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Sparky the Hog: Harley goes electric!

2014-06-20 10:02

WANT ONE? WE DO! It's a Sparky Hog - yes, a battery bike - but who cares if your Harley-Davidson could look like this? 30 are touring America. Image: Harley-Davidson

WASHINGTON - Harley-Davidson is hitting the highway to see what its legion of die-hard fans think of its latest product - a battery bike.

It's Project LiveWire bike accelerates to 100km/h in four seconds but with leisurely crusing can keep going for about 160km (which pretty much blows a good South African breakfast run! - Editor) on its lithium-ion battery.

VIDEO: Sparky the Hog on the hoof
GALLERY: Harley-Davidson electric bike

And forget the usual Harley dub-a-dub-a-dub exhaust note: the bike is so quiet that two riders, alongside each other, can chat comfortably at highway speeds.

'MANY DIRECTIONS'

Harley-Davidson president Matt Levatich told AFP on Thursday (June 19 2014): "I think the biggest difference in riding is the nature of the electric power delivery, which is immediate and with incredible torque."

Thirty of the black bikes will fan out across the US during the rest of 2014 so the 111-year-old manufacturer of the world's most famous motorcycles can canvass public reaction to its most innovative product in years. The road show will extend into Canada and Europe in 2015 but, Levatich said, there were no immediate plans to put the Project LiveWire into production.

"We're interested in what people think, because we could take this in many directions," he said. "We're at the very cusp of an emerging industry and we're excited about it."
Powering the Project LiveWire is a 74 horsepower engine that delivers 52 pound-feet of torque via a belt-driven transmission, giving a top speed of 92 miles per hour.

...AND THE REACTION

Initial reaction on social media reflected the passion of hard-core Harley-Davidson enthusiasts...

Tyler Hutcherson of Springfield, Missouri, wrote on the company's Facebook page: "Congrats Harley-Davidson on taking a step away from fossil fuels and making a bad-ass looking bike in the process!"

And on the same page from South Africa... Enslin van Niekerk, who favours the petrol-powered 'hogs', wrote: "Not for me this one. I prefer the 'guglug guglug guglug!!!' sound of my V-twin thank you very much! Stick to the legend and basics H-D, leave electric bikes for the Japanese."

Would you want a battery-powered Harley-Davidson? Have your say in our Readers' Comments section below or email us.
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