The arrival of Harley-Davidson’s LiveWire marks the first mega-brand to launch an all-electric motorcycle against the backdrop of a huge dealer and support network.
It’s a total no-brainer to think that almost every other mainstream manufacturer out there must be furiously working away at their own electric plans, but what’s utterly crazy is that Harley-Davidson, given all the things it stands for, is the first of the big ones to push an EV out of the factory doors.
You have to stand back and wonder what a mainstream manufacturer’s product ends up being like when it’s compared to a niche manufacturer. Electric motors seem to be a bit of a leveller – they don’t have much personality and they all sound roughly the same, which is in stark contrast to internal combustion engines (ICE). It’s not uncommon to set out to buy an ICE motorcycle having decided on the engine configuration and nothing else. To whit, Harley-Davidson just as much as Ducati are known for V (and L) twins, Triumph is known for triples, and an entire narrative surrounds Royal Enfield’s recent move into (gasp!) twin-cylinder engines.
Harley’s solution to this, it appears, is to try and inject a bit of internal-combustion-engine-like behaviour into its electric motors, with the aim of re-creating a bit of character and theatre. That would seem like a good idea; after all, we do tend to bond with our bikes’ personalities. The question is, has it worked?
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