Harley unveils electric motorcycle

Milwaukee-based Harley-Davidson Motor Co. has introduced its first electric motorcycle, Project LiveWire.

The motorcycle looks and feels like a classic Harley-Davidson, with a new sound.

“The sound is a distinct part of the thrill,” said Mark-Hans Richer, senior vice president and chief marketing officer. “Think fighter jet on an aircraft carrier. Project LiveWire’s unique sound was designed to differentiate it from internal combustion and other electric motorcycles on the market.”

The company will begin allowing select customers to ride Project LiveWire and give comments on the model beginning next week. The motorcycle is not yet on the market, and is currently being used to gather feedback and gauge interest.

That rider reaction will drive future retail availability, the company said.

“America at its best has always been about reinvention,” said Matt Levatich, president and chief operating officer, Harley-Davidson Motor Co. “And, like America, Harley-Davidson has reinvented itself many times in our history, with customers leading us every step of the way. Project LiveWire is another exciting, customer-led moment in our history.”

The motorcycle manufacturer will also offer a virtual test drive of the new model through Jumpstart.

Harley’s 2014 U.S. tour will travel down Route 66, stopping at more than 30 dealerships along the way. And in 2015, the company will extend the Project LiveWire Experience across the rest of the U.S., Canada and Europe.

“This builds on many recent reinvention successes for Harley-Davidson,” Levatich said. “In just the last few years, we’ve broadened our reach to serve an increasingly diverse society, as well as reinvented our approach to product development and manufacturing. This has resulted in cutting-edge products like the recently launched Project Rushmore touring bikes, Harley-Davidson Street 500 and 750 models and this reveal of Project LiveWire.”

One of Harley’s core values is sustainability and preserving the riding environment, the company said.

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