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Harley-Davidson Introduces New Electric Motorcycle

Joe Raedle/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- The new Harley-Davidson motorcycle may be electric, but this hog can still squeal.

"As the bike flies by, it sounds like a jet fighter," Jeff Richlen, chief engineer of new products at Harley-Davidson, told ABC News.

Harley-Davidson on Thursday introduced the motorcycle, called Project LiveWire, however it won’t be launched as a production model. Instead, the company plans to take dozens of the bikes around the world over the next two years.

Richlen said the intent is to solicit customer feedback as the company seeks to develop new technology and standards for electric vehicles that will delight all riders, including Harley-Davidson purists.

A bike that Richlen calls "nimble, agile and light," sounds like the antithesis of Harley-Davidson's brand, but he said it will win fans after they take it for a test drive.

"This is the type of vehicle that is a game changer," Richlen said. "A traditional rider won't confuse it, but it is such an amazing experience. It's just fun."

The noise that Harley-Davidson riders get from their bikes was something Richlen didn't want to sacrifice.

The longitudinally mounted motor that runs tip to tail is quiet, however the meshing of the gears on the bike is what creates a hum that sounds like a jet or a turbine, Richlen said.

Shifting gears isn't necessary on the LiveWire, which can go from 0 to 60 mph in about four seconds.

"Harley purists are going to love it," Richlen said. "You get off the bike and just want to ride again."

The LiveWire will make its first stop in New York City next week before continuing on a 30 city U.S. tour. European markets are scheduled to get their first glimpse of the bike in 2015.


Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

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