The electric vehicle market is blossoming to fill every transport niche, which includes two wheels and the most globally recognized motorcycle brand in the world. Here are eight things you need to know about the Harley-Davidson Livewire.
It’s the start of Harley’s electric revolution
This is the first time in Harley-Davidson’s 117-year history that it’s swapping cubic inches for electric horsepower. The Livewire was originally conceived as a customer research project in 2015 but it went on to become a production reality in 2019 as part of Harley’s ‘more roads’ strategy. More Roads was more than just motorcycles, too; there were electric scooters and bicycles amongst other things, so the Livewire represents the first, but certainly not the last member, of Harley’s EV family.
The Livewire is a very different kind of Harley
If you took the badges off the Livewire, we very much doubt you’d think this was made in Milwaukee. For a company so reliant on re-using classic silhouettes to sell the dream, the Livewire is one radical departure. Sitting inside this bespoke motorcycle frame is a 15.5kWh battery pack, complete with cooling fins, and made of 70 lithium-ion cells.
Beneath this battery is Harley’s new Revelation, permanent magnet motor, that develops 103bhp and has been encased in an aluminum mold to make it stand out like a jewel. Much in the same way traditional Harley design makes it all about the big capacity V-twin.
It isn’t for Harley’s existing customers
Harley currently finds itself in a perfect storm of trade war tariffs, increasingly tough emissions regulations, new competitors and an aging customer base. Like so many other bike-makers, it’s desperate to connect with a younger audience that, until now, hasn’t considered riding a motorcycle.
A new generation of riders is out there, but they’re tech-savvy and perhaps less impressed by the loud pipes and bad boy image Harley has worked so hard to cultivate over the years. As a result, more than a century of automotive heritage is shifting gears before our eyes to accommodate Harley’s future, as well as protect its present.
It sounds like no other Harley
Harleys have been synonymous with sound since the company launched its first V-twin to the world in 1909. The Livewire… doesn’t sound like that. In fact, its soundtrack is less bricks-in-a-washing-machine and more last-five-minutes-in-the-spin-dryer… When the bike is on and at a standstill, the electric motor does send some pulsing energy through the bars and ‘tank’ to signify life, but twist the throttle and that bevel drive produces a sound like you’re sat on a Star Wars tie fighter.
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