BREAKING: Harley-Davidson Reveals Project LiveWire Electric Motorcycle (w/video)


“You don’t know where the line is until you cross it.”

States Harley-Davidson in revealing its first-ever electric motorcycle called Project LiveWire.

Harley-Davidson adds:

“Let’s unleash a new kind of freedom into the world. Let’s re-imagine the possibilities and re-imagine the ride. Project LiveWire. This is electric the way only Harley-Davidson® would do it. By getting on the street with other riders to discover how heart-pounding and soul-satisfying we can make the ride. Do you want in?”

Lastly, Harley-Davidson states:

“See it. Hear it. Feel it.”

“The Project LiveWire Experience begins a 30-city tour across America starting June 24th in New York City, where riders will be invited to take a historic ride. The first few stops have been announced below and the full 2014 US tour schedule will be announced in the next week.”

Sadly, those are all the details available at this time on Project LiveWire.

Them lucky fellas over at Wired already got the chance to test drive Project LiveWire.  Here are a few highlights from Wired’s seat time:

“It doesn’t sound anything at all like a proper Harley—or a “fighter jet landing on an aircraft carrier” as Harley brass say—but it’s got a futuristic sound that brings to mind an airliner taking to the air.”

“…it’ll hit 60 mph in under four seconds and it’s got more style than other electrics we’ve ridden.”

“…this isn’t a production model. Not yet, anyway. Harley is taking a few dozen LiveWires on a tour, dubbed Project LiveWire, of the United States and Europe.”

“The LiveWire offers 74 horsepower, 52 foot-pounds of torque and a (governed) top speed of 92 mph.”

“…the bike uses a lithium-ion battery with a range of 53 miles. It charges in 3.5 hours at 220 volts. Assuming the bike has a 3.3 kw charging system like other electric motorcycles, some back-of-the-envelope math suggests the LiveWire uses a 10 kilowatt-hour pack.”

Harley-Davidson Project LiveWire

Harley-Davidson Project LiveWire

Harley-Davidson Project LiveWire

Harley-Davidson Project LiveWire

Harley-Davidson Project LiveWire

Harley-Davidson Project LiveWire

Harley-Davidson Project LiveWire

Harley-Davidson Project LiveWire

Harley-Davidson Project LiveWire

Harley-Davidson Project LiveWire

Harley-Davidson Project LiveWire

Harley-Davidson Project LiveWire

Harley-Davidson Project LiveWire

Harley-Davidson Project LiveWire

Harley-Davidson Project LiveWire

Harley-Davidson Project LiveWire

Harley-Davidson Project LiveWire

Harley-Davidson Project LiveWire


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45 Comments on "BREAKING: Harley-Davidson Reveals Project LiveWire Electric Motorcycle (w/video)"

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I did not see this coming. Very interesting.

That was my reaction, as well, except there may have been a “holy f—” as well…

As a fan of electric motorcycles I applaud this, especially coming from Harley. Someone high up in the management must have had a real set of brass balls to pull this off, considering their usual customer base. The mirror/signals combo is ugly as hell, though.

Wow, for the first time in my life I want to ride a Harley.


Me too, but I’m guessing it will be at Harley prices. No thanks. (also wish it was shaft drive vs. belt drive)

Ditto! I’ve been looking at Zero’s to replace my current 2004 BMW but the price is still too high. Maybe with more competition the cost will come down. I just hope it will be soon enough for when I need to replace my BMW. Also agree on the shaft drive. I hate the maintenance that comes with cleaning and replacing belts and chains.

There is a IR video about the Livewire Projects:

While there are not much tech specs given, the project is about customer experience and feedback for possible future HD EV bikes.

More power, more range, put more charger in it. All that would make it be even more impressive.

As it stands; it’d better be cheap for what it is.

“74 horsepower, 52 foot-pounds” ain’t going to win anyone over. Especially at a price premium(penalty?). Need a lot more on offer to make someone drop the dollars on it.

If the thing flat out booked; people would be more interested, intrigued, and desire it.

Totally weak first offering and not the way to win people over.

Better be cheaper than a gas Sportster cause it’s really underwhelming at this point.

UQM could build a motor/inverter combo at any hp/tq level. An AC Zilla could be constructed. No excuse for making a ~50hp anything. This ain’t no scooter. Put that power plant in a Cushman.

Hopefully the opportunity to ride it during the 30-city tour will change minds. The paper specs aren’t especially inspiring, but it’s probably the quickest bike in Harley’s lineup (< 4s 0-60 vs Sportster's ~6s).


“While the consensus on Project Livewire seems to be that it’s a looker, the devil is in the details…and now we have those as well. Featuring a three-phase induction motor with 55 kW of power (just under 74hp) and 52 lbs•ft of torque, the Harley-Davidson Livewire is packing more power than both the Brammo Empulse R (54 hp) and Zero SR (67 hp). That’s the good.
The bad is that despite its hefty casing size, the Harley-Davidson Livewire motorcycle is a little light in the loafers when it comes to battery capacity. Our guesstimate on battery pack size, judging from Harley’s quoted charge time and parameters, is somewhere in the neighborhood of 7 kWh nominal, a bit less than the 9.3 kWh and 10.0 kWh of the Brammo and Zero.
That means the Harley-Davidson Livewire is good for just over 50 miles of mixed city and highway riding that is limited to 92 mph (we’re not really sure how Harley-Davidson came up with that figure). Expect to go 0-60 in around 4 seconds.”

“. . . motorcycle is a little light in the loafers when it comes to battery capacity.”

LOL! 😀

Now I have this tune stuck in my head.

One thing to keep in mind, as far as the range goes, is this is basically just a demo model. They probably just used a battery pack that would give them enough range to let people take it for a quick spin, because they don’t need more range than that right now.

My thoughts as well. If it makes it to production, it may not be using the powertrain configuration or battery from this concept.

It appears that the demo has approximately 60 miles of range. Motorcycle Display in the the cycle world video (2:25 mark ) had 26% capacity with 15 miles of range. 300volt pack. No telling how dogged the motorcycle was for that video, so this should be considered a minimum range on the demo.

Well I never thought I’d see this. I just hope they are serious, and not hedging against future compliance issues. While I doubt the typical Harley demographic would go for it right now, with the right marketing and their established dealer network they could actually pull it off. Maybe they could talk to Tesla about batteries and charging infrastructure standards before they go much further

I sure hope the idiotic simulated jet sound is optional and/or dies before production. One of the advantages of electrics is their stealth. This is especially important in a motorcycle where you are much closer to nature than in a car.

I disagree. Motorcycle noise is needed so cars know they are there. Otherwise, they motorcycle drivers become organ donors.

Motorcycle noise is needed to annoy your neighbors and provide a sense of defiance against society, not provide any safety. Do you also feel that having an excessively loud stereo in your car is safer because it rattles the windows of the cars around you at stop lights?

Since your pipes don’t project sound forward very well, this simply startles the drivers as you get next to to them, they still don’t hear you coming. Riding as though none of the drivers see you is much safer than assuming they have just because you are annoying everyone behind you.

When splitting lanes (legal in CA), I much prefer drivers to keep doing what they were doing, rather than start swerving because they were startled.

I am glad to see Harley-Davidson at least consider producing a bike that I would actually purchase. I prefer a much smoother ride than you get from a large bore twin. My current bike has a very smooth V-four, but not nearly as smooth as an electric would be.

You’re speaking this as a non-motorcycle rider. As a rider, I cannot emphasize how much sound helps motorcyclists from getting run over. I have been pushed over in my lane several times by cars not hearing my admittedly-quiet bike.

I am writing this as a motorcycle rider (dirt since 1980, street since 1987), as well as an automobile driver and home owner.

I cannot think of a single incident in all my riding when louder would have been better. When a loud bike passes me, I still see them before I hear them. If they are a few cars up in heavy traffic I might hear them first, but I don’t see how this helps anyone, they are still several cars away from me.

Every time one of my neighbors with loud pipes lets his bike idle for a few minutes while he is getting ready, I can think of a time when quieter would definitely be better. To my knowledge, he has not gotten run over in his driveway yet, probably credits this to his lack of a proper muffler.

Loud pipes save lives is BS. You don’t hear it till they pass you, and that’s only if your own car isn’t loud, or radio isn’t cranked. It’s just an excuse to be an ass. How do loud bikes hear other loud bikes over their own loud bikes? The best way to avoid accidents is to be a defensive rider. You should always assume no one can see you. I do the same thing in my car, or when walking across the street.

In my experience, the biggest cause of riders becoming organ donors are the riders themselves. The majority seem to think they are riding light bikes like in Tron…

It isn’t simulated. That’s the sound of the gears. Also, it’s awesome. 🙂

It’s great to see another manufacturer of vehicles looking at the electric angle of motoring.

But it doesn’t even get close to the Zero motorcycles with more than double the range and Chademo capability.

I like the looks of the Harley better, but it has a long ways to go to match Zero’s specs.

Dr. Kenneth Noisewater

Neat first effort, now double the power, double the battery, double the charge rate, for $20k or less.

Double the flavor, double the fun!

I so hope this makes it to production.

After attending the TTXGP in 2010, I went to the Harley dealer and told him I had seen the future. He basically called me a dumb a__, and said Harley would never sell electric junk. 🙂

Happy to see a mainstream bike maker test the EV waters…

OK I’ll say it first “Finally, a Harley that won’t leak oil”……

Srsly, as a long time Harley rider, I’m not sure how I feel. I’ve already planned a bumper sticker for the Leaf that says “Saving the gas for my Harley”

I like how the bike looks, I’m sure it will be fun to ride.

But where’s my Harley sound? that’s half the experience……

Dr. Kenneth Noisewater

Sounds like a market for chrome ‘boomstick’ loudspeakers with selectable noises to me! Harley thump, jet engine, small-block, big-block, Jetsons..

Jetsons EVERYTIME!!!

“But where’s my Harley sound? that’s half the experience…”

What would you like?

You can actually buy this one NOW.

Yamaha, Honda, Suzuki, BMW, Indian…. where u at?

Dr. Kenneth Noisewater

BMW’s got their electric scooter, but I wouldn’t expect to see a competitor for the K1600 until they can get battery packs at 800Wh/kg or better, charging at 200kW or better.

I wonder if they can make a range-extender version, like the i3? (carbon fiber)

Really, 200 kW? Excepting Iron Butt riders, most bikers will stop and take a short break every couple of hours. 140 miles * 140 Wh/mile = 20 kWh Replenishing that energy in 20 minutes would require around 65 kW, and charging at 420 miles per hour.. faster than Model S on a 135 kW Supercharger. That’s not going to be fast enough for some bikers, but those bikers would probably never be happy with an electric bike anyways. Keep in mind that turns a 3 hour trip into a 3 hour 20 minute trip if you’re slogging down the interstate, or a 5 hour trip with some fun back roads into a 5 hour 20 minute trip. As sacrifices go, that’s pretty minimal. The harder part will be storing enough energy into the bike that the two hour ride will deplete the car from 80% to 20%, so that the 20 minute charge will replenish from 20% back up to 80%. That’s around 30 kWh, and that will require denser batteries or a very heavy bike. The largest battery configuration of Brutus V9 weighs almost 900 pounds, has 210 miles of highway range and has a 33.7 kWh pack ..… Read more »

Isn’t 53 miles range low for an E bike?

One of the cool things about bikes is that they need far smaller batteries, and thus are much more reasonable.

They are small and light, but their aerodynamics stink. But they don’t have to.

I will not be sad to see the end of the Harley soundtrack

Not really when outlaw bikers hollow out silencers and drive past at 2 am in the morning. Rather they do it by stealth EV and let us sleep.

I was wondering if the end of Harley museum pieces was near?

Now I see they have inspired management looking clearly into the future.

Yes I want one !