Harley-Davidson debuts first electric motorcycle, the LiveWire
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Harley-Davidson electric motorcycle LiveWire

Harley-Davidson debuts motorcycle "that just happens to be electric"

Harley-Davidson has launched its first electric motorcycle, the LiveWire, which is set to go on sale in 2019.

The production-ready prototype of the all-electric vehicle made its European debut at the Esposizione Internazionale del Ciclo, Motociclo Accessori, also known as the Milan Motorcycle Show, which opened on 6 November.

The LiveWire bike is designed to appeal to new riders who are attracted to electrified vehicles, or who have been put off learning to ride by the prospect of having to manage the clutch and throttle to shift gears.

Harley-Davidson electric motorcycle LiveWire

Like most electric models already on the market, the LiveWire will be an automatic, "twist-and-go" motorbike, much like a standard scooter.

Harley-Davidson announced LiveWire's development back in July as part of a broader strategy to grow the brand. The company said at the time that it wanted to position itself as the leader in the electrification of motorsports.

Harley-Davidson electric motorcycle LiveWire

"Alongside our existing loyal riders, we will lead the next revolution of two-wheeled freedom to inspire future riders who have yet to even think about the thrill of riding," said Harley-Davidson president and CEO Matt Levatich at the time of the launch.

Harley-Davidson will follow LiveWire with additional models that are lighter, smaller and designed to be "even more accessible" to new riders. Specifications on the LiveWire's range and horsepower are yet to be made available.

Harley-Davidson electric motorcycle LiveWire

Of the electric motorcycles already on sale, most come from smaller brands, so Harley-Davidson's entry into the market is seen as a potential watershed moment.

The company was founded in Milwaukee, USA in 1903, and still manufactures there to this day. Its iconic bikes are big and loud, and known for the "chopper" style of customisation made famous in the film Easy Rider.

They're a far cry from the typical electric motorcycle, whose engine is normally silent. In the interests of safety, though, they need to make some sound on the road, and an early LiveWire' prototype was described as sounding like a jet-fighter taking off.

Harley-Davidson electric motorcycle LiveWire

Harley-Davidson has been developing the prototype and testing it with the public since 2014, under the name Project LiveWire.

The motorcycle brand describes the resulting bike as an "authentic Harley-Davidson expression of individuality, iconic style and performance that just happens to be electric".

Among other brands exploring the potential of electric motorcycles is BMW Motorrad, whose Concept Link is designed for getting around cities, while Piaggio's electrified Vespa scooter hit the streets this year.

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Harley-Davidson electric motorcycle LiveWire
Harley-Davidson electric motorcycle LiveWire
Harley-Davidson electric motorcycle LiveWire
Harley-Davidson electric motorcycle LiveWire
Harley-Davidson electric motorcycle LiveWire
Harley-Davidson electric motorcycle LiveWire
Harley-Davidson electric motorcycle LiveWire
Harley-Davidson electric motorcycle LiveWire
Harley-Davidson electric motorcycle LiveWire
Harley-Davidson electric motorcycle LiveWire