Over the past few years, Harley-Davidson has been slowly but steadily deepening its electrification measures. The LiveWire was the first production electric bike out of the gate, after years of development. Riding characteristics and performance generated positive feedback, but a lot of people balked at its $30,000 price tag.
Still, if you’ve watched technology in various sectors evolve, you probably knew to expect that while the early pricing might be high, those numbers would eventually fall to a more affordable level. Sure enough, the LiveWire ONE came along in 2021—which is also when Harley announced plans to spin off LiveWire into its own independent brand. For all intents and purposes, the LiveWire ONE was a LiveWire with a $21,999 MSRP to start—which is a serious discount over the OG LiveWire.
Then, in early 2022, as Harley was busy gearing up to go through with its special purpose acquisitions (SPAC) merger to take LiveWire public, we gained insight into the future of LiveWire’s planned product lines. First would be the S2 Del Mar, and sure enough, the limited-run Launch Edition version launched in May, 2022, followed by the production run opening pre-orders in the back half of 2022.
The S2 bikes are Harley’s electric middleweights, with its timeline also discussing S3 lightweight machines produced in cooperation with KYMCO. After all that, it said, the S4 electric line would focus on electric heavyweight bikes—like the combustion ones that have been Harley’s bread and butter for a century or more.
This information has been public for some time—but until now, no definitive public statements had been made about the future of its combustion engines. In a January, 2023 interview with the design publication Dezeen, Harley-Davidson Chairman and CEO said that the company is currently transitioning to become all-electric at some point down the line. While he stressed that this won’t happen overnight, and did not offer a goal year (as some other companies have), he stated in no uncertain terms that it’s already underway.
"At some point in time, Harley Davidson will be all-electric. But that's a long-term transition that needs to happen. It's not something you do overnight,” Zeitz told Dezeen.
He went on to talk about wanting to honor the past while simultaneously evolving from it, and also said of electrification that “it’s a natural evolution that needed to happen.” Part of that evolution is, of course, attracting new customers to the brand—aspirational, or otherwise. Expansion of apparel lines, for example, are a part of putting the company in front of people who are outside its core audience, and who may not even have ridden any type of motorbike before.
Zeitz had a lot more to say on the subject, and you can read the entire interview at the link in our Sources.