LiveWire is rewired: H-D’s electric bikes spun off into new company
Harley-Davidson are launching a new all-electric motorcycle brand called LiveWire – taking the same name as their E-motorcycle.
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In a buzzword-laden announcement, H-D said the new LiveWire brand will, among other things, be an ‘agile disruptor’, be ‘headquartered virtually’ and have an ‘innovative go-to-market’ business model. Despite the new name, it seems both LiveWire and Harley-Davidson will be inextricably linked for some time.
For a start LiveWire will be working with bikes already developed at Harley. The new brand will also make use of Harley-Davidson dealers and help develop future electric bikes for Harley.
So what is the point of this? It could be to help free the electric image from that of the old Bar and Shield. At the time of going to press, Harley couldn’t confirm whether they will or won’t continue selling the LiveWire motorcycle themselves.
A cynic might also see this as a nifty way to keep the electric bikes off the H-D balance sheet as it can’t be a big earner for the brand. According to the latest DVLA figures there are just 41 LiveWires registered in the UK.
Updated: Harley-Davidson resume production of LiveWire
First published on 21 October, 2019 by Andy Calton
"After completing rigorous analysis this week, we have resumed LiveWire production and deliveries," said an official statement from the firm.
"Customers may continue riding their LiveWire motorcycle and are able to charge the motorcycle through all methods. Temporarily stopping LiveWire production allowed us to confirm that the non-standard condition identified on one motorcycle was a singular occurrence.
"We take pride in our rigorous quality assurance measures and our drive to deliver the world’s best motorcycles."
More from MCN
Harley-Davidson LiveWire production put on hold
First published - 17/10/19
Harley-Davidson have stopped production of their ground-breaking new electric LiveWire motorcycle after discovering an issue with its home-charging system.
The company said it had uncovered a ‘non-standard condition’ which now needs further investigation.
The machine was tested by MCN last month at a glitzy launch in Portland, Oregon and orders have been taken in the UK for the £28,750 machine.
Harley says there are no problems if the bike is charged at an official dealer, using the fast-charge method, but have not yet given any further details or said when the issue will be fixed and production re-started.
A Harley-Davidon spokesperson told MCN: "As we lead in the electrification of motorcycles, we have delivered our first LiveWire motorcycles to authorized LiveWire dealers. We recently discovered a non-standard condition during a final quality check; stopped production and deliveries; and began additional testing and analysis, which is progressing well.
"We are in close contact with our LiveWire dealers and customers and have assured them they can continue to ride LiveWire motorcycles. As usual, we’re keeping high quality as our top priority."
As soon as MCN hears more about this issue, we'll update this page accordingly.
Harley-Davidson LiveWire ridden!
First published 18/07/19
We've finally got a full Harley-Davidson LiveWire review on MCN following the international launch of this important new bike. It's fair to say we've been pleasantly surprised...
Full Harley-Davidson LiveWire specs released
First published 12/07/19
After months of speculation Harley-Davidson have released the full spec sheet for the LiveWire and it's a little underwhelming.
Looking at things strictly from a performance perspective, the LiveWire puts out 103.5 bhp (making it the most powerful Harley currently on sale) and 86 ftlbs of torque. The power figure itself isn’t terrible (although the Zero SR/F manages a smidgeon more at 108.6bhp) but it’s the torque figure that’s particularly disappointing. Electric bikes are torquey things and Harley are supposed to be masters of low down go, so to be shown up by the Zero once again (140ftlbs) isn’t great.
The battery meanwhile is a fairly sizeable unit at 15.5kWh (13.6 kWh nominal), which Harley say is good for 146 miles around town and 70 miles down the motorway. The SR/F meanwhile has a 14.4kWh battery (12.6 kWh nominal) that they say is good for 161 miles around town and 82 miles down the motorway. The Harley’s big battery makes it a porker too at 249kg compared to the Zero’s 225kg. The Harley will recharge faster though – get it on a 25W Level 3 charger and it will be full within the hour while the Zero would take another 30 minutes to reach 100%.
The rest of the spec is similar, both sporting Showa Big Piston forks however the on-board electronics and braking set up is more advanced on the Livewire. Then of course there’s the price. Neither bike is cheap but the Harley will burn a £28,995 hole in your pocket, while the SR/F is a positively bank account friendly £18,490. Now we know there’s a big gap between a spec sheet and the actual ride but it’s going to have to deliver something phenomenal when we ride it next week to justify a near £10,000 mark up.
Order books open for Harley-Davidson LiveWire
First reported April 15, 2019
The American company are expecting strong initial interest and given they are offering limited numbers to start with, potential buyers are urged to move quickly to secure one of the first bikes.
Steve Lambert, Harley-Davidson International Marketing Director: "We’ve had an unprecedented level of interest in the bike with so many people wanting to be first to get their hands on it. We’re looking forward to delivering the new LiveWire to those lucky owners in autumn.
"LiveWire is such an exciting new product for the company and an incredible riding experience. We’re confident that demand will outstrip initial supply so urge anyone who does want one of the first bikes in Europe to make sure they contact their nearest authorised dealer as soon as possible to secure their bike.”
Harley-Davidson Livewire specs
- Range: 88 miles combined
- 0-60mph: 3.0 seconds
- 0-80% fast charge: 40 minutes
- SHOWA front and rear suspension
- Brembo front calipers
As well as the finished production bike due out next year, there will also be an expanded range of lower powered bikes to act a stepping-stone into the brand.
"We’re going big into electric with a family of products that’s going to range in size, power and price point," says Michelle Kumbier, Chief Operating Officer at Harley-Davidson. "They’re going to be easy to ride, ‘twist and go’ and be less intimidating for new customers.
"We did the Livewire tour, we put thousands of customers on those vehicles and the feedback as that this was awesome.
"People had no idea how fun it would be. We plan on having demo models in dealers so people can try it and when they ride it, they will fall in love with it."
Harley's crown jewel - the LiveWire
The crown jewel in Harley’s new electric movement will be the Livewire. Described by H-D as high powered and performance focused, the Livewire is expected to be a premium product with a price to match.
Harley wouldn’t be drawn on power or range figures, only saying that consumers won’t be concerned by either when the bike is available in dealers in 2019.
Alongside the Livewire will be two middleweight bikes that will arrive between 2021-2022. These will be smaller, lighter and lowered powered bikes but you will still need a proper motorcycle licence to ride them. Again there were no prices suggested but Kumbier did say they would be more affordable than the Livewire.
Harley will also produce some smaller lightweight urban bikes that are designed to be an introduction to the Harley brand for non-bikers. Aimed at the urban mobility segment, they will be like high-powered mountain bikes with two models initially.
"We’re so excited for electric," adds Kumbier. "This is just the beginning."