doesn't need to be *LOUD* to accomplish that. It certainly needs to be no louder than a modern, quiet car.

          I wish people with loud vehicles would be ticketed to death... and that especially holds for boom-box cars.

          http://www.southparkstudios.co... [southparkstudios.com]

          • by bloodhawk (813939)

            I completely agree, it doesn't need to be loud, just at a level to make it audible at close distances, quiet car level is many times better than silent. morons that modify cars and motorbikes just to increase sound for some sort of dick waving exercise should be fined to oblivion.

        • Well, duh. That would work if you turned your pipes around so you were blasting the loud exhaust ahead of you.

          Maybe you should do that. It would make a truthier statement about who you really are.

          • by bloodhawk (813939)

            who said anything about it needing to be loud? it merely has to be at an audible level, something around the average car sound is sufficient.

      • It's the people next to you on the interstate that are the dangerous ones... Not the one 200 yards in front or 200 yards behind.

        • Dangerous to your trim, maybe. Dangerous to your life? Not so much.

          It is not speed, but difference in speed, which is dangerous to your life. I fear the one coming up behind me at a difference of 50+ MPH MUCH more than the one next to me doing a couple MPH different. Yeah, the guy next to me may take out my mirror or scuff my door, but the guy behind me may kill me.

          • I'm talking about from a motorcycle perspective - that guy next to me merges into me. I come off the bike. Hit the road. Hope like hell I stay following the road and not run off it and into armco - posts or trees while also praying that the person who was behind me doesn't run me over.

          • by bloodhawk (813939)

            Dangerous to your trim, maybe. Dangerous to your life? Not so much.

            It is not speed, but difference in speed, which is dangerous to your life. I fear the one coming up behind me at a difference of 50+ MPH MUCH more than the one next to me doing a couple MPH different. Yeah, the guy next to me may take out my mirror or scuff my door, but the guy behind me may kill me.

            NOT On a motorbike, the person next to you is as dangerous if not more so than oncoming traffic. when your travelling at speed on a motorbike a tap from the person next to you that doesn't see you can be just as fatal as a head on. Usually I am far more concerned about whether the person next to me has seen me, oncoming traffic is far easier to predict and handle on a motorbike, the driver that merges without indicating is nightmare that you need to be constantly aware of if you want to stay alive.

  • "The new LiveWire won’t make the distinctive 'potato-potato-potato' chug that Harley once tried to patent."

    I'm pretty sure Livewire [wikipedia.org] can chug in any way it wants, if they include it.

  • A sure failure (Score:5, Informative)

    by preaction (1526109) on Thursday June 19, 2014 @10:21PM (#47278515)

    Harley owners want to be noticed, and without the 120 decibel roar, we won't be paying enough attention to them.

  • Dead on arrival (Score:3, Interesting)

    by mendax (114116) on Thursday June 19, 2014 @10:26PM (#47278545)

    I can predict that such a motorcycle will never have much of a market. Here's why.

    Bikers such as myself appreciate the engine noise their bikes make. It's a marvelous thing. While I personally dislike the noise Harley engines make—they're too damned loud—I like the healthy, high octane growl the 1.2 liter engine I sit just above and behind makes. Then there are the vibrations from the engine. At 90 mph, the engine spins at about 5500 rpm. It's an incredible feeling to sense all that power at my command being exerted.

    As you can expect, none of these things are present in an electric bike. It's going to be quite a dull experience to ride an electric bike I think.

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      > Bikers such as myself appreciate the engine noise their bikes make.
      We'll you and your kin are the only ones. Nothing more annoying than a handful of Harley's driving downtown between the buildings, holding the clutch in, and revving the engine.

      • by mendax (114116)

        > Bikers such as myself appreciate the engine noise their bikes make.
        We'll you and your kin are the only ones. Nothing more annoying than a handful of Harley's driving downtown between the buildings, holding the clutch in, and revving the engine.

        You're damned right! However, I personally dislike the noise Harleys make. They're too damned loud. I ride a Suzuki Bandit. That's a Japanese sport touring bike with a big crotch rocket engine. It's reasonable quiet until you get onto the freeway and wind it up.

        • by markdavis (642305)

          >" That's a Japanese sport touring bike with a big crotch rocket engine. It's reasonable quiet until you get onto the freeway and wind it up."

          I *have* a 1.4 liter Japanese sport touring bike with huge performance. And like all other factory Japanese bikes, it is not loud at all, regardless of how much I "wind it up". Why? Because I didn't replace the stock, legal, quality, perfectly appropriate muffler with some loud, annoying aftermarket thing that serves no purpose except to scream "look at me" (or

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Please buy one and get rid of your ridiculous 130 db bike. Nobody is impressed. The noise of 30 bikers rumbling through tourist towns and mountain scenic highways is highly annoying. I've been in towns like Taos and Durango where Harley bikers are not appreciated by the business owners. They don't buy the art and they scare away customers who want to eat outside on beautiful days.

    • by Marrow (195242) on Thursday June 19, 2014 @10:48PM (#47278659)

      The sound and the fury are great; there is no denying that. But I would be very interested in an electric bike that just runs. No oil, no fuel, no maintenance. Just a ultra-reliable ride.

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by Anonymous Coward

        They're called bicycles.

    • by mellon (7048)

      Bikers appreciate all kinds of different things. I like something that handles nicely in the turns and has lots of torque. Quiet is a bonus for me, not a drawback.

    • They don't do noise like ICEs do; but electric vehicles do tend to combine a battery pack that could (possibly literally, in the larger models) melt a crowbar with a motor that looks only slightly different than a dead short at zero RPM.

      If they can't make that combination, through some combination of vibration and sheer acceleration, inject the sentiment "Plenitudo potestatis. fuck yeah" directly into the operator's brain, they are doing something wrong.

      If they can do it without the noise, they are d
    • by metlin (258108)

      Not all bikers are like you. Personally, I would absolutely love an electric motorcycle.

      Plus, all that power and more will be exerted in an electric motorcycle - they just won't be wasted on noise and vibrations. They will be efficiently used in a servo motor, and as a geek, that excites me more than any rumble of power being at my command.

    • Your thinking about the engine noise will totally change after you drive an electric bike that is faster and better performing than any gas bike could ever be... You'll pull up next to someone with an old fashioned gas bike roaring and making noise and fumes and you'll just effortlessly smoke them while they are roaring and straining to keep up with you.... and you'll start to think of the noise not as power but as "poser"... like a fake strong man groaning to lift a tiny weight or a rock guitar player mak

    • by kheldan (1460303)
      Are you kidding me? I've been riding motorcycles for 35 years and I'd stand in line for a chance to own something like this, and I've owned some fast bikes. Zero to 60 in 4 seconds? And it does it quietly? Hell, yes! Fewer moving parts to wear out? Hell, yes! No massive amounts of heat generated? Hell, yes! For 100,000 miles the only thing that would likely need replacing are brake pads and tires? Oh HELL YES!

      You, on the other hand? As others have pointed out, sounds like you want compensation for somethin
    • by AmiMoJo (196126) *

      Then there are the vibrations from the engine. At 90 mph, the engine spins at about 5500 rpm.

      Have you ever actually tried a battery operated sex toy? They could build one right into the seat.

    • by HnT (306652)

      You are of course spot on and everything you said goes double for a Harley. Everyone I know who ever looked at a Harley did so for the "legend" and the noise and definitely not the technology.
      Theoretically the e-engine would give this bike some crazy pick-up just like all those e-cars have shown us but of course that does not matter even a tiny little bit for the typical chopper and Harley rider.

    • Sure, I like revving my big thumper (660cc single-cylinder) and feeling the vibrations, but have you ever ridden or driven a decently powered electric vehicle? They're not silent, there is a very definite motor/geartrain noise, and the torque and responsiveness really has to be experienced to believe it.

      They may not roar, but they are anything but silent:
      https://www.youtube.com/watch?... [youtube.com]

      And just listen to this as he's braking into the corners:
      https://www.youtube.com/watch?... [youtube.com]

    • Stop deceiving yourself on your true intentions and buy a sybian then,
  • The "won't be paying enough attention to them" is true enough. But the Dead on arrival comment is perhaps not accurate. Well, accurate enough for a Harley rider. But I rode a BMW R75-5 airhead for a decade or so. Quiet, vibration free. But hardly dull.

  • What? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by ArchieBunker (132337) on Thursday June 19, 2014 @10:38PM (#47278623) Homepage

    How will they make it leak oil and break down like normal Harleys?

  • They could always digitize the sound of the Harley. That would be cool.
  • >"with the electric Harley able to go from 0 to 60 mph in four seconds."

    Wow, so that makes it only twice as slow as my old gas Kawasaki. Extreme noise (because people think loud = performance, which it does not) and vibration (along with poor handling and old tech) are Harley trademarks... I can't imagine why they would be interested in producing such a model.

  • They'll finally have a model that doesn't sound like an elephant with a bad case of gas. :(

  • And now that Tesla has freed up the patents for their superchargers, you'll be able to plug an electric bike into something that uses that connection and current (not necessarily the Tesla ones). Given that the motorcycle battery packs are much smaller than the car packs, I don't expect that a 2-minute charge to full would be out of the question.

    That might almost be quicker than walking up to a cashier and paying money, and certainly would be quicker if you're not the first person in line.

  • My father always said you had to be a mechanic if you wanted to own one of the old Harleys.
    Well I guess things change. In the future you have to be an electrician... :-)
  • The limits of existing battery chemistries is what will reduce the LiveWire to an expensive hipster commuter toy. A 54 mile range per charge is not sufficient for anything but a typical daily Home - Office - Grocery Store - Home - Recharge cycle and the price will kill consumer interest. No one is going to buy this EV motorcycle for weekend back road twisties or poker runs. Or Track Day. Or pretty much anything else people use motorcycles for.

    For electric vehicles to be practical a significant breakthr

  • by LeadSongDog (1120683) on Friday June 20, 2014 @11:12AM (#47281689)
    What, "ElectraGlide" was taken?

What this country needs is a good five dollar plasma weapon.

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