Harley-Davidson gives first look at new electric motorcycle

U.S. motorcycle maker Harley-Davidson unveiled its forthcoming electric motorcycle this week, at the EICMA Motorcycle Show in Milan.

Called the LiveWire, it features an all-electric motor, a low center of gravity, 17-inch wheels and “twist and go” technology, which requires no clutch or gear shifting to drive.

The LiveWire model is due in 2019, while the company plans to release “a full portfolio” of electric motorcycles by 2022 as it aims to be “the world leader in the electrification of motorcycles.”

Harley-Davidson is searching for new ways to attract riders as motorcycle sales at the company fell during its most recent fiscal quarter, a trend it expects to continue. U.S. sales dropped more than 13 percent year over year, while international sales rose 2.6 percent.

In 2017, global motorcycle sales at Harley-Davidson fell 6.7%, as U.S. sales declined 8.5%.

The company, which has also been hurt by an ongoing trade tensions between the U.S. and other countries, is rolling out 16 new models by 2022 as part of an expansion plan, called “More Roads to Harley-Davidson.”

As a result of the Trump administration’s tariffs, executives of the Milwaukee-based manufacturer said it expects costs to increase by $100 million on a full-year basis.

President Trump has very publicly criticized the company over a decision to shift production overseas to existing plants.