I was awoken this morning by an email from Harley-Davidson. The company said, in part, that it wanted to "alleviate your fears."
Yesterday, you see, I had received wind that the company was about to launch its first-ever electric motorcycle. I was concerned for the future of America -- the real America of open roads and full mouths.
I blearily looked at the email and thought: "Oh, good. It was a joke."
Then I saw the pictures.
This is no joke. Harley-Davidson announced Project LiveWire this morning. It is, indeed, a new electric Harley.
The new bike does have a certain style. Although, from the pictures it's hard to decide what style it actually is. It looks a touch sci-fi, as well as a touch too prissy. And, even from yesterday's teaser, it's obvious that the old Harley growl is gone, replaced by the whine of a thousand squashed squirrels.
The company, however, promises that this will be "A new sound, but the same feeling."
Personally, I thought the growl was part of the feeling. However, Mark-Hans Richer, senior vice president and chief marketing officer of Harley-Davidson, insisted: "Project LiveWire is more like the first electric guitar -- not an electric car."
The mere thought of a Harley Prius does, indeed, turn the innards a little. Richer described the squashed squirrel sound like this: "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."
The company prides itself on customer participation. So selected real human beings (I'm not sure if long, not-necessarily-washed hair is compulsory for enrollees) will be able to ride it, starting next week.
Matt Levatich, Harley-Davidson's president and chief operating officer said that Harley has "broadened our reach to serve an increasingly diverse society."
Should you wish to participate in testing this bike, you have to mosey over to Projectlivewire.com.
The site has this intriguing tagline: "Don't Be Left Behind."
I wonder if, by catching up to the ecological trend, Harley will leave something of itself behind in the process.