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Harley-Davidson Unveils LiveWire, Company’s First Electric Motorcycle

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Project LiveWire: Prototype electric motorcycle.  (Credit: Harley Davidson)

Project LiveWire: Prototype electric motorcycle. (Credit: Harley Davidson)

By John Dodge

CHICAGO (CBS) — Harley-Davidson, which for more than 100 years has been known for its brash, loud and powerful motorcycles, is about to do something completely different.

The Milwaukee-based company has built an all-electric prototype super-bike and has launched a nationwide tour called Project Live Wire.

None of the other major motorcycle manufacturers has an electric bike, but there are several smaller speciality companies that sell them.

Brammo was founded in 2002 and its Empulse models sell for between $17,000-$19,000 and can reach a top speed of 110 mph. It was just made available in the United States this year.

Harley-Davidson reportedly turned to San Francisco’s Mission Motors to help design the electric drive train.

There are not many details available on the LiveWire, but the bike reportedly can run from 0 to 60 mph in under 4 seconds, with a top speed of 92 mph.

Harley-Davidson will be taking about two dozen prototypes on the road for a nationwide tour, which kicks off in New York City next week.

There was no immediate word on whether the tour will hit Chicago, but it’s a good bet that it will. The tour will travel down historic Route 66, which, of course, starts here in Chicago. The full schedule will be released next week.

There also are no immediate plans to sell the electric bike.

“Any final decisions about whether to bring an electric motorcycle to market – and when – will be made at a later date,” Harley said on its website.

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