The future has arrived. And, it’s electric. Harley-Davidson has unveiled the production version of its first electric cruiser, the LiveWire. The Harley-Davidson LiveWire made its debut as a concept at the EICMA 2018 motorcycle show and at the Consumer Electronic Show (CES) 2019. The LiveWire model is the first in a broad portfolio of electric two-wheelers designed to establish Harley-Davidson as the leader in the electrification of motorcycles. Its debut is a significant part of the company’s 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.
Propelled by the H-D Revelation all-electric powertrain, the LiveWire motorcycle is capable of rapid acceleration with just a twist of the throttle – no clutching or gear shifting required. It can rush from 0 to 100 kph in 3.0 seconds and 100 to 129 kph in 1.9 seconds. Because maximum torque is always on tap, roll-on acceleration for passing from any speed is outstanding. Since electric power requires no clutch and no gear shifting, it will greatly simplify operation for new riders. All riders will also appreciate the braking effect of the power regeneration mode as it adds charge to the battery, especially in urban traffic that often requires a lot of slow-rolling and stop-and-go riding.
An optimized center of gravity, rigid aluminum frame, and premium adjustable suspension components give the LiveWire dynamic handling. The performance and range of the LiveWire have been optimized for the urban rider. The high-voltage battery provides 235 km of city range or 152-158 km of combined stop-and-go and highway range. DC Fast Charge (DCFC) technology provides a 0-80 percent of battery charge in 40 minutes or 0-100 percent charge in 60 minutes.
The H-D Revelation electric powertrain produces minimal vibration, very little heat, and minimal noise, all of which enhance rider comfort. When the rider activates the LiveWire motorcycle powertrain, the electric motor will produce a subtle pulsing of torque which ceases when the motorcycle begins to move and resumes when the motorcycle comes to a stop. The LiveWire is designed to produce a mechanical signature Harley-Davidson sound as it accelerates and gains speed; a new sound that represents the smooth, electric power of the LiveWire motorcycle.
The LiveWire is convenient to own because many of the routine maintenance items required of a motorcycle powered by an internal combustion engine are eliminated: there’s no engine oil to change, and no spark plugs, air filter or primary drive to service. It does require inspection or service of some mechanical and consumable items, such as the drive belt tension, gearbox oil, brake fluid, and brake pads, and tires, at recommended intervals and pre-ride. The high-voltage battery has a five-year, unlimited-mileage warranty.
The motorcycle is designed to deliver nimble, agile handling for confident control on urban streets and a thrilling ride on curving backroads. The center of gravity has been optimized to enhance traction, braking, and cornering performance. Similarly, a lightweight cast aluminum frame is extremely rigid and contributes to the precise, responsive handling that makes the LiveWire model exciting to ride in any situation.
Suspension duties are handled by a fully adjustable Showa BFRC (Balanced Free Rear Cushion-lite) mono-shock at the rear and a Showa SFF-BP (Separate Function front Fork-Big Piston) suspension at the front. Brembo Monoblock front brake calipers grip dual 300 mm-diameter rotors and deliver outstanding power with a crisp feel for confident braking performance. The co-branded H-D/Michelin Scorcher Sport tires (180mm rear and 120mm front widths) are designed specifically to enhance the handling performance of the LiveWire.
The LiveWire motorcycle is equipped with a full suite of electronic rider aids and interfaces for a completely connected experience. The Reflex Defensive Rider Systems (RDRS) utilize Cornering Enhanced Anti-lock Braking System (C-ABS), Cornering Enhanced Traction Control System (C-TCS) and Drag-Torque Slip Control System (DSCS) to give the rider more confidence and control in less-than-ideal situations. A 4.3-inch color TFT touchscreen located above the handlebar offers the rider a wide range of information on a display that’s bright and easy to read. Four different riding modes (Sport, Road, Range, and Rain) electronically control the performance characteristics of the motorcycle and the level of RDRS intervention.
The LiveWire creates a design foundation for coming Harley-Davidson electric vehicles that project authentic Harley-Davidson styling. It follows a key Harley-Davidson styling dictum: the focus is on the motor. The H-D Revelation electric motor is the first-look focus of the LiveWire motorcycle. The cast-aluminum case for the high-voltage battery has been deliberately, highly styled with functional cooling fins that suggest the attractive, repetitive horizontal cooling fins on an air-cooled engine. The rear fender hugs and moves with the wheel so that it almost disappears from sight.
The LiveWire model is available in three colors: Yellow Fuse, Orange Fuse, and Vivid Black. The motorcycle will be available in 2019 through select authorized Harley-Davidson dealerships in the United States, Canada, and most European countries. Global availability is planned for 2020 through 2021. LiveWire MSRP is $29,799.