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Transportation Power

Harley-Davidson Unveils Their First Electric Motorcycle 345

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) Homepage

    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.

  • Dangerous (Score:2, Interesting)

    by blackiner ( 2787381 ) on Thursday June 19, 2014 @10:06PM (#47278443)
    I sincerely hope they add some sort of noise generator, bikes are dangerous enough already.
  • 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.

  • 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?

  • 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.

  • by _merlin ( 160982 ) on Friday June 20, 2014 @02:30AM (#47279395) Homepage Journal

    My uncle had been riding a white BMW for decades, and one day he decided to paint it black. After that he noticed that people weren't keeping out of his way the way they used to. It may have been because people associate white BMW bikes with cops (NSW police used them for years before switching to Yamaha) and normally don't give a fuck about motorcyclists, or it could just be that a white bike is easier to spot.

  • Re:So hang on, (Score:5, Interesting)

    by KozmoStevnNaut ( 630146 ) on Friday June 20, 2014 @04:32AM (#47279729)

    Back in the early days, Harley-Davidson used to make bikes known as "silent grey fellows". A stock modern Harley is actually surprisingly quiet, while still having that characteristic lumpy idle that has become their trademark.

    They only become unbearably loud when dumbass idiots put SCREAMIN' EAGLE pipes on their bikes because LOUD PIPES SAVE LIVES and CHOPPER CHOPPER CHOPPER CHOPPER, 'MURICA!

  • by KozmoStevnNaut ( 630146 ) on Friday June 20, 2014 @04:55AM (#47279789)

    Loud pipes don't make a difference, riding defensively and not putting yourself in bad positions relative to other traffic is what makes a difference. Visibility also makes a big difference. Consider that most cars these days are very thoroughly sound-proofed, and most people have their radios up loud enough to be heard clearly from outside the car. They routinely fail to notice emergency vehicles until they're literally right in front of them. They probably won't notice the fart can on your bike.

    My previous bike was a 1996 Suzuki Bandit 600. It had a completely straight-through "muffler" with all the wadding blown out from years of (ab)use. That thing was loud enough to wake the dead and cause cows to stampede when I rode by. It also spat fire when hitting the limiter and burbled gloriously under engine braking. In short, it was a fantastically antisocial mode of transport. I had a number of close calls while riding it, which I attribute partly to my inexperience, and partly to the fact that it was very dark green, almost black.

    My current bike is almost completely opposite. It's a bright orange Yamaha XT660X with stock pipes, and in the two years I've ridden it, I have only had one "close" call. It was really that close at all, just some guy merging closely in front of me. All I had to do was close the throttle and beep the horn. We waved 'hi' to each other as I passed him, he did look a bit sheepish, but I guess he was chatting with his passengers, and I might have been in his blind spot.

    And I promise you, I ride every bit as hard on my new bike as I did on my old one. I'm just a lot more conscious about making myself visible and not putting myself in dangerous positions in relation to cars. Exhaust noise doesn't even factor into it.

"The eleventh commandment was `Thou Shalt Compute' or `Thou Shalt Not Compute' -- I forget which." -- Epigrams in Programming, ACM SIGPLAN Sept. 1982