It's been a long road, but the electric revolution from Harley-Davidson is drawing ever closer, with the brand announcing further details of the all-electric motorcycle overnight.
Visually the Livewire has come a long way since I first rode the prototype version - dubbed Project Livewire - back in 2015.
There are subtle changes to the frame, while the subframe is new as is the seat. Up front is a good looking small fairing and the burnt orange paint actually is quite appealing over the black of Project Livewire.
The biggest physical change is the mirrors, where Harley clearly decided that the god-awful mirrors of Project Livewire were never going to be a practical option for looking at anything more than your knees. It may be the next greatest thing from Harley-Davidson, but sometimes going for the tried and true really is the best choice.
Due for release in 2019 outside of New Zealand (we have to wait until 2020) Harley-Davidson showed the Livewire off at EICMA in Milan overnight as a production-ready motorcycle.
LiveWire was first confirmed during the announcement of the company’s “More Roads to Harley-Davidson” earlier this year along with a swathe of bikes featuring an all-new 1250cc water-cooled V-twin. As part of the "More Roads" plan, Harley-Davidson intends to be the world leader in the electrification of motorcycles, and is aggressively investing in electric vehicle technology.
Harley-Davidson expects to deliver a full portfolio of electric motorcycles by 2022, so there are definitely more electric options just waiting to be announced.
Drawing from the experiences of the Project LiveWire demo tour and following an intensive development programme, Harley-Davidson says LiveWire offers the rider a new, high-performance motorcycling experience. Propelled by the immediate torque of an all-electric motor, the LiveWire motorcycle is capable of astounding acceleration with just a twist of the throttle – no clutching or gear shifting required. A low centre of gravity, rigid aluminum frame and premium adjustable suspension components give the LiveWire dynamic handling. Performance and range are optimised for the urban street-rider.
The LiveWire is powered by a permanent magnet electric motor that produces instant torque the moment that throttle is twisted resulting in incredible acceleration performance for a thrilling ride. The motor is located low in the motorcycle to lower the center of gravity and help the motorcycle handle well at all speeds as well as making it easy to control when stationary. 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.
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 aluminium frame to increase rigidity, the LiveWire features premium high-performance fully adjustable Showa®suspension. The Showa® BFRC-lite® (Balanced Free Rear Cushion-lite) mono-shock rear suspension is complimented by Showa SFF-BP® (Separate Function Fork-Big Piston®) up front, balanced to match the performance and adjustability of the rear shock and deliver exceptional 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 enhanced with 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 tyres (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 colour touch screen 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 perfect 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 an on-board Level 1 charger that plugs into a standard household outlet with a power cord that stores below the motorcycle seat.
While getting into the chargin aspects of the bike gets complicated fast, it is good to hear that all Harley-Davidson dealers who sell the LiveWire will offer a public charging station.
The all-new Harley-Davidson LiveWire will be on sale in select markets next year. For Australia and New Zealand, Livewire will be released in late 2020 and I personally can't wait to give it a ride and feel the improvements over Project Livewire.