Motorcycles

Harley-Davidson electric motorcycle coming in 2018

Harley-Davidson, not always the last word in cutting-edge technology, will enter the 21st century with a possibly LiveWire-based production electric motorcycle later this year.

CNET

Harley-Davidson, that supremely American bastion of two-wheeled culture, is building a production electric motorcycle based on its excellent LiveWire concept from 2014 and we're stoked because it's supposed to hit dealers this year.

Let's face it, Harley-Davidson is a weird company. It always just does its own thing and generally manages to just skate by, ignoring the ups and downs of the motorcycle industry as a whole, and that's why its LiveWire concept was both utterly shocking (pun intended) and not, all at the same time.

"The EV motorcycle market is in its infancy today, but we believe premium Harley-Davidson electric motorcycles will help drive excitement and participation in the sport globally," said Matt Levatich, Harley-Davidson's president and CEO. "As we expand our EV capabilities and commitment, we get even more excited about the role electric motorcycles will play in growing our business."

The LiveWire concept seemed odd on the surface, but when you break it down, the design hewed reasonably close to the traditional Harley riding experience, sans that famous potato-potato exhaust note. It didn't produce huge torque numbers, just 58 lb-ft but because that figure was available at zero RPM, it wasn't entirely dissimilar to the low-down torque one gets from a colossal V-Twin. It also didn't make a ton of horsepower, a Harley-Davidson tradition but by Motor Company standards, it was light at under 500 lbs.

In all, the LiveWire was a really good electric bike in 2014, when many of its competitors still felt a little toy-like and under-developed. Hopefully, HD has funneled some development dollars its way in the last four years and brought it in line with the excellent electric motorcycles that can be had today from companies like Zero and Lightning.

So far, details on the new production electric bike are thin on the ground, but we've reached out to Harley-Davidson for further information and will update this story accordingly.