Harley-Davidson LiveWire

Humming Harley Promises Plenty But At A Cost

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Words: Peter Louisson
9 Jan 2019

Harley-Davidson has released details of its first zero emissions electric motorcycle, the LiveWire, at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas. It’s quick, rivalling the fastest production Harley to date, and will have a range of 160 urban kilometres, but it won’t come cheap. It hits our shores in 2020, with an expected price point around that of a Panigale V4 S, that being in the mid-forties.

 

The LiveWire motorcycle represents a kind of future parallel universe for Harley-Davidson, introducing electric propulsion, radical design, and cellular connectivity to tomorrow’s rider. It will be amongst the best specified of Harleys too, with fully adjustable suspension, top notch brakes, and a full suite of electronic rider aids.

You can also forget about gearshifting as there’s no clutch and direct drive, meaning a twist-and-go experience so the rider can concentrate more on the job in hand. And that job should be a fun one, with reasonably light weight (for a Harley, around 250kg), Showa suspension, and low centre of gravity. H-D is promising agile handling.

“We’re at a historic juncture in the evolution of transportation, and Harley-Davidson is at the forefront,” commented the company CEO, Matt Levatich.

An example is acceleration, the LiveWire said to hit 96km/h from standstill in under 3.5sec. That’s largely because the Revelation electric powertrain can produce all of its torque from the moment the throttle is twisted. There’s also minimal vibration and heat produced, while the motor produces a distinctive “futuristic” sound signature as the bike accelerates. Further, there’s a strong motor braking effect off throttle, helping to regenerate battery charge, especially in stop-and-go traffic. On recharging with a home box, it will gain roughly 20km of range per hour but it can also be fast charged to full range within sixty minutes.

LiveWire comes with H-D Connect, facilitating cellular pairing through an H-D app. The rider can remotely determine the location of charging stations, battery charge status, available range and time to refill the battery from any location where there’s a cellular signal. The app also sends service reminders. LiveWire in some markets will have a GPS-enabled tracking service, facilitating recovery by the authorities.

As to price, best take a deep breath as future tech ain’t cheap. In Australia and New Zealand, expect LiveWire to wear a sticker beginning with a ‘four’, based on its launch price of $29,990 in the US.

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