Harley-Davidson launches LiveWire as a standalone motorcycle brand

Harley-Davidson launches LiveWire, the electric motorcycle brand. Photo courtesy of Harley-Davidson.

Harley-Davidson will spin out its “LiveWire” electric motorcycle into its own brand, the latest measure by the company to bolster its capabilities in the electric-vehicle market.

The Milwaukee-based manufacturer will unveil its first LiveWire-branded motorcycle on July 8. The company will debut the new EV motorbike publicly at the International Motorcycle Show a day later, Harley announced Monday.

LiveWire will have dedicated showrooms, starting in California, and a “virtual headquarters” with hubs in Silicon Valley and Milwaukee.

Harley claimed the namesake for its new brand from its very first EV motorcycle called LiveWire, which had a rocky launch in 2018 after one of its motorcycles had charging-related issues.

The motorcycle maker has since launched “The Hardwire,” a five-year strategic plan that identifies EV development as one of the initiative’s core pillars.

Despite Harley’s shaky foray into electric vehicles under previous leadership, new leadership at the company remains committed to the EV market. During a February earnings call, chairman and chief executive officer Jochen Zeitz revealed that Harley would create a separate division for EV development and innovation.

Zeitz has said the new business unit would “behave with the same agility and speed as a tech startup,” while leveraging Harley’s engineering expertise, manufacturing footprint, supply chain infrastructure and global logistics capabilities.

“We are seizing the opportunity to lead and define the market in EV,” Zeitz said in a statement. “With the mission to be the most desirable electric motorcycle brand in the world, LiveWire will pioneer the future of motorcycling, for the pursuit of urban adventure and beyond.”

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Brandon covers startups, technology, manufacturing. He previously worked as a general assignment and court reporter for The Freeman in Waukesha. Brandon graduated from UW-Milwaukee’s journalism, advertising and media studies program with an emphasis in journalism. He enjoys live music, playing guitar and loves to hacky sack.

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