An Electric Harley. Really?
Harley Davidsons announcement that it will be producing an electric motorcycle in 5 years is good news. There are purists and diehard fans that probably won’t warm up to the idea quickly. I understand. The first question that comes to mind is what will it sound like? An electric Harley. Where’s the thunder? Yes, it’s a valid point but it might not be as big an issue as you may think. I’ll talk more about that later.
A couple years ago Harley’s Project Live Wire was a big success. Harley fans from the USA and Europe received the concept with enthusiasm. Other motorcycle manufacturers also have plans for electric bikes. To maintain its competitive lead and advantage, Harley really doesn’t have much of a choice NOT to build electric bikes.
Technical Obstacles of an Electric Motorcycle
Harley, as well as its competitors will have some technical obstacles to overcome. Number one will be range per battery charge. Project Live Wire’s range was only in the 55 mile (plus or minus) per charge range. That should double with production bikes. I for one hope that the range will be increased by more. It takes time to recharge batteries. Hopefully all that will be resolved in the next few years.
Another technical hurdle will be where to put the motor. Tesla placed its motor between the rear wheels but that isn’t an option with a motorcycle. (Unless it’s a trike of course).
But all the manufacturers are in the same boat and have the same obstacles to overcome. And I’m thinking that rather than get stuck on the engineering problems, think of the advantages.
Electric Motorcycle Advantages
Electric motorcycles will enjoy many of the same advantages as electric cars. There won’t need to be gears. Breaking will, In part, be just backing off the accelerator. There will be fewer moving parts. The motor will most likely be much smaller than the existing V-twins. And we haven’t even begun to talk about the environmental advantages.
Designing an Electric Harley will be mostly a blank canvas. The plans for what kind of bike the Electric will be hasn’t been announced. I’m hoping for a cruiser. Think of how easy it will be to sneak out of the garage on Sunday morning. Or any day for that matter. Which brings to mind the sound. If Harley decides that it needs the “thunder” there are ways to make that happen. F1 had the same problem last year with their turbo charged engines. I know it’s not the same with an electric motor but I’m sure that they’ll figure out something that will work. But, really, is the sound THAT important? I’m thinking not.
I don’t know about you but I’m looking forward to an Electric Harley. Let me know what you think.