Harley-Davidson Makes Sharp Turn With Electric Motorcycle

Harley-Davidson unveiled its first electric motorcycle that surges from 0 to 60 mph in just four seconds.

Harley-Davidson Makes Sharp Turn With Electric Motorcycle

The days of the loud Harley-Davidson motorcycle engines roaring likely aren't over, but that roar may be a bit quieter in the near future. (Via Flickr / Moyan Brenn)

The 110-year-old iconic bike company released video Thursday of its first electric motorcycle called Project LiveWire. Not the blistering growl we're used to, right?

But, that doesn't mean this stealthy electric bike comes without muscle.

The sleek speedster can go from 0 to 60 mph in just four seconds. And, while its bare-boned design might be a far cry from the behemoth gas hogs riders are familiar with, Harley-Davidson's chief engineer thinks bikers will love it. (Via Los Angeles Times)

"As the bike flies by, it sounds like a jet fighter. ... This is the type of vehicle that is a game changer. ... Harley purists are going to love it. ... You get off the bike and just want to ride again." (Via ABC)

The electric bike does have a couple of minor setbacks. It only gets about 130 miles per charge and takes about 30 minutes to replenish the battery. Not quite as convenient as a quick fill up at the gas pump. (Via WNBC)

Still, this slimmer vehicle seems completely counter to the rebellious "big dog" mentality Harley-Davidson typically stands for — with names like Fat Boy and Road King. So, why the shift change?

A writer for Time says major car companies GM, Chrysler and Ford rebounded with more efficient business models after the Great Recession, but Harley continued to slide. The company's sales plunged from $5.8 billion in 2006 to $3.1 billion in 2010, despite the auto industry as a whole recovering. (Via Flickr / mgkm photography)

Harley-Davison's CEO said, "There was a recognition that it was a great company, 108 years old. ... I think what was apparent was that we'd become stuck in time. We had become sort of resistant to change and doing things differently." (Via Time)

So, Forbes reports they're using the new high-tech vehicle to spread their demographic reach to different ethnicities and younger men and women where sales "grew at more than twice the rate of deliveries to its core customers last year."

The new LiveWire isn't up for sale just yet, but you can take it for a test spin at Harley-Davidson's 30-city promotional tour which kicks off June 23rd in New York City.