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Harley Davidson helps put electric motorcycles in spotlight

A Harley Davidson Livewire motorcycle, Harley Davidson's first electric bike, sits on display inside the Harley Davidson Store on June 23, 2014 in New York City. The Livewire has 74 horsepower and a top speed of 92 miles per hour.  (Andrew Burton, Getty Images)
A Harley Davidson Livewire motorcycle, Harley Davidson's first electric bike, sits on display inside the Harley Davidson Store on June 23, 2014 in New York City. The Livewire has 74 horsepower and a top speed of 92 miles per hour. (Andrew Burton, Getty Images)
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Updated: 6/29 7:52 pm

PRINCETOWN, N.Y. (AP) — Harley-Davidson's unveiling of its prototype electric motorcycle LiveWire is likely to give a boost to smaller companies already producing plug-in bikes.

Startups like Zero, Brammo and Mission are making state-of-the-art electric motorcycles on the West Coast.

A recent study by Navigant Research anticipates sales of electric motorcycles worldwide will grow to 1.2 million this year.

Electric motorcycles are well-balanced and easy to ride because most have direct drive, with gears and clutches optional.

There are no tailpipe emissions, no clunking pistons, no crankshaft, no oil leaks, no vibration and virtually no maintenance save new tires and brakes. The average range is well over 100 miles in city driving. And they plug into regular household outlets for charging that costs under $2.

©2014 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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