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May 28, 2017

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Harley-Davidson hits the US road with electric motorcycle

WASHINGTON--Harley-Davidson is hitting the road to see what its legion of die-hard fans thinks of its latest product — a futuristic all-electric motorcycle.

Dubbed the Project LiveWire, the bike accelerates to 60 miles (110 kilometers) an hour in four seconds, then cruises leisurely for around 100 miles on its lithium-ion battery.

Unusual for a brand famous for the growl of its deep-throated engines, it's sufficiently quiet for two motorcyclists riding alongside each other to carry on a conversation at highway speed.

"I think the biggest difference in riding is the nature of the EV (electric) power delivery, which is immediate and with incredible torque," Harley-Davidson president Matt Levatich told AFP by telephone Thursday.

Thirty of the black bikes will fan out across the United States this year, enabling the 111-year-old manufacturer of the world's most famous motorcycles to canvass market reaction to its most innovative product in years.

The road show will extend into Canada and Europe next year, but Levatich said there are no immediate plans to put the Project LiveWire into production and onto the general market.

"We're interested in what people think, because we could take this in a lot of different directions," he said.

"We're at the very cusp of an emerging industry, and we're excited about it."

Powering the Project LiveWire is a 74 horsepower engine that delivers 52 pound-feet of torque via a belt-driven transmission, giving a top speed of 92 miles per hour.

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