Brammo CEO Craig Bramscher noted in a recent Charged feature that there are only so many cool jobs for people who love electric motorcycles. It sounds like the coolest job imaginable just opened up – Harley-Davidson is looking for a Director of Electrical Vehicle Technology.
According to a posting on the company’s web site, the EV Director will be responsible for “personally driving successful execution of the largest, most strategically important production and innovation EV projects,” and is expected to be the company’s top electric vehicle expert. The position requires a Bachelor’s Degree in Electrical Engineering or a related field, as well as a minimum of ten years of product development experience.
Harley-Davidson’s Project Livewire has been the talk of the motor press for the last couple of weeks, and all concerned seem to be excited about it. We haven’t read a bad word about it anywhere (of course, we haven’t surveyed the dudes down at the local biker bar).
The HOGs of the New York City Harley Owners’ Group certainly sound open-minded. They checked out the prototype electric bike at a dealership in Manhattan this week, as Harley kicked off a tour of 30 dealerships around the country “Old school meets new school, you gotta accept it,” said one gray-bearded biker. “This is an electric? Holy sh-t!” said another.
Driving electric is definitely a different experience, said Joe Sessa, Director of the NYC Owners’ Group. “You can’t even compare the LiveWire to a regular Harley. It’s like night and day. I mean, there’s no sound, no shifting, no clutch, the torque is unbelievable. It’s a whole new animal.”
The LiveWire isn’t designed to be quiet. Harley’s patented chugging bass has been replaced by a high-pitched shriek like a jet engine. “The sound that it’s producing is uniquely our own, very authentic and genuine,” says LiveWire Chief Engineer Jeff Richlen. “It’s not fabricated or artificially simulated or anything along that line.”
The LiveWire prototype has a 74-horsepower electric motor that delivers 52 foot-pounds of torque and takes the bike from zero to 60 miles in less than 4 seconds. Top speed is limited to around 90 mph. Harley estimates the range at about 53 miles.
A couple of the New York HOGs noted that The LiveWire might make the perfect city bike. “If I could have a touring bike that I could do long distances on,” said Carmen Roberts, “I would have this as a second urban bike to zip around town and just go here and there, short runs. I would definitely buy it.”
Harley plans to gauge the the level of customer interest on the LiveWire’s national tour before deciding whether it will produce an electric model. John Maguire, General Manager of Harley-Davidson of New York City, said he’s ready to place an order. “On your traditional gas Harley, you get that Zen moment where you have the hum of the motor and the wind and everything,” he said. “Subtract the hum of the motor: It’s like flying. It’s just wind passing. It’s really great.”