Here’s an oxymoron if I ever heard one: A quiet motorcycle. Well, Harley-Davidson (HOG) has plans to make this a reality with the LiveWire, the first electric motorcycle in the company’s history.
Unlike traditional hogs, the LiveWire has no gas tank, exhaust pipe or even a transmission. Instead, this electric motorcycle’s svelte 18-pound frame comes equipped with a 55-killowatt electric motor, lithium ion batteries, LED lights and a top speed of 92 mph.
And there will be none of that “heavy metal thunder” that is traditionally associated with Harley-Davidson’s motorcycles. Jeff Richlen, Harley-Davidson’s chief engineer of new products likens the motorcycle’s noise to a jet fighter. Richlen also described the bike as “nimble, agile and light.”
Now, I’m a bigger fan of having four wheels underneath me than two, but the bikers I know heavily favor motorcycles that make a lot of noise. When they’re out riding, it’s safer when other drivers know that they’re coming. So it’s interesting that the country’s largest motorcycle maker is going this route.
Of course, we’re still a ways away from seeing any LiveWires hit the road in full force. On June 23 Harley-Davidson will begin testing the bike with focus groups, holding simultaneous tours on the East and West coasts through the end of the year. As with electric car companies like Tesla Motors (TSLA), the future of driving hasn’t quite arrived yet, but it’s fast approaching.
In the meantime, I consider HOG a cautious B-rated Buy.