You choose, we deliver
If you are interested in this story, you might be interested in others from The Journal Gazette. Go to www.journalgazette.net/newsletter and pick the subjects you care most about. We'll deliver your customized daily news report at 3 a.m. Fort Wayne time, right to your email.

Business

  • Kidney settlement derided
    DaVita Healthcare Partners Inc. this week agreed to one of the largest ever anti-kickback settlements in the U.S.But even a $350 million penalty isn’t enough to satisfy Jamie Court’s sense of justice.
  • 16 killed in northwest China coal mine collapse
     BEIJING – A coal mine shaft collapsed in northwestern China, killing 16 miners, an official said Saturday, highlighting the persistence of safety problems in the industry despite a leveling off of demand.
  • Disney woos Japanese moviegoers
    TOKYO – Disney executives call their next film “a love letter to Japanese culture.” No wonder: This nation can't get enough of animation, especially Disney's.
Advertisement
Associated Press
Harley-Davidson will unveil demonstration models of LiveWire, its full-size electric motorcycle, at an invitation-only event Monday in New York.

Harley testing electric model

Thinking golf cart? More like ‘rocket ship’

– Would a Harley still be a Harley if it didn’t have that out-of-my-way rumble and those fat, hydrocarbon-belching exhausts?

Motorcycle enthusiasts are about to find out as Harley-Davidson rolls out an electric bike – a sleek, futuristic version that sounds like a jet airplane taking off.

The public will get its first look at handmade demonstration models at an invitation-only event Monday in New York.

The company will then take the models on the road for riders to try. Harley will use their feedback to refine the bike, which might not hit the market for several more years.

Harleys have long been the bad-boy bike of choice with an image associated with motorcycle gangs, even though most riders are middle-aged and middle-class.

The new venture is a departure from Harley’s mainstay touring bikes and presents an added risk because there’s almost no market for full-size electric motorcycles.

The millions of two-wheeled electric vehicles sold each year are almost exclusively scooters and low-powered bikes that appeal to Chinese commuters.

But those focused on electric vehicle development say Harley has the marketing power to create demand – and that its efforts to lower costs, build charging stations and improve technology will help everyone.

“It does validate what we’ve been doing; it adds additional credibility to it. It is certainly going to draw more people’s attention to electric motorcycles. The marketing horsepower of Harley-Davidson is going to be able to do things for us that we can’t do on our own,” said Scot Harden, vice president of global marketing at Zero Motorcycles, the top seller of full-size, high-powered electric bikes.

Zero expects to sell 2,400 electric motorcycles this year, a drop in the bucket compared with the more than 260,000 conventional motorcycles sold last year by Harley.

The new LiveWire won’t make the distinctive “potato-potato-potato” chug that Harley once tried to patent. Its engine is silent, and the hum comes from the meshing of gears.

But electric motors do provide better handling and rapid acceleration – with the electric Harley able to go from zero to 60 mph in four seconds. LiveWire’s design places the engine at the bottom of the bike.

Jeff Richlen, Harley’s lead engineer on LiveWire, put it this way: “Some people may get on it thinking, ‘golf cart,’ and they get off thinking, ‘rocket ship.’ ”

Advertisement