Harley-Davidson LiveWire

From Concept to Completion

Last updated on July 2nd, 2019 at 09:04 pm


It has been nearly a decade in the making, but Milwaukee-based Harley-Davidson Inc. will sell its first LiveWire electric motorcycles this year. The bike has a suggested retail price of $29,799 and is now available for pre-order. It has an estimated range of 110 miles in urban traffic. A standard household outlet will add 13 miles of range per hour, while a DC Fast Charge station will provide full range in less than an hour. It also goes from zero to 60 mph in less than 3.5 seconds. John Olin, chief financial officer of Harley-Davidson, said that while LiveWire is more sustainable than internal combustion models, that’s not the main driver for developing it. “It’s one badass ride,” Olin said. “It is about the excitement of riding it. It is like being shot out of a cannon.”

  1. 2010: Keith Wandell, Harley’s chief executive officer from 2009 to 2015, previously worked at Johnson Controls Inc. Drawing on his experience in the company’s automotive battery business, he pushed for Harley to begin investing in electric vehicles. Olin said a small team of engineers started working on it, but the technology needed to advance.
  2. 2014: Harley introduced Project LiveWire, a prototype electric bike that had a range of 53 miles. With styling designed to remind people of the classic Harley racing profile, more than 30 units were made and customers took thousands of test rides.
  3. 2014-2018: From the initial test rides, Olin said Harley learned people wanted LiveWire, but they wanted it with twice the range and half the price. Improved battery technology brought prices down and Harley made improvements to the battery pack for better performance.  Other improvements included cellular connectivity and electronic riding aids.
  4. 2018: Harley started the year by committing to launching an electric bike within 18 months. In July, it unveiled an $825 million plan to “change the trajectory” of its business, including production of LiveWire and two additional electric concepts. In the fourth quarter, Harley unveiled the production of LiveWire in Milan.
  5.   2019: Harley announced the start of LiveWire pre-orders, with a nearly $30,000 suggested price. Olin said dealers will need to invest to be able to sell LiveWire and it won’t be available everywhere. Pre-orders will inform production numbers and the company plans to err on the side of limiting supply.

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