• Harley-Davidson Livewire

News: Livewire – The Electric Harley is Coming (Quietly)

Best-Known American Motorcycle Maker Goes Electric

Harley-Davidson has announced at the EICMA motorcycle show in Milan, Italy, it plans to build its long-awaited Livewire electric motorcycle. The company’s first electric motorcycle is based on a concept introduced four years ago; it’s expected to be available next year.

The Specs, so Far

Complete specifications are not provided yet, but we know a few things. The motor will be mounted longitudinally at the bottom of the chassis, forming a structural component of the chassis along with the aluminum frame.

Harley-Davidson Livewire

LiveWire–coming in 2019

The battery will be a RESS (Rechargeable Energy Storage System) multi-cell lithium-ion unit protected by a finned cast-aluminum housing. It will be mounted by the engine to provide a low center of gravity. The range was not announced, but the concept had 53 miles; The production unit is likely to do better.

Charging will be through an onboard Level 1 120-volt charger, with provided cable, for home use, with Level 2 and 3 (DC fast charging) also possible. Dealers will offer fast-charging stations on-site.

The Livewire will stop via 11.8-inch Brembo Monoblock disc brakes with anti-lock; a traction-control system comes standard.

The Showa adjustable suspension features a BFRC-lite (Balanced Free Rear Cushion–lite) rear mono-shock and an SFF-BP (Separate Function Fork–Big Piston) front fork.

High-Tech Features

As a high-tech device, the new motorcycle will offer four preset riding modes and three customizable ones. As it works in electric cars, these modes will let the rider choose to balance power, range and brake regeneration. Other highlights include a touchscreen display with information on navigation, Bluetooth, and vehicle functions. One can only hope that these don’t become a distraction on the road.

A Unique Sound

I am not a motorcyclist, but it seems to me that part of the fun of a riding a one is the aural stimulation. To address the near-silence of EVs, Harley-Davidson is providing a unique electronic sound that increases with speed. So, you’ll be able to get more of the riding experience (or perhaps deactivate it for stealth motoring).

Harley-Davidson Livewire

Harley-Davidson moves forward with its electric bike

Pricing and availability information is expected in January, with deliveries later in the year. Then, we’ll see how big the market is today for “the Harley of Electric Motorcycles” against companies like Zero that specialize in them. It all leads to a carbon-free future for two-wheeled transportation.

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About Author: Steve Schaefer

Steve Schaefer has written a weekly automotive column for 26 years, testing more than 1,250 cars. Now, he’s focusing on EVs and hybrids. Steve remembers the joy of riding in his father’s Austin-Healey. After discovering the August, 1963 issue of Motor Trend, he became entranced with the annual model change, and began stalking dealers’ back lots to catch the new models as they rolled off the transporter. Coming from a family that owned three Corvairs, Steve was one of the first Saturn buyers, earning him a prominent spot in their 1994 product catalogue. To continue the GM tradition, Steve now has a Chevrolet Bolt EV. Steve is a founding member of the Western Automotive Journalists. Recently, Steve became a Climate Reality Leader, trained by Al Gore, and is focused on moving to EVs and 100% renewable energy. Read his EV/hybrid blog at stevegoesgreen.com.

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