Harley-Davidson has announced its first-ever electric motorcycle, but it won't be going on sale for the general public anytime soon as the company aims to select American riders to test the bike and get feedback to continue to innovate in the electric sphere.
The move could change the company's brand, where the loud sounds from the bikes offer a unique riding experience that has everyone around knowing that it's a Harley.
Called Project LiveWire, the new electric bike will be heading down the historically popular Route 66 to visit over 30 Harley dealers across the country through the end of the year. This should give the company more insight into how bikers view the new electric model.
The company is hopeful any initial mixed reactions will change once Harley riders see the new, environmentally friendly bike.
"Project LiveWire is more like the first electric guitar -- not an electric car," said Mark-Hans Richer, senior VP at Harley-Davidson Motor Company, hoping he and the company can spur interest in the innovative new idea.
"It's an expression of individuality and iconic style that just happens to be electric. Project LiveWire is a bold statement for us as a company and a brand."
But some bikers are not convinced, saying because it is silent, it lacks the traditional sound that makes a Harley a Harley. Across the world, there has been a wide range of views, with those Harley traditionalists wanting the sound that they've become accustomed to over the years.
The new model was unveiled this week at a closed runway show at the former Marine Corps Air Station in Irvine, Calif.
Reports indicate it weighs around 460 pounds and can go from zero to 60 mph in under four seconds, maintaining the speed and power riders expect from the company.
"It's a great, kick-ass motorcycle," said the company's chief engineer for new products, Jeff Richlen. "It just happens to be electric."
The company says the creation of an electric model is the "natural progression" of the efforts to become more environmentally savvy in a world greatly affected by the effects of climate change. With companies like Tesla, the leader in luxury electric vehicles, gaining steam, Harley's entrance could be the first evolution in helping to mold a market for electric motorcycles.