Harley has already confirmed its e-bike will be built more than once, but yesterday’s further confirmation following H-D’s Q4/2017 results seems to have resparked interest in Project Livewire.

H-D Senior VP Sean Cummings told the Milwaukee Business Journal that H-D would release an electric bike within five years back in June of 2016. Bill Davidson, great grandson of H-D co-founder William A Davidson and vice-president of the Harley Museum, admitted as much to Australia’s The Drive last May. And CEO Matt Levatich told the Wall Street Journal, way back in 2015, that the e-bike would release no later than 2020 – not to mention confirming it again in this interview with The Street last February.

Yesterday, Levatich got slightly more specific in a statement released as part of Harley’s 4Q/2017 results:

“Harley-Davidson remains fully committed to investing in product development to inspire new riders through redefining its product in traditional spaces and expanding into new spaces. The company is on target to launch its first electric motorcycle within 18 months. Today, the company announces it will invest more aggressively to lead in the application of electric motorcycle technology to inspire ridership among a new audience.

“The EV motorcycle market is in its infancy today, but we believe premium Harley-Davidson electric motorcycles will help drive excitement and participation in the sport globally. As we expand our EV capabilities and commitment, we get even more excited about the role electric motorcycles will play in growing our business.

“You’ve heard us talk about Project LiveWire. LiveWire is an exhilarating, no excuses, electric Harley-Davidson. Over 12,000 riders told us so through the demo rides we provided around the world and it’s an active project we’re preparing to bring to market within 18 months. This morning, we announced we’ll invest more aggressively in our effort to lead in the application of electric technology in premium motorcycles to inspire ridership among new audiences.

“The more we grow our experience and capability with EV, the more excited we become about the role it will play in growing business, about the additional and region impact electric Harley-Davidson motorcycles will bring as an element of our product portfolio.
We expect our increased commitment and investment in EV to help accelerate the development of this market and assure we are the world leader in the electrification motorcycles, along with our continued leadership in premium, classic, custom and touring motorcycles.”

Will Harley’s e-bike overcome the challenges other electric bikes haven’t quite – ie., cost and range? Looks like we’ll find out sooner rather than later.

Our Harley press relations person, Jennifer Hoyer, adds: “We brought the LiveWire out as a prototype to get impressions of that motorcycle, and we said we’re going to take that feedback and come out with a no-compromises electric motorcycle. We’ve taken the feedback and expect the bike to be everything a Harley-Davidson motorcycle should be – a premium motorcycle experience. From our commitment and investment in EV, we intend to be a world leader in electric motorcycles. We expect to reach a new audience with that motorcycle.”

Harley-Davidson LiveWire First Ride

 

  • Buzz

    It’s the best looking E Cycle by far.

    • Mary

      Gℴℴgle paying to people of every age $97 per/hr to work parttime on apple laptop .. Work Some just few hours in a whole day & live happy more time with your own friends … Any person can join this offer…on Tuesday I got a great Saab 99 Turbo after just earnin $6393 this six weeks .it is absolutely nicest-work but you could not forgive yourself if you don’t see this.!dx311t:➫➫➫ http://GoogleNetJobsSoftFinanceReportsOnline/online/easytasks ♥♥♥w♥♥♥r♥♥♥f♥♥♥s♥r♥♥♥w♥♥♥i♥♥q♥♥♥j♥♥m♥♥♥h♥♥w♥p♥♥♥a♥r♥x♥j♥♥♥x♥♥w♥♥♥w♥x♥s♥p♥i♥♥a:::::!bw36y:lhuhuh

      • Vrooom

        A perfectly cromulent comment.

        • Larry Kahn

          She bought a Saab? Strange chick. Nice air bags though.

    • Alaskan18724

      Agreed. HD has its detractors, but IMHO they make handsome motorcycles. Leave the avant garde stuff for the millennials.

  • Lance H

    I’m sure all 14 people that buy it after it comes out will be squealing with glee.

  • HazardtoMyself

    Looks good, but what will the cost be with the premium Harley name? $30-$40k, more??

    • Tanner

      probably at least $20k

    • Luke

      This will be the killer number, not mph, torque, or range, but price. It has to be at least in the ballpark with the Zero bikes as those are obvious comparisons and their audience for this bike won’t be as happy to pay the HD premium as they are currently not HD customers. I’m guessing they will target 20% higher than the Zero with similar range.

      This is the eBike I want though. It’s a looker and I assume the build quality/fit/finish will be excellent as long as they build it in the US.

  • MARC

    Many bikers buy bikes for the fun of it, which includes the sound of the machine. Cars, on the other hand are purchased for transportation, which includes commuting, taking the kids to school and buying groceries. Electric cars make sense, especially if they keep extending the charging range and public charging stations.
    I test rode a Zero a year ago and it had no soul. It’s not any safer than an internal combustion motorcycle and after purchase one has the satisfaction of knowing next years model will make yours obsolete. Maybe if they install a loud stereo that simulates engine sounds a few people may buy them.

    • DickRuble

      If sound is what’s you’re after, Indian scientists have found the way to turn a common bike into a premium ridership experience, as your friends at HD put it.

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uqeR_oMtmeI

      If that doesn’t solve your quest, I will sell you a premium leaf blower.

      • MARC

        I have a car where the engine sound is so well insulated from the driver that they actually do pipe sound into the driver/passenger compartment. If one removes the fuse from the stereo there is almost no sound. And no, I ain’t gonna take a picture of it😂

        • DickRuble

          What car is that? I’ll trade you my car that has plenty of sound in the compartment.

          • MARC

            Bmw m240i. Only car I ever bought that my wife didn’t give me s**t for buying. She loves it, and the phony sound is great👌🏻

          • DickRuble

            Sounds like your wife has better taste in cars than you have in motorcycles.. Can you turn off/disable the phony sound?

          • Marc

            Actually I chose the car since I have had Bimmers since I lived in Australia back in the 80s.
            No reason to get rid of the sound since it’s not obnoxious.
            So what bikes would you choose?

          • DickRuble

            Bikes with great handling and good ergonomics, quiet, and with some power. In that exact order.

          • Marc

            Then you want a bike I used to own, a 2014 BMW R1200R, most comfortable I have ever owned, quiet and good power. Sold it since my wife is short and had a hard time getting on it. Traded it for a trike

          • DickRuble

            Come Spring, I’ll see if I can wrestle a test ride on an MV Turismo Veloce. On paper, that’s about as close as it gets to what I think a bike should be.

          • Born to Ride

            The TV800 is really really nice. But not as comfortable as the Multistrada. Also matters how you like your power. Smooth and revvy, or sharp and grunty. I found the base model MV to suffer from excessive front end dive as well. Beautiful and the bag integration blows away my bike though. Oh! And the Factory center stand is a really nice touch as it is literally impossible to find them for the MTS1100.

          • DickRuble

            My bike came from the factory with stainless steel brake tubes, center stand, and an adjustable rider peg kit for more aggressive riding or track days.

          • Born to Ride

            The suspension is adjustable yeah, but the bump compliance wasn’t overly soft despite the diveyness. My guess is that the springs were too soft for me.

        • Alaskan18724

          With a boot.

      • Alaskan18724

        HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!!!!

        • Alaskan18724

          Out of order. I was laughing about your premium leaf blower and Indian scientists.

      • Alaskan18724

        Every time I look at this, I love it more.

      • Gee S

        If THAT ain’t a premium ridership experience, I don’t know what is.

        Unless maybe we switch the soda can for a craft beer can. 😉

  • DickRuble

    If you ever had doubts about HD leadership’s intellectual ability, abandon those doubts.

    ‘world leader in the electrification motorcycles” – There is no doubt that they can be leaders in that segment, whatever electrification motorcycles are. There’s serious doubt they will manage to make a difference on their own in the electric motorcycle segment.

  • Starmag

    I like Harley and think they have their place, so I’m glad they’ve got the resources to withstand their own coal-fired RE-5. Levatich comes from sales, beware the propaganda. He’ll be gone soon.

    • Douglas

      Doncha hate “prepared statements” (i.e. press releases) as in paragraph 3?.
      Whether it’s corporate, political or “social cause” rhetoric, it’s never spontaneous, as if the individual delivering the….message (or “position” or “reason for”) has no personal knowledge/understanding of the outfit they represent or are employed by.

  • john burns

    Can’t any of you say something nice? Nobody?

    • DickRuble

      There’s a Super Blue Blood Moon tonight.

    • spiff

      Harleys have the nicest paint.

    • Old MOron

      Well, the Duke was pretty positive about the first impression. If it doesn’t way a ton more than other sporty roadsters, I’ll be positive, too. But as far as I ca tell, this thing is about as real as H-D’s 100 new models.

      • Sayyed Bashir

        It is real. I have met the engineers working on it. When HD says it will be in production in 18 months, it will be.

        • Old MOron

          Cheers, Sayyed. I hope you’re right.

    • Alaskan18724

      I love the way it hums. Like Morgan Fairchild.

    • Alaskan18724

      Technically, I’d say most everyone here is saying something nice. No cussing, no grossly inappropriate innuendos, all very civil and, well, nice. And it was very nice of you to bring us this story, which is interesting and also nice. And it looks like a nice bike, as do most stock Harley Davidsons these days. And if there are any living souls remaining with vestiges of Harley Kneecap, this will be their death knell. Evening wear, very nice….

      bing.com/videos/search?q=wendy%27s+commercial+evening+wear&view=detail&mid=D80AF40904C01567AA94D80AF40904C01567AA94&FORM=VIRE

    • Campi the Bat

      I’ll believe it when I can be talked down to by bald men in bowling shirts for riding one.

    • SerSamsquamsh

      It’s a cool looking bike. Loads of nice design details. I hope it’s remotely affordable.

      Now, let’s talk about an electric Nc750!

    • Sayyed Bashir

      JB you got 80 comments. You should be happy. Trouble is this is just a announcement. The proof is in the pudding, as they say. When the real bike comes out, there will be something to talk about. Most people like the bike but are concerned about the range and the price. Alta is in a different market segment (dirt, supermoto) but they just dropped their prices to the same level as gas bikes. Zero already has a 100 mile range. The LiveWire will have at least a 100 mile range but the price will be $20-25K. Eventually Harley will have a whole line of electric bikes including cruisers, baggers and tourers. The only problem is how will bikers make them louder? As you know, loud bikes save lives.

  • Mad4TheCrest

    How many times can they fit the word ‘premium’ into a press release?

    • Alaskan18724

      I thought Triumph had cornered the market on how many times “premium” can be used in a sentence.

    • Starmag

      They’re setting you up for it’s Premium™ price. There will be a Premium™ to be payed for virtue signaling. I wonder what the Premiums™ will be for insurance.

  • spiff

    This may be a performance (ish) bike. Maybe Harley can find a new performance loving clientele.

  • Larry Kahn

    One (maybe minor but notable) reason Buells did not sell as well as they might have was the reception buyers received in dealerships. Less than welcoming at times, and I’m pretty sure e-bike buyers will not fit in either. Bro.

    • Alaskan18724

      Bro, indeed.

      • Larry Kahn

        Had a BMW riding pal who worked at a HD dealership. He then landed a job at a BMW shop and was very happy. One of the reasons he was so pleased was, in his words, “so glad I don’t have to call everyone ‘Bro’ anymore!”

        • bigjames

          Hilarious, I’ve been riding Harleys for over 30 years, only folks I call Bro are my brothers, as in same parents as me brothers… Go to the HD shop and get called Bro by an employee, I remind them, fast, they are not my “Bro”…

    • DickRuble

      When the Buells were introduced, the hogs were bringing in huge margins for the dealerships. The Buells were lower priced, with significantly lower margins. The dealers saw them more as a nuisance.

  • John B.

    If our government cutoff Social Security and Medicare benefits at age 80, and deported all the Dreamers, it could buy every American male citizen over age 35 a new Harley. Motorcyclists are Dreamers too! HD First!!!

  • allworld

    I’m starting to like the motivation at HD, thank you Polaris

  • SRMark

    Many Memorial Days from now we may look forward to the sounds of rolling whine.

    • Starmag

      Just imagine the scary electro biker gangs. I’m sure they’ll all be packin’ sawed-off tasers.

      https://1.bp.blogspot.com/-hlV2G5Wu7Lo/V9kxYwIZe9I/AAAAAAAAlK4/C1vfXJ_aJ3EyxN2WEKNjtJdcYt-FZ7vQgCLcB/s1600/Electros-Logo.jpg

      • Alaskan18724

        Now, that’s just outstanding. Where can I get one of those? The sticker, I mean. Not an electric motorcycle….

        • Starmag
          • Alaskan18724

            “Members of the Electros are said to have attacked members of the Bells Angels with bicycle pumps and bike baskets. Several e-bikers suffered bruising and spectacles to the value of more than €700 (approx. US$ 750) were broken.”
            Today’s best post of the year. I have personally defended myself against an attacking mongrel with a Zefal HP frame pump. As your attorney, I advise you that a four-cell Maglite is preferable, if you are challenged and have choice of weapons.
            Cheers!

    • Alaskan18724

      We already enjoy that particular effect at my house.

  • Gruf Rude

    How much curb weight can be saved by removing the sound chip, amplifier and speakers that provide the trade-marked ‘potato-potato’ sound?

  • Vrooom

    The question is who will they sell it to. As Zero is teetering on the 100 miles at 100 mph standard, with a light(er) bike, can Harley compete? They haven’t been super welcoming to folks not clad in leather ready to buy a Harley. I once got thrown out of a Harley dealership when I went in for a tube (as they are open on Monday here) and it was $33, when I asked why they said because it’s got Harley quality built in. When I pointed out it was a Dunlop tube and there wasn’t any Harley in it, not pissed off or anything, they asked me to leave. How can they become more welcoming to non-Harley riders.

    • DickRuble

      I found sales departments to be similarly .. how to put it.. A*Holes at other brands’ dealerships too.

    • Alaskan18724

      That’s a very nice story!

    • Starmag

      It was $33 because of “inflation”.

      • Alaskan18724

        Using nitrogen, no doubt.

        • HeDidn’tWeDid

          The nitrogen scam kills me….like, regular air is 70% nitrogen already.

          • Alaskan18724

            Ah, but this is 100% pure nitrogen, contained by golden valves….

          • HeDidn’tWeDid

            Oh, my, how Posh…lemme raise my pinkie when I twist that throttle

      • SerSamsquamsh

        “Bloviation” is more premium – just hold the tube near HD ad copy and it will become tumescent.

    • mikstr

      How dare you question the Brotherhood?

    • Mad4TheCrest

      100 miles at 100 mph? If Zero could do that I’d own one!

      • Kevin Duke

        There is no e-bike that can go 100 miles at 100 mph.

  • Alaskan18724

    Haven’t heard from Rocket J. Stonepebble. He must not be at work.

    • Old MOron

      Try luring him with some surf music.

      • Sayyed Bashir

        He has been silenced by the CIA.

    • Ronald Vennell

      AKA “This user is blocked”…..

  • Phil W

    I guess you won’t be able to claim loud pipes save lives with this. What will it be, a gentle whir?

    • mugwump

      Think of the aftermarket in audio themes. The potato, the screamer, the big bang, ect….

    • Campi the Bat

      You joke, but Mission Motors actually designed a bevel drive arrangement into the Livewire’s powertrain purely to give the bike a pronounced turbine noise under acceleration.

      • Sayyed Bashir

        Yes, but how do you make it louder? With gas bikes you just get a more open or straight pipe or remove the baffle.

        • Campi the Bat

          The Screamin’ Eagle® Livewire Stage 1 Driveline Performance Kit will consist of a bottle of lower-viscosity gear oil for lesser noise suppression and an exclusive fluid injection syringe for ease of servicing.

        • Luke

          baseball cards in the spokes? Baseball cards made of metal.

          • Sayyed Bashir

            Yes, that’s what I suggested in another post. I used to do that as a kid on my bicycle.

      • jeff benson

        They could use alternators from 1970s CB750s. The whine was louder then the stock exhaust.

      • Mad4TheCrest

        I don’t think that was the purpose. I tested a Mission Motors RS and it had a turbine noise long before it became a component of the Livewire.

        • Campi the Bat

          That was explicitly the purpose.

          “Project LiveWire’s unique sound was designed to differentiate it from internal combustion and other electric motorcycles on the market.”

          – Mark-Hans Richer, H-D Senior Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer, https://insideevs.com/harley-davidson-livewire-review/

          “Harley hasn’t just made a lot of noise in the motorcycling world with the unveiling of its first electric bike, the Project LiveWire concept motorcycle. It has also created its own signature motorcycle noise… the engineers worked on meshing the reduction gear to produce a whining turbine jet fighter sound.”

          – Mark Hinchliffe, https://motorbikewriter.com/harley-makes-noise-electric-livewire/

          “Inverse reached out to Harley-Davidson about the technologies that were used to create this sound. A spokesperson elaborated that it was ‘created mechanically by the helical gear pattern in the longitudinally mounted gear box.'”

          – Monica Hunter-Hart, https://www.inverse.com/article/31488-harley-davidson-electric-motorcyle-sound

          • Kevin Duke

            I’d advise being careful about taking a marketing department’s word as gospel. Pretty much every e-bike has a similar whine.

          • Campi the Bat

            I was citing the published claim that the bevel gear arrangement is there to make noise. Whether the resulting noise is actually any good is, obviously, subjective.

    • SerSamsquamsh
  • Ken White

    The electric bikes should have a port to stick some DeWalt portable drill batteries to get you home. These could fit into a backpack, or a solar trickle charger on the back rack to keep ready.

    • Alaskan18724

      Don’t know the engineering of that, but it sounds pretty symmetrical to me. Bring it.

    • Mad4TheCrest

      How about just sticking a small genny in there and some pedals to turn it. 🙂

  • Hello World

    That is a nice looking bike but I still prefer my Empulse. I want to continue to be part of the solution and not part of the problem. Mkay, buhbye!

  • kenneth_moore

    They should name it “eRod.” Or maybe “Low Wire.” Or how about “eLectra Glide?”

    • Campi the Bat

      The name is the only thing I’m expecting them to keep. It’s a lovely design, but we’ll have had four years to look at it by this summer.

    • Alaskan18724

      Hehe. You said “eRod.”

    • SerSamsquamsh

      Electro-Glide you mean 🙂 straight out of 1950, makes a Jetsons car noise as Rosie drives it by.

  • michael32853hutson@yahoo.com

    with them having to close the Kansas plant i certainly wish them luck

  • Alex Bub

    I wish them luck with the electric bike. Cost will be an issue but I expect it to be in line with the competition. But…….. where are the Adventure Bikes, the big and middle weight dual-sport bikes that are the biggest growing niche in the market? How about a Street 750 to compete with the adventure bikes from KTM/BMW/Honda/etc? Real suspension and ground clearance, drop the weight, optional panniers, folding mirrors, GPS option,etc. How about a 350 version?

    • Sayyed Bashir

      Everyone else already has those bikes. Harley is not competing with them. It is a different market.

      • Alex Bub

        That’s the point, they are not expanding their market. I spent 33 years at H-D in engineering and saw many possibilities to expand the market that they refused to enter after building prototypes. Push button shifting, e-clutch, e-shift, a full line of dirt bikes from 80cc to 450 single and 900 dual-sport twin, the now discontinued VRod they had made a touring version of but killed it and the whole line, CVT transmission, automatic, dual-clutch, turbos, superchargers, a diesel trike, etc.etc. I worked on all of these. And now their sales are dropping and the competition is eating them for lunch. The Milwaukee 8 is a great start and I hope the electric takes off. But they are ignoring the growth niches and just concentration on cruisers and touring. Guess that’s what happens when the BOD has no motorcyclist or industry knowledge.

        • Sayyed Bashir

          Nice to know a real HD engineer. Welcome to MO! And I can see your point. Harley is a very conservative company. Doesn’t want to venture too far from the beaten path. Everytime they have stepped outside, they have been hurt: Buell, MV Agusta. They want to stay true to their tradition. That’s what their core customers want. But they do introduce new technology where it makes a difference to the rider: hydraulic lifters, belt drive, EFI, ABS, security system, etc. They do experiment with everything but have to evaluate the usefulness to the rider. All the things you mentioned above would not have been liked by Harley riders.

          • Alex Bub

            Some changes made have had interesting responses from riders. When we went to EFI a very few riders did not like the way the bikes now sounded. EFI got rid of the partial combustion on the non-compression stroke due to the wasted spark. With EFI the wasted spark disappeared as well as the small combustion on the non-compression stroke. The smoother combustion was noticed by some riders who did not like it. EFI was a huge improvement but the change in bike feel and the exhaust sound was noticed. Less potato – potato.

          • Sayyed Bashir

            Ha, ha! That’s funny! Its the same issue with the Milwaukee 8. It is more of a continuous rumble (sounds like a Honda) instead of the potato – potato. I don’t like it (I have a 2007 Softail Custom) but I wasn’t planning on buying one anyway. My bike is still doing fine with 162,000 miles on it.

        • Paragon Lost

          “VRod they had made a touring version of but killed it and the whole line”

          Man, I would have loved to have had a chance at a HD V-Rod touring bike. Freaking HD, they shoot themselves in the foot so often.

          • Alex Bub

            I was going to order a VRod touring version and was highly disappointed when I heard it was cancelled. Leather bags, electrically operated windshield height on a small fairing, pegs under your feet on not feet forward. VRod engines have been highly reliable. RIP

  • Allison Sullivan

    It’s not terrible, although the frame reminds me of a 2000-ish SV650.

    I’ll bet it’s spendy though. AS if electric bikes aren’t spendy enough already.

    • Sayyed Bashir

      The big spend comes when it is time to change the battery pack. Prius owners sell their cars before their battery warranty runs out.

      • Mad4TheCrest

        Spoken like somebody who doesn’t own a Prius and doesn’t really know anybody who does. My wife has owned an 06 Prius from new, has over 150k miles on it and the battery is still fine. You can get replacement batteries for her nicad version for $1200 or less. Think of all the taxis using them. If there is a Prius weak point it’s the gas motor – after 150k of multiple stop/start it’s begun to eat oil.

  • Mark L

    Test rode the HD Livewire a while back, when they were touring North America with 12 of them. Absolute hoot! Great riding experience. Ridiculously torquey!

  • Steve C
  • Steve

    This model will no doubt come equipped with a killer sound system with a continuous loop of a knuckle head with straight pipes. Gotta keep saving lives you know.

  • Douglas

    OK, as this is essentially an urban scoot (100-125mi), I’ll need one for running errands, commutes, et al…..ergo, I’ll need H-D’s new hard bags & biggest trunk and a full fairing (ala older Concours, with the lip atop the screen) with large storage compartments, only a speedo, voltmeter and charge-remaining gauge (please no ge-gaws, to wit: blue teeth hookup, gps, cd player, XM radio, intercom {since I’d want a solo saddle}, tho’ wx radio wd be nice). And a tire pressure monitor feature in the abbreviated dash panel, all for around $25k. Oh, and strident, low-pitched horns, ala Lincoln & Cadillac. That’s all. Thankavurramush.

    P.S…..footboards, instead of pegs

    • Sayyed Bashir

      You’re talking about the LiveWire or the Ultra Limited? Eventually HD will have electric baggers and tourers, not at the beginning. The battery technology has to catch up.

      • Douglas

        The EGlide accouterments on the battery bike, with the Coucours-style fairing (which would admittedly be very un-HD like) for maximum carrying capacity for urban use (going to the hdwe store, P.O., grocery store, et al). I wouldn’t use it for joyriding, cruising, etc (have other scoots for that)…..it’d be strictly a utility vehicle requiring minimum maintenance, no warmup on cool days, economy and the attendant quiet smoothness inherent in electric motors.

        I’m not talking about tourers (have bikes for that, too)….strictly a go-fer scoot, so 100-125 mi range is plenty.

  • bigjames

    Hang on to your hats folks, HD is not the only manufacturer that may bring out an electric model, one will be totally unexpected and will floor you and that is all I will say on that matter. I look forward to this era!

  • WoW ! Harley Davidson Electric Motorcycle.