2019 Harley-Davidson LiveWire: Everything We Know

JAN 13 2019 BY RIDEAPART.COM 17

We finally have the full portrait.

Five years in the making and we finally get to know (pretty much) everything there is to know about Harley-Davidson‘s first step into electrification: the LiveWire.

The manufacturer announced it would start working on its very first electric motorcycle over 5 years ago. Already at the time, the company had expressed the desire to diversify its audience. In 2014, the then dubbed “Project LiveWire” prototype started touring Harley dealers and motorcycle shows to get feedback and impressions from the public. Then, we waited. And waited.

Springs Back To Life

For a few years, the project was almost completely forgotten and while it had created much hype back when it was first announced, the LiveWire became a bit of a Loch Monster: some people say they have seen it but nobody has proven its existence. Finally, as 2108 rolled in, H-D looked about ready for the commitment. With the promise of an official launch in 2019, the company started name-dropping the LiveWire once more.

The design has remained virtually the same as the Project LiveWire prototype, except for the addition of a front cowl. The new design introduces a much more modern aesthetic to the century-old company’s lineup. The bike is built on a lightweight aluminum chassis. The exposed frame, floating upward tail, and naked silhouette are a stark contrast from the typical Harley—exactly what the company is aiming to do with what it hopes will help kindle a younger audience’s curiosity. The electric powertrain is set low within the frame to send the weight towards the ground and keep a low center of gravity.

The company opted for a stiffer chassis to make the ride more engaging and responsive. The LiveWire comes fitted with Brembo front brakes, ABS, and traction control. Riders will have the choice of 7 different riding modes to adapt to their needs.

2019 Harley-Davidson LiveWire

Electric Feature

A new feature, alien to the rest of the lineup, is the “twist and go. Since its electric, the LiveWire neither has a clutch nor a gear selector. You only have to, well, twist and go. The company has also been selling the model’s performance, with the promise of a 0-to-60 in 3.5 seconds thanks to its electric powertrain. You can have all the range anxiety in the world: you have to admit that electric vehicles offer entertaining take offs.

The bike will also be connected via the H-D connect. This provides the owner with such useful information as battery status, parking location, service reminders, and even a tracker should the motorcycle get stolen.

CES Reveal

At CES 2019, the company finally completed the portrait it started painting 5 years ago. It unveiled the numbers everyone had been begging to know: range and pricing. Powered by Harley’s Revelation powertrain, the 2019 LiveWire will provide users with an estimated 110-mile range in the city.

Charging times are listed by Harley as follow:

  • Level 1 (standard household outlet): 13 miles range per hour of charged.
  • Level 2: LiveWire can be connected to a Level 2 charge unit but will be charged at the Level 1 rate.
  • DC Fast Charge: 192 miles range per hour charged.

In common language, this means a full charge will take between 8 and 9 hours on a standard outlet. Less than an hour on a fast charger.

As for pricing, the tag has been set at $29,799. The model will be available in three colors starting August 2019.

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17 Comments on "2019 Harley-Davidson LiveWire: Everything We Know"

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I don’t think that the premium Harley gets for it’s name will transfer over to this bike. They need to cut the price by a third to compete with other electric bikes.

We can only hope Harley did some market research in this subject.
But, an electric should expand the Motorcycle market:
-No downshifting in corners needed.
-No downshifting ever needed, it’s essentially a high speed, instant torque, automatic motorcycle.
That should expand the market.
But, you’d expect more performance and higher specs from Harley vs. competition?
I don’t see that.
It still seems to be a lower performance offshoot.

“It still seems to be a lower performance offshoot.”

Harleys are always underpowered, overpriced bikes, stable (euphemism for poor handling) for the geriatric crowd, and this is keeping with that tradition perfectly. Gawd, how I wish Mike or Buell would take the mantle in US made ebikes…

Seems Harley-Davidson’s LiveWire project shares many similarities in EV transition approach as does traditional car makers with their EV projects… including allowing the new EV entrants (such as Zero) to take the majority of the emerging EV market share.

This Harley-Davidson’s LiveWire motorcycle should have gone into production four years ago with Harley today in production with its 2nd or 3rd generation iteration… but instead Harley has left that to Zero.

It’s super frustrating watching the traditional car & motorcycle makers not fully leverage their already established brand recognition and vast organizational resources to their advantage in winning EV market share as the EV transition inevitably takes place.

continue

… perhaps my frustration is born from having grown up with iconic names like Harley & Ford and hating watching the process of them dying out.

Ride the Future?
ROFL
No, this isn’t the future. Double the range and lower the price and then it might.
I could not ride the H-D from home to my nearest biker cafe and back without charging it and guess what, there are no chargers between me and the cafe.
Totally impractical in my mind.

I’d ride a Zero over this anyday.

Neat bike. $30,000 is insane. They might as well announce now that they will sell about 50 and then pull the plug on the LiveWire. What younger audience is going to spend $30,000 to go 100 miles?

Unfortunately the low range coupled with the high price makes this a loser. This is something for collectors to hang on the wall.

This makes a LR Model 3 look like a bargain !

Actually the author of this article is pretty clueless. There is a lot we don’t know about the LiveWire. H-D says nothing about HP and Torque level, actual CCS charging speed and L1 charging speed for starters. The SAE standard for measuring range is done on a dyno, not a road so folks are going to be very disappointed when they realize what the range is on a real road by a real person. Everyone is comparing the LiveWire to Zero but Energica is a much better comparison. The Eva is spec’d a lot better than the Zero but still a lot cheaper than the LiveWire. But in the end no one buys H-D’s ICE bikes after comparing specs and price with other brands and price and specs are not what will sell the LiveWire. Only time will tell.

I’m sure Bike owners want to drive someplace also. This may take you there, but then you HAVE to find a fast charger to get you back – what is APPALLING is the Level II chargers that are around grab you no benefit – you are stuck at level 1 rates. No actual electric vehicle driver was a consultant on this thing – that alone makes it next to worthless, then as was mentioned $30,000 is TOO MUCH compared to a Zero, etc.

Might have been something for 6-8 years ago but the times have passed them by. A poor value.

Bill, completely agree. The first time a LiveWire owner pulls up to a CCS charger only to find out it doesn’t work and has to charge at L1 speeds they will not be happy! Instead of charging for 30 minutes they will spend several hours! Can only imagine what H-D was thinking. My Energica only has 3kw charging on L2 which sucks but it is made in Italy and the CCS network if far better there than in the US. I don’t like it but understand their logic. The LiveWire is being made in York, PA and someone at H-D should have spent a few minutes on Plugshare and realized what the CCS network is like.

I can understand the l1/l2 vs dcfc. IMHO L2 chagrging is mostly useless unless you live in an apartment and can plug in for long periods of time. Dcfc is the way to go. If you are doing any traveling even day trips you need fast charging. For me I live 20 miles from town, so I am never in a situation where I need to add only a few miles. It’s either add a lot or charge at home.

Nearly three times the price of a Sportster.

This is obviously not intended for the general riding public.
This isn’t even meant to be a “primary bike”.
Flash forward a year or two, your friend who has three bikes under ten years old will probably add this to their stable as well, but for “normal riders”, I don’t think so.

$29,799 for a bike? Where did I leave my glasses? I must have read that wrong.

This. Anyone who rides bikes knows that price is absolutely preposterous. I can buy a Penigale AND an F4 for that price, and still have some money left over. Or I could buy one of Walt Siegel’s custom bikes, or have one of the best custom shops in the world build me whatever I want for less than that price. HD will be bankrupt in under ten years, for sure; their boomer base is dying, and millennials want nothing to do with their fat, slow, over-priced boomer two-wheeled barcaloungers.

What a shame HD was too lazy/cheap to put a proper charger on the bike. DC fast charging Does not exist for most in the real world and L2 would have been able to charge the bike in an hour or so. You local biker bar can add a level 2 charger for under $1000 and have you charged up and ready to head back in a few beers time. This bike can only venture 30-40 miles from home in its current form.
For those that don’t know L1 is any 120v outlet, L2 is a 240v circuit with a dedicated charger (home and most businesses) and L3 is high voltage DC somewhere in the order of 10,000+ watts. Suppling DC to the vehicle does most of the work for the charger so that it can be lighter and simpler while providing much faster charging. It would be a deal breaker for me. As for the price, I don’t think that’s a huge factor and the range is similar to a gas motorcycle. The stupid onboard charger cripples the motorcycle.