2014 President’s Picks: Best Innovation – Harley Project LiveWire

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By Arthur Coldwells

2014 President's Picks: Best Innovation - Harley Project LiveWire

Harley-Davidson Project LiveWire

Best Innovation – Harley Project LiveWire

A lot of people would scoff at the thought of Harley-Davidson being “innovative.” Jokes still abound about parts dropping off bikes during a ride, and old, slow V-twins that have to “do their best” on 80 mph highways.

But actually, nothing could be further from the truth. Harleys are well engineered, reliable motorcycles that have for many years included complex electronics systems such as self-canceling turn signals, fuel injection, cruise control, and now ABS.

Truth is, Harleys are highly sophisticated modern machines. Millions of dollars was spent to make them look like olde-worlde classics.

So it came as a bit of a shock (no pun intended) when Harley announced its Project LiveWire electric motorcycle project — something so far beyond what it currently produce The Motor Company seems to have blown past several stages of evolution in the process.

But if you think about it, the decision to “go electric” is actually not all that surprising. It is merely the answer to precisely who Harley thinks they will be selling to in 20 years—or maybe sooner.

The bike itself is typical of the several electric motorcycles currently out there — it works well, whines a bit and produces gobs of torque. It is also quite heavy and has minimal range. But those latter two detractions are merely a reflection of current battery technology, and as that technology matures, the weight will come down and the range will go up.

So kudos to Harley for flying in the face of its current market and brand perception, and opening its lab doors to the public’s gaze. LiveWire is undoubtedly the future; it is just a question of how long it will take battery technology to advance to the point where electric motor powered machines reach critical mass.

What I can predict, …read more

Source: 2014 President’s Picks: Best Innovation – Harley Project LiveWire

    

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