Was it worth the long wait?
Harley-Davidson has been teasing its first electric motorcycle, the Livewire, since dinosaurs roamed the earth. We first rode it way back in 2014. It featured prominently in Avengers: Age of Ultron, but seemed as much a part of Marvel's fantasy world as the superheroes themselves. Harley has been teasing us about the Livewire for at least five years now, showing it off from time to time but never giving us any more significant information about it, even at the 115th-anniversary opportunity. That ends today, however.
Today's news came not at a motorcycle show, but at CES 2019, which focuses more on electronics and technology. Vehicles have become a much bigger part of the show in recent years, though, as the line between them and high-tech gadgetry becomes more and more blurred. Not only was the Livewire there in all its glory, but Harley also showed off prototypes of an electric dirt bike and scooter, as well as a concept drawing for four potential models. We'll write about these in another article.
Finally, we get some official specifications of the Livewire's performance. It'll do 0 to 60 mph in 3.5 seconds. The range will be about 110 miles. It will charge off any standard household outlet at Level 1, as well as support Level 3 fast charging. H-D did not provide any charge times. But it did provide a price: $29,799. You can now look up a dealer that will be able to sell you the Livewire on H-D's website.
There's still a great deal that we don't know—the size of the battery or the power of the electric motor, for example. Harley's always a little bit cagey about ratings like this anyway. The Zero SR is known to have a similar 120 mile mixed city/highway range with a 14.4-kilowatt-hour battery. The Livewire is probably a bit heavier than the SR, so we could be looking at a low to mid-teens kilowatt-hour battery. The range is not out of line with other comparable electric bikes, but certainly short of a typical Harley touring bike. You'll be hard-pressed to finish your poker or toy runs on the Livewire.
While performance specs are scarce, we do have lots of information about the H-D Connect Service, "an LTE-enabled Telematics Control Unit coupled with connectivity and cloud services using the latest version of the Harley-Davidson App." The bike will be connected to the cloud. Owners can check the battery charge and expected range remotely, know where it is and if it's been tampered with or moved, and automatically receive service reminders. Perhaps this is why the Livewire was revealed at an electronics show rather than a motorcycle show.
Finally, since a giant part of the Harley experience is the sound, the Livewire promises "a new signature Harley-Davidson sound as it accelerates and gains speed. This new futuristic sound represents the smooth, electric power of the LiveWire motorcycle." We don't know if this will be the turbine whoosh of KITT from Knight Rider or a modernized version of the classic "potato-potato" sound. What we do know is that unlike other Harleys, adding loud pipes to the Livewire won't help amplify the sound.
Gallery: Harley-Davidson Livewire and Concepts
HARLEY-DAVIDSON ELECTRIFIES THE FUTURE OF TWO-WHEELS WITH DEBUT OF NEW CONCEPTS AND LIVEWIRE MOTORCYCLE AVAILABLE FOR US DEALER PRE-ORDER
Electric LiveWire Motorcycle and Two Groundbreaking Lightweight Electric Concepts Shine in Vegas
LAS VEGAS (January 7, 2019) – Harley-Davidson, the company that has defined the motorcycle industry for the past 116 years, today revealed two new concept electric two-wheelers and announced pricing and pre-order availability for LiveWire™, its first electric production motorcycle, at the biggest show in consumer electronics in Las Vegas. The 2020 LiveWire™ motorcycle is now available for US dealer pre-order at h-d.com/LiveWire with deliveries expected this fall and select global markets announced at a later date.
The LiveWire represents the future of Harley-Davidson, bringing high-performance electric propulsion, evocative design, and cellular connectivity to today’s rider. The first of a new electric portfolio of motorcycles that provides an all new two-wheel experience, LiveWire delivers thrilling acceleration, agile handling, premium materials and finishes, and a full suite of electronic rider aids and interfaces for a completely connected experience.
The performance of the LiveWire motorcycle will deliver an exhilarating ride for seasoned motorcyclists, while its clutch-free design also makes the experience for new riders easier than ever. Harley-Davidson also debuted two additional, electrified future concepts that further explore the potential of urban mobility. In keeping with LiveWire, both concepts bring Harley-Davidson’s expertise in expressive two-wheeled experiences and push boundaries in design and technology. These motorcycles are a significant part of the More Roads to Harley-Davidson plan to accelerate building the next generation of riders through new products in additional motorcycle segments, broader access and a commitment to strengthen dealers globally.
“We’re at a historic juncture in the evolution of mobility, and Harley-Davidson is at the forefront,” said Matt Levatich, Harley-Davidson’s President and CEO. “Innovation that moves the body and soul has always been at the heart of our brand, and this next chapter in our history is about creating products and opportunities for existing and aspiring riders of all ages and walks of life.”
“Our vision for the future is all encompassing,” said Levatich. “For all ages, from urban professional to exurban retiree, and from commute-minded to thrill-seeking, we are creating the products and opportunities for existing and aspiring riders to feel the transformative power of the two-wheeled riding experience. These two concepts are further statements towards that our commitment to lead in the electric mobility space that begins this fall with the production 2020 LiveWire.”
LiveWire Pre-Order Details
For more information on the new Harley-Davidson LiveWire motorcycle (US MSRP $29,799), as well as updates on future additional bikes, visit Harley-Davidson.com/Electric or the brand’s Facebook, Twitter or Instagram channels. To find a dealer for a LiveWire motorcycle pre-order placement, visit www.h-d.com/LiveWire.
An All-New Riding Experience with Iconic Harley-Davidson Power
Accessible to new motorcyclists and a thrill for accomplished riders, the LiveWire motorcycle is the perfect combination of power, performance and technology. Features include:
- Amazing acceleration: from 0 to 60 mph in under 3.5 seconds. The instant torque provided by the H-D Revelation™ electric powertrain can produce 100 percent of its rated torque the instant the throttle is twisted, and 100 percent of that torque is always available.
- Twist-and-go ease of use: Electric power requires no clutch and no gear shifting, greatly simplifying operation for new riders. All riders will appreciate the braking effect of the power regeneration mode as it adds charge to the battery, especially in stop-and-go urban traffic.
- H-D™ Connect Service: The LiveWire motorcycle is equipped with H-D™ Connect, which pairs motorcycle riders with their bikes through an LTE-enabled Telematics Control Unit coupled with connectivity and cloud services using the latest version of the Harley-Davidson™ App. This technology makes the LiveWire motorcycle the first North American mass-market cellular-connected electric motorcycle. With H-D Connect, data is collected and transferred to the app to provide information to the rider’s smartphone about:
- Motorcycle status: Information available through H-D Connect includes battery charge status and available range from any location where a sufficient cellular signal is available. This allows the rider to remotely check the charge status including charge level and time to completion. Riders will be able to locate a charging station with ease thanks to an integrated location finder built into the H-D App.
- Tamper alerts and vehicle location: H-D Connect indicates the location of the parked LiveWire motorcycle and alerts can be sent to the rider’s smartphone if the bike is tampered with or moved. GPS-enabled stolen-vehicle tracking provides peace of mind that the motorcycle’s location can be tracked.*
- Service reminders and notifications: Reminders about upcoming vehicle service requirements, automated service reminders and other vehicle care notifications.
- Performance and range optimized for the urban street-rider: Able to travel an estimated 110 miles of urban roads on a single charge.
- Handling and control: The LiveWire motorcycle chassis is designed to deliver agile handling for confident control on urban streets and a thrilling ride on curving backroads. The H-D Revelation™ powertrain sits low in the motorcycle to lower the center of gravity and help the motorcycle handle well at all speeds and make it easier to balance when stopped. The motorcycle also features advanced technology including standard cornering-enhanced Anti-lock Braking System and Traction Control. The systems are fully electronic and utilize the latest inertial measurement unit and ABS sensor technology.
- Distinctive Harley-Davidson sound, minimal vibration: The H-D Revelation electric powertrain produces minimal vibration, heat, and noise, all of which enhance rider comfort. The LiveWire model is designed to produce a new signature Harley-Davidson sound as it accelerates and gains speed. This new futuristic sound represents the smooth, electric power of the LiveWire motorcycle.
For more information on the “More Roads to Harley-Davidson” plan, go to https://investor.harley-
About Harley-Davidson Motor Company
Harley-Davidson, Inc. is the parent company of Harley-Davidson Motor Company and Harley-Davidson Financial Services. Since 1903, Harley-Davidson Motor Company has fulfilled dreams of personal freedom with custom, cruiser and touring motorcycles, riding experiences and events and a complete line of Harley-Davidson motorcycle parts, accessories, general merchandise, riding gear and apparel. Harley-Davidson Financial Services provides wholesale and retail financing, insurance, extended service and other protection plans and credit card programs to Harley-Davidson dealers and riders in the U.S., Canada and other select international markets. For more information, visit Harley-Davidson's Web site at www.harley-davidson.com.
*(Requires law enforcement assistance. Available in select markets).