The LiveWire was unveiled here at the company’s 115th anniversary in September.
Due for release in 2019 and being shown at the event as a production-ready motorcycle, LiveWire was first confirmed during the announcement of the company’s “More Roads to Harley-Davidson.”
On July 30, 2018, Harley-Davidson shared plans to accelerate its strategy to build the next generation of riders globally.
Harley-Davidson said it expects to deliver a full portfolio of electric motorcycles by 2022.
The LiveWire motorcycle is powered by a permanent magnet electric motor that produces instant torque the moment that throttle is twisted– which results in immediate acceleration. The motor is located low in the motorcycle to lower the centre of gravity and help the motorcycle handle well at all speeds and easy to control when stopped. The LiveWire model is designed to produce a tone that increases in pitch and volume with speed – a new sound that represents the smooth, electric power of the LiveWire motorcycle.
Powertrain performance is maximised by a chassis designed to deliver nimble, agile handling for confident control on urban streets and a thrilling ride on curving backroads. Combining the powertrain as a stressed member within the aluminum frame to increase rigidity, the LiveWire features fully adjustable Showa suspension. The Showa BFRC-lite (Balanced Free Rear Cushion-lite) mono-shock rear suspension is complemented by Showa SFF-BP (Separate Function Fork-Big Piston) up front, balanced to match the performance and adjustability of the rear shock and deliver low-speed damping control – ideal for composed control in typical urban riding conditions.
To improve the control and performance of the motorcycle further LiveWire is fitted with Brembo Monoblock front brake calipers gripping dual 300 mm-diameter discs to deliver outstanding power with a crisp feel for confident braking performance.
Confidence when riding is boosted with cornering-enhanced Anti-lock Braking System (ABS) and Traction Control System (TCS) – both of which are standard features on the LiveWire model – and co-branded H-D/Michelin Scorcher tires (180mm rear/120mm front). The rider can also tailor the performance of LiveWire with seven selectable riding modes – four of which are set as standard from the factory and a further three modes that can be defined by the user.
A coloir touchscreen TFT display (thin-film-transistor, a type of liquid-crystal display noted for high image quality and contrast) located above the handlebar offers the rider a wide range of information on a screen that’s bright and easy to read. The display unit is tilt-adjustable to afford most riders a good viewing angle. The TFT screen also allows the rider to access the interface for Bluetooth connectivity, navigation, music and more.
The LiveWire motorcycle features a RESS (Rechargeable Energy Storage System, or the main battery) composed of lithium-ion cells surrounded by a finned, cast-aluminum housing. The LiveWire motorcycle is also equipped with a small 12-volt lithium-ion battery that powers the lights, controls, horn and instrument display.
Charging can be completed using the on-board Level 1 charger that plugs into a standard household outlet with a power cord that stores below the motorcycle seat. LiveWire can also be charged with a Level 2 or Level 3, DC Fast Charge (DCFC), through a SAE J1772 connector, (USA), or CCS2 – IEC type 2 charging connector in international markets. All Harley-Davidson dealers who sell the LiveWire motorcycle will offer a public charging station with DCFC.
The LiveWire’s style follows a key Harley-Davidson styling dictum: the focus is on the motor. Just as the V-Twin engine is the most eye-catching element – the crown jewel – of every previous Harley-Davidson motorcycle, the electric motor is the first-look focus of the LiveWire motorcycle. Its bright case and mechanical, muscular shape is meant to convey the power it contains.
In addition, the cast-aluminum case for the RESS has been styled with functional cooling fins. The bodywork, finished using advanced paint technology to give the look of anodised metal, flows from a battery cover through to a high, wasp-like contoured tail section, with a rear fender that hugs the wheel so tightly that it almost disappears from sight.
The LiveWire will be on sale next year, and further details regarding pricing and pre-order process will be released in January 2019.
The vision behind the production LiveWire motorcycle began with Project LiveWire, revealed as a prototype in 2014 as an effort to gauge the potential of an electric-powered motorcycle as envisioned by Harley-Davidson.
Drawing from the experiences of the Project LiveWire demo tour and following an intensive development program the Harley-Davidson LiveWire model offers the rider a new, high-performance motorcycling experience.