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Harley-Davidson confirms electric motorcycle, 100 new models

'I often refer to it as sounding like a jet fighter.'

A couple of years ago, Harley-Davidson drummed up excitement about electric motorcycles, offering rides on its Livewire prototype. We were told at the end of that project that there would be an electric Harley eventually, but details were scarce. Now, the company tells Drive that it has plans for 100 new motorcycles over the next 10 years, and an electric bike is definitely part of the plan.

Sound is playing a key role in the development of the electric Harley, says Bill Davidson, Harley-Davidson Museum President and great-grandson of company founder William Davidson. Noting the unique sound of gas-powered Harleys, he says the company wants to set its electric bike apart in the same way. "We have studied our competitors, and we understand what they are up to, and we did not want a normal-sounding electric motorcycle. We wanted something that plays into that look and sound formula. It is something really cool. I often refer to it as sounding like a jet fighter."

Davidson says the company doesn't have a definite timeline for the electric motorcycle's introduction, but the project is "progressing well" and that it will launch the bike "eventually." Davidson declined to say whether the company would produce a range of multiple EV motorcycles.

Davidson also says he believes autonomous driving could have a positive effect on Harley-Davidson sales, but not because the technology will make its way into motorcycles. Quite the opposite, he thinks riding could attract new buyers from the enthusiast community as driving becomes more automated.

"Society has become driven by so many factors and we are all now in touch 24/7 as we're surrounded by electronics," says Davidson," and I think riding a motorcycle lets you break free of that and enjoy nature and have fun."

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