On ars technica, Gavin Gear takes Harley-Davidson's new electric prototype motorcycle, called Project LiveWire, for a spin. The bike, which in its current demo version has a range of 50 miles, received a mixed reaction from Harley-Davidson fans.
Since the motor is mounted longitudinally, a set of bevel gears is needed to change the direction of rotation so that the final drive belt pulley can transmit power to the rear wheel. When the first prototype of this gearbox was tested, a distinct gear whine was observed. It wasn’t a problem, though—it actually sounded cool. This could align well with one of the key design criteria for Harley-Davidson: the sound. Lund's team tuned the design of the gearbox until the optimal turbine-like whine was achieved.
Project LiveWire is equipped with a Lithium Ion battery pack that’s a (much) larger version of what you’d find in your laptop or cell phone. Producing 300V, this power source can propel LiveWire close to 100 mph, and the rider can choose between an “economy” mode and a “power” mode. Lund indicated that battery technology is one of the biggest limitations in electric transportation today. I asked about range for LiveWire, but that information was not public at the time.
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