After years of toying around with the idea of an electric motorcycle, Harley-Davidson have now committed to putting one into production. There’s no word on specs yet, but Harley executives claim Harley-Davidson Live Wire will hit the market “within 18 months.”
It’s likely the new bike will build on the somewhat meagre specs of the LiveWire, the prototype electric motorcycle Harley-Davidson rolled out back in 2014. It was also featured in the Marvel film, Captain America: Civil War.
While the Harley-Davidson Live Wire achieved a four seconds, 0-60 mph speed, it was limited to just 55 miles of range in “economy” mode. That’s a fair distance away from the 200 miles benchmark most consumers are demanding. Battery technology, however, is constantly improving, so bets are high, range will be a focus of the new bike.
Unfortunately for fans of the American motorcycle giant, the announcement comes during a troubling time of Harley-Davidson. The company announced closure of a factory in Kansas City, Missouri, ending around 800 jobs. There are also moves to consolidate another plants in Pennsylvania by about 260 jobs.
We’ve all seen it. The motorcycle market is lagging and Harley-Davidson has suffered. The company’s sales dipped 6.7 percent in 2017, and projections show the decline will continue into 2018.
A switch to electric, is no cure to Harley-Davidson’s troubles, Still, a few small companies hoping to be early adopters, like Zero Motorcycles have found early success.
Our friends at Bike World test rode their flagship Zero SR back in May 2017, and were pleasantly engaged by the torque and handling.
Despite the dramatic fall in Harley’s sales, it’s worth noting that in their domestic market, the USA, Harley still dominates the large capacity market, accounting for more than 50% of all sales over 601cc.