Harley-Davidson have been on fire in recent years when it comes to expanding the range of motorcycles on offer, particularly targeting new riders, with the Livewire representing the first electric installment to their range...
The all-new electric Harley-Davidson LiveWire made its European debut at the EICMA show in Milan this year, and during the presentation, Harley-Davidson’s Marc McAllister revealed eagerly-awaited specification and details about Harley’s first electric two-wheeler.
Due for release in 2019 in selected markets (late 2020 in Australia) and being shown at the event as a production-ready motorcycle, the LiveWire was first confirmed during the announcement of the company’s “More Roads to Harley-Davidson”.
On July 30, 2018, Harley-Davidson shared plans to accelerate its strategy to build the next generation of riders globally, with the brand expanding the scope of their model line. As part of this accelerated plan, Harley-Davidson signaled their intent to be a world leader in the electrification of motorcycles, and is aggressively investing in electric vehicle technology.
The brand also revealed their excitement about the future of electric motorcycles and expect to deliver a full portfolio of electric motorcycles by 2022, which comes alongside their announcement of producing a sportsbike and adventure styled bike.
The vision behind the production LiveWire motorcycle began with Project LiveWire, revealed as a prototype in 2014 as an effort to gauge the potential of an electric-powered motorcycle as envisioned by Harley-Davidson.
Drawing from the experiences of the Project LiveWire demo tour and following an intensive development programme, the Harley-Davidson LiveWire model offers the rider a new, high-performance motorcycling experience. Propelled by the immediate torque of an all-electric motor, the LiveWire motorcycle is capable of impressive acceleration – no clutching or gear shifting required.
A low centre of gravity, rigid aluminum frame and premium adjustable suspension components aim to give the LiveWire dynamic handling. Performance and range are said to be ‘optimised’ for the urban street-rider, with no range or charge time given.
The motor is located low in the motorcycle to lower the center of gravity and help the motorcycle handle well at all speeds as well as making it easier to control when stationary.
The LiveWire model is designed to produce a tone that increases in pitch and volume with speed – a new sound that represents the smooth, electric power of the LiveWire motorcycle.
Powertrain performance is maximised by a chassis designed to deliver nimble, agile handling. Combining the powertrain as a stressed member within the aluminium frame to increase rigidity, the LiveWire features premium high-performance fully adjustable Showa suspension.
The Showa BFRC-lite (Balanced Free Rear Cushion-lite) mono-shock rear suspension is complimented by Showa SFF-BP (Separate Function Fork-Big Piston) up front, balanced to match the performance and adjustability of the rear shock.
To improve the control and performance of the motorcycle further, LiveWire is fitted with Brembo Monoblock front brake calipers gripping dual 300mm-diameter discs.
Anti-lock Braking System (ABS) and Traction Control System (TCS) – both of which are standard features on the LiveWire model – and co-branded H-D/Michelin Scorcher tyres (180mm rear/120mm front) are fitted. The rider can also tailor the performance of LiveWire with seven selectable riding modes – four of which are set as standard from the factory and a further three modes that can be defined by the user.
A colour touch screen TFT display dash is located above the handlebar offers the rider a wide range of information on a screen. The display unit is tilt-adjustable. The TFT screen also allows the rider to access the interface for Bluetooth connectivity, navigation, music and more.
The LiveWire motorcycle features a RESS (Rechargeable Energy Storage System, or the main battery) composed of lithium-ion cells surrounded by a finned, cast-aluminum housing. The LiveWire motorcycle is also equipped with a small 12-volt lithium-ion battery that powers the lights, controls, horn and instrument display.
Charging can be completed using an on-board Level 1 charger that plugs into a standard household outlet with a power cord that stores below the motorcycle seat. The LiveWire can also be charged with a Level 2 and Level 3, or DC Fast Charge (DCFC), through a SAE J1772 connector, (USA), or CCS2 – IEC type 2 charging connector in international markets. All Harley-Davidson dealers who sell the LiveWire motorcycle will offer a public charging station.
The LiveWire’s style follows a key Harley-Davidson styling dictum: the focus is on the motor. Just as the V-Twin engine is the most eye-catching element – the crown jewel – of every previous Harley-Davidson motorcycle, the electric motor is the first-look focus of the LiveWire motorcycle. Its bright case and mechanical, muscular shape is meant to convey the power it contains.
In addition, the cast-aluminum case for the RESS has been styled with functional cooling fins, finished utilising advanced paint technology to give the look of anodized metal, flows from a battery cover through to a high, wasp-like contoured tail section, with a rear fender that hugs the wheel so tightly that is almost disappears from sight.
The all-new Harley-Davidson LiveWire will be on sale in select markets next year. For Australia and New Zealand Livewire will be released in late 2020. Visit h-d.com for more details.