It’s the ultimate symbol of rebel cool: the mighty roar and iconic styling of the Harley-Davidson Motorcycle.
But times they are a’changin’.
In January, at CES 2019 in Las Vegas, Harley-Davidson unveiled its LiveWire electric motorcycle, as well as two new electric two-wheelers.
Details about the mechanical tech specs of the LiveWire have been emerging for months. These include high quality Brembo brakes, fully adjustable Showa suspension, Michelin sport tires, cornering-enhanced anti-lock brakes, traction control, etc. It’s a premium bike for a premium customer.
The price is premium too, set at US$29,799 – or A$42,132 at current exchange rates.
Harley-Davidson has opened up pre-orders, with deliveries planned for the American Autumn and an Australian release pencilled in for 2020.
As far as performance goes, the LiveWire’s estimated all-electric range will cover approximately 110 miles (177 km) of mixed city/highway riding.
The closest comparable electric motorcycle on the market is probably the Zero SR, which offers a 120 mile (193 km) mixed city/highway range with a 14.4 kWh pack. So the low to mid-teens could be a possible kWh rating for the LiveWire, considering it is likely a slightly heavier bike.
The LiveWire sports a 0-60 mph time of 3.5 seconds – a bit quicker than a Zero SR as well. The Zero SR features a 52 kW motor, so the LiveWire may be packing a little more power.
Another feature Harley-Davidson is keen to demonstrate is the highly connected nature of the bike. The company developed a suite of connected services enabled by an LTE-connected Telematics Control Unit hidden under the bike’s seat. The unit enables a rider’s smartphone to access everything from remote status checks, battery charging status and time to completion, trip planning, theft or vandalism notification, GPS tracking, service reminders, diagnostics and more.
According to the company: “This technology makes the LiveWire motorcycle the first North American mass market cellular-connected electric motorcycle.”
Harley-Davidson CEO, Matt Levatich, says: “We’re at a historic juncture of the evolution of transportation, and Harley-Davidson is at the forefront. Innovation that moves the body and soul has always been at the heart of our brand, and this next chapter in our history is about creating products and opportunities for existing and aspiring riders of all ages and in all walks of life.”
Two easy ways to charge
Use the onboard Level 1 charger and power cord to connect to any standard household outlet and get a full charge overnight. For a faster charge, visit any public Level 3 DC Fast Charge station for 80% charge in 40 minutes or 100% charge in an hour.
Advanced riding technology system
The LiveWire model is equipped with an Electronic Chassis Control (ECC) system. The separate functions of ECC work together to give the rider more confidence and control in less-than-ideal situations. The ECC system manages cornering-enhanced Anti-lock Braking System (ABS), Traction Control System (TCS) and Drag-Torque Slip Control System (DSCS), and in some situations provides a stability control function by modulating torque available at the rear wheel. It combines electronic controls and hydraulics where required, utilising the latest six-axis inertial measurement unit (IMU) and ABS sensor technology.
Two new electric motorbike prototypes
Harley-Davidson also used the occasion to show off concept art for four new electric vehicles planned as part of the More Roads to Harley-Davidson plan unveiled last year. The new models include a lightweight electric motorcycle, an electric moped, an electric dirt bike and an electric bicycle.