Shhh: Harley-Davidson confirms ‘twist and go’ electric motorcycle for 2019

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Iconic US motorcycle maker reaches out to new generation of riders with electric LiveWire motorcycle, with a view to release it as early as next year.

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Harley Davidson LiveWire

Mention Harley-Davidson Motorcycles and most people will think: noise, petrol, and leather jackets.

But all signs now point to the maker of high powered touring bikes taking another tack, as they look to an electrified future.

Following slowing sales, the company has now confirmed to investors that it intends to reach out to a new generation of riders by bringing to production their electric motorcycle, the LiveWire™, with a view to get on the high road of EV technology as early as next year.

“Alongside our existing loyal riders, we will lead the next revolution of two-wheeled freedom to inspire future riders who have yet to even think about the thrill of riding,” says Harley Davidson CEO Matthew Levatich.

The announcement follows the development of the electric concept bike LiveWire Project, which was created back in 2014 to enable riders to test drive and give feedback on so that the company could refine the design before ramping up production.

In January, the iconic motorcycle maker confirmed that it was injecting funds to meet its target of getting its first electric offering on the road within 18 months.

The move is part of a strong push by the company to take advantage of changes in the mobility market.

In a slideshow released by the company, it describes how moving into EV technology will keep them competitive as they reposition the brand to embrace the opportunities presented by a market gradually making the shift to zero emissions vehicles.

More Roads to HD
Source: Harley Davidson

The company doesn’t view this shift as one driven by concerns of climate change. By the sound of it (or is that silence), the LiveWire will with a noticeable lack of clutch and gears, offer riders a whole new ‘twist and go’ touring experience.

Speaking with CNBC, Levatich said that riding the LiveWire “is a different feeling. The combination of the power and the torque, and the sound even creates a different feeling for the rider, it’s almost like you’re flying and that to me was the moment where I said there is something incrementally valuable here in this technology, it’s not ‘instead of’ – it’s ‘in addition to’.”

There’s no mention of specs such as range and battery power, although with reports that the LiveWire concept bike had a range of just 100km, they might struggle to compete with other electric motorcycles manufacturers such as Zero Motorcycles.

The introduction of the LiveWire to markets in North America and some parts of Europe is just the start of Harley-Davidson’s plan to electrify.

The company isn’t exactly leaving the land of fossil fuels behind though – out of 100 new bikes planned for release in the near future, the LiveWire plus two more affordable models to be released in 2021-22 are planned.

These will be joined by a range of lightweight urban motorcycles also within 4 years, although for now, there are no more details other than a few concept sketches.

Source: Harley Davidson
Source: Harley Davidson

Will Australian riders have a chance to fly along Aussie highways on an EV Harley anytime next year? There are notes to the effect that penetration into the Asian markets is on the cards, but although Harley-Davidson Australia have been contacted for comment, there is no information on that at this time.

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8 Comments
  1. Joe 1 year ago

    All very nice by H-D. I wonder how they / H-D will go in Europe with the EU tariffs on H-D m/cycles thanks to Trump and his little trade war.

  2. Pedro 1 year ago

    A large part of R&D will go into figuring out how to make an electric motor really loud 😉

  3. solarguy 1 year ago

    I’ve never been a big Harley fan, but this thing has promise and I like the design. They have to get at least 250km range though.

  4. phillyc 1 year ago

    I’m looking forward to buying an electric sports bike. 200km range though. Bring them on!

  5. Betterworld 1 year ago

    wonder how the public will adopt this I mean as it is so many car drivers fail to check their blind spot for bikes if their music is turned up or can’t feel and hear the bike due to other distractions.. Wonder who the target is and how their current loyal customers feel about that sudden change from being one of the heaviest loudest least file efficient rough bikes to ev ! Interesting concept I guess will be many lessons to learn I’m sure in this.

  6. Gyrogordini 1 year ago

    Apart from the obvious range spec (200-250 km seems to the sweet spot for EVs), recharging options will be interesting. In EU they will have to use Type2/CCS2, while in the States, Type1/CCS1. Hopefully if it comes to Oz, it would be EU spec, as that is where all our current recharging infrastructure efforts are headed.
    Without that, it’s barely relevant to anyone, let alone existing Hog fans, or now-deserted Zero riders.

  7. Ren Stimpy 1 year ago

    I can just see it now – a new motorcycle club called the Silent But Deadlies.
    They’ll ride Harley e-bikes, hang out at the library, use silencers on their sawn-off shotguns and use sign language and mime to make their extortion threats against tattoo parlour owners.

  8. Chris Jones 1 year ago

    The Livewire is probably the fastest HD ever built. They did a roadshow with it to ‘test the waters’. By all accounts they were overwhelmed by the positive response – so much so they really didn’t know what to do. More electric motorcycles is a good thing. Build them and sell them at the right price, and they will take off.

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