In the year of Harley-Davidson’s founding – 1903 – electric automobiles looked to be the go-to solution for intown motorists with necessarily short commutes. But then, at the dawn of the 20th century most commutes were short; the reliability of gas-powered machinery was suspect and the ‘burbs had yet to be invented. And so it’s with more than a modicum of irony that some 115 years later Harley-Davidson launches – after one heckuva lot of teasing – its first electric motorcycle.
Harley’s LiveWire was shown to the public for the first time not at the Detroit Auto Show or any of the many motorcycle shows around the globe, but at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas. Described by Harley-Davidson as ‘the future of Harley-Davidson’, the LiveWire brings – again, according to the Motor Company – ‘high-performance electric propulsion, evocative design and cellular connectivity to today’s rider.’ Thankfully, it also delivers ‘thrilling’ acceleration, agile handling and the expected number of electronic rider aids and interfaces. You – of course – still need to ride it, but for people new to motorcycling, the lack of shifting and immediacy of an electric motor’s instant torque are compellingly persuasive. For those wanting to put one in their Garage (of Texas), customers can pre-order at h-d.com/LiveWire. Harley-Davidson plans to make the first domestic deliveries this fall, while select global markets will be announced at a later date.