Harley-Davidson launching new electric ride in London

The signature growling stutter of the Harley Davidson engine is gone, replaced by a jet engine-like whine that betrays its electric, cutting-edge technology.

But at zero to 100 km/h an hour in 3.5 seconds, this bike is still all Harley.

London has been chosen as one of the cities that will be first to sell Harley Davidson’s new electric motorcycle, LiveWire, to be available in late spring or early summer, as the iconic bike maker looks to woo new riders.

London is evolving as a technology hub that has embraced electric vehicles, with more than 1,000 sold in Southwestern Ontario, an attractive statistic to Harley-Davidson, said Erin Mitchell, director of communications for Rocky’s Harley-Davidson in London.

“Harley recognizes London has made strides in putting the tech sector forward. There is a growing concentration,” of electric vehicles, said Mitchell.

“There has been investment to support where plugs are,” to charge them, she said.

Sales will be limited to a few dealerships with London’s Rocky’s sharing the honour with Blackbridge Harley-Davidson in Cambridge.

“It is exciting. We are in the process of retrofitting both dealerships to service these bikes,” she said.

While demographics still show the average Harley owner is an older male, women riders are a growing sector and the bike maker wants to woo a younger, more diverse future rider.

“We believe it is the future of transportation,” said Mitchell. “This is geared toward a new audience. It is very different for Harley. There is a lot of innovation behind it.”

In development for five years, LiveWire is the first of three electric motorcycles Harley plans on launching.

As for its technology, it features a high voltage battery and permanent magnet electric motor that can produce power instantly. It also will not have a clutch or gears. It has a lightweight, rigid cast aluminum frame.

LiveWire offers charging options. An owner can plug into a household outlet in the garage at home overnight, or it can accommodate a fast charge, available at many charging stations.

“This motorcycle will appeal to those interested in a greener transportation choice, as well as to those who may have put off learning to ride because of having to manage the clutch and throttle to shift gears,” said Jeff Duncan, Rocky’s owner, in a release.

“Electric options like LiveWire bring even more diversity and inclusivity to the world of motorcycle riding.”

Harley-Davidson was born in 1903 when Milwaukee engineer William Harley, and his friend, Arthur Davidson, designed a motorized bicycle in Davidson’s backyard shed.

Harley-Davidson LiveWire Fully electric motorcycle Cost: $37,000 Range: 177 km Charge: Household overnight or fast charge in one hour Speed: zero-100 km/h in less than 3.5 seconds No clutch or gears Colour: Black, orange and yellow

 

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