Meet LiveWire - Harley-Davidson’s EV Motorcycle
In 2014, when the concept of the LiveWire was revealed Harley-Davidson looked like they were going to dominate the market - and they just might. Since then there have talks about the Harley-Davidson’s EV motorcycle and how it would be? and many more boring questions about the market, technology and competition (I might have added to the competition part of it) but that is all irrelevant. Because, this past week at European Motorcycle show EICMA, they showed the world the production ready LiveWire.
Personally, it looks like every other motorcycle out there. This is in every way great. Why? because it shows that for an electric motorcycle one does not need a futuristic design or fancy looking parts they just need good and usable technology.
Speaking of technology - the LiveWire uses a permanent magnet motor powered by a lithium-ion battery. If you are wondering what type of motor it is, a similar motor of different size and proportions (I am guessing) is used by Tesla in the Model 3 and Chevy in the Bolt and also the Chevy Volt. The electric motor sits low on chassis keeping the centre of gravity low and helps keep better balance and easier to handle. Being electric, there isn’t a clutch or gears, it is a direct drive motorcycle - just start and twist the throttle and you are on your way. Makes it quite similar to an automatic scooter. Its performance parts are completed with 17 inch wheels, Brembo disc brakes, Showa suspension, Michelin sport tires along ABS and traction control.
An interesting aspect of its design is the petrol tank, it’s not a petrol tank, it got repurposed during designing. Then why does it have one? Why am I talking about it? Here’s why - traditionally one would fill petrol or gasoline into the tank through a fuel cap, that fuel cap now covers the charging port of the motorcycle. Like I said it looks like every other motorcycle out there. The Charging cord for the LiveWire is a level 1 charging cord that gets attached to you plug point in any house, and it will have adapters for level 2 and 3 as well and a few other points out there as well. Harley-Davidson has not mentioned the range of the bike but have put it out there that the battery volume is of 55 kWs and the LiveWire will be “optimised for the urban street rider” with a good range. The 2014 LiveWire Concept had a range of 100 Kms, Harley-Davidson promise more in terms of range.
The LiveWire will be available for sale next year, as compared to its competitors (I wrote about this in a previous article) will be putting the bikes into production only in 2020. They haven’t mentioned the price of the LiveWire yet they say it will be available in January 2019. But, being the first largely produced EV motorcycle it will dictate the price for a small period of time and also set the standards of pricing for the industry. However, Harley-Davidson have now promised a full portfolio of electric motorcycles by 2022, which makes me curious about what other styles of EV they can come out with.
Oh yes! before I forget, the video below is of LiveWire in action and even though Harley-Davidson describe its sound as "an exciting aural response to speed and acceleration", to me it sounds like every other EV out there. If any of you know of anything that sounds similar please let me know in the comments.