The manufacturer announced it would start working on its very first electric motorcycle over 5 years ago. Already at the time, the company had expressed the desire to diversify its audience. In 2014, the then dubbed “Project LiveWire” prototype started touring Harley dealers and motorcycle shows to get feedback and impressions from the public. Then, we waited. And waited.
For a few years, the project was almost completely forgotten and while it had created much hype back when it was first announced, the LiveWire became a bit of a Loch Monster: some people say they have seen it but nobody has proven its existence. Finally, as 2108 rolled in, H-D looked about ready for the commitment. With the promise of an official launch in 2019, the company started name-dropping the LiveWire once more.
The design has remained virtually the same as the Project LiveWire prototype, except for the addition of a front cowl. The new design introduces a much more modern aesthetic to the century-old company’s lineup. The bike is built on a lightweight aluminum chassis. The exposed frame, floating upward tail, and naked silhouette are a stark contrast from the typical Harley—exactly what the company is aiming to do with what it hopes will help kindle a younger audience’s curiosity. The electric powertrain is set low within the frame to send the weight towards the ground and keep a low center of gravity.
The company opted for a stiffer chassis to make the ride more engaging and responsive. The LiveWire comes fitted with Brembo front brakes, ABS, and traction control. Riders will have the choice of seven different riding modes to adapt to their needs.
A new feature, alien to the rest of the lineup, is the “twist and go”—since its electric, the LiveWire neither has a clutch nor a gear selector. You only have to, well, twist and go. The company has also been selling the model’s performance: it recently confirmed that the production-ready model is expected to do 0 to 60 in three seconds thanks to its electric powertrain while top speed should hover around 110 mph. You can have all the range anxiety in the world: you have to admit that electric vehicles offer entertaining take offs.
The bike will also be connected via the H-D connect which provides the owner with such useful information as battery status, parking location, service reminders, and even a tracker should the motorcycle get stolen.
At CES 2019, the company finally completed the portrait it started painting 5 years ago by unveiling the numbers everyone had been begging to know: range and pricing. Powered by Harley’s Revelation powertrain, the 2019 LiveWire will provide users with an estimated 110-mile range in the city (so a lower number for highway and combined usage).
Charging times are listed by Harley as follow:
Level 1 (standard household outlet): 13 miles range per hour of charged.
Level 2: LiveWire can be connected to a Level 2 charge unit but will be charged at the Level 1 rate.
Level 3 (DC Fast Charge): 192 miles range per hour charged.
In common language, this means a full charge will take between 8 and 9 hours on a standard outlet or less than an hour on a fast charger. As for the sound that made Harley famous? The company promises that despite the LiveWire being fully electric, it will have a "signature sound".
As for pricing, the tag has been set at $29,799 and the model will be available in three colors starting August 2019.