Harley-Davidson LiveWire

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Harley-Davidson LiveWire
Production2019 (Planned)[1]
ClassElectric motorcycle
Engine55 kW, oil-cooled, longitudinally-mounted three-phase induction electric motor[2][3]
Power74 hp (55 kW)[3]
Torque52 lb⋅ft (71 N⋅m)[3]
TransmissionSingle speed, belt drive via bevel gear
Frame typeCast aluminum trellis frame[2][3]
Tires17-inch rear, 17-inch front
Weight460 lb (210 kg)[2] (dry)

The Harley-Davidson LiveWire is an electric motorcycle prototype and Harley-Davidson's first electric vehicle. It was displayed to the media in June, 2014. Prototypes will be made available for public test rides at United States Harley dealerships in 2014, then Europe and Canada in 2015.[3]. In January 2018, Harley announced that the motorcycle is entering production and will hit the market in 18 months.[4] Preorders are planned to be opened in January 2019.[5]


The new electric motorcycle was called "the most radical departure in the 111-year history of the brand" by a Fox Sports commentator.[6] Other industry observers see the development of the LiveWire, and the potential development of an electric product or product line, as part of a shift towards "people who might not ordinarily be drawn to Harley's traditional loud, heavy, expensive motorcycles"[2] and "the product of a painful corporate revolution long in the making"[7] as Harley brings out new technology and reaches out for a wider customer base.[7]

Styling was compared to that of former Harley sport bike subsidiary, Buell Motorcycles.[8]

The Hollywood Reporter said that an electric Harley-Davidson could become a status symbol like the Tesla Model S, and noted that the new Harley had been placed in Avengers: Age of Ultron.[9] Road & Track posted spy shots from the set, and reported that Harley would gauge the reception by the film's audience as a sort of global market test of the product concept.[10]

Powersports Business reported that initial customer reactions to test rides in New York in late June, 2014 were "overwhelmingly positive" but also noted some negative reactions to the tuning of the regenerative braking system.[11]


Unusually for an electric motorcycle (and perhaps uniquely), the motor is mounted longitudinally, under the frame. A bevel gear changes the direction of rotation 90° to drive a gilmer belt that turns the rear wheel.[3] The same bevel gear gives the drivetrain a unique whirring sound, compared to the sound of a jet turbine,[8][12] or as a writer for The Verge said, "like an oversized vacuum".[13]

According to Wired magazine, Mission Motors provided technical assistance on the motor controller.[14]

Technical specifications include:

  • Cast aluminum frame and swingarm
  • LED headlight
  • TFT dashboard
  • Longitudinal three-phase AC motor/bevel gear/belt drive
  • 74 horsepower and 52 pound-feet
  • Electronically limited to 95 mph
  • Single disc, 2-piston front brake
  • 460 lbs
  • 7 kWh battery (estimated)
  • 17-inch front & rear wheels [15]
  • Trellis frame
  • single speed powertrain

Performance, Range and Price[edit]

  • 0-60 mph in under 3.5 seconds (2019)[6]
  • Harley continues to improve the range on this motorcycle. While the 2014 demo model had a range of 59 miles, 2019 production model is expected to provide a max of 110 miles driving range. (Jan, 2019)
  • Starting MSRP of USD $29,799 (Jan, 2019)

Notes and references[edit]


  1. ^ "Harley-Davidson Releases Further Details On 2019 LiveWire At EICMA Show". 6 November 2018 – via https://www.harley-davidson.com.
  2. ^ a b c d Carpenter 2014.
  3. ^ a b c d e f Conner 2014.
  4. ^ "Harley-Davidson Is Making an Electric Motorcycle". 30 January 2018 – via www.bloomberg.com.
  5. ^ "Here's Your First Official Look at the Harley-Davidson LiveWire Electric Motorcycle". 6 November 2018.
  6. ^ a b Gastelu 2014.
  7. ^ a b Saporito 2014.
  8. ^ a b Barrett 2014.
  9. ^ Walker 2014.
  10. ^ Nunez 2014 "Expect a full promotional blitz next year as Harley gauges reaction to its radical new concept by putting it in front of a massive, global audience of moviegoers."
  11. ^ Powersports Business 2014.
  12. ^ Harloff 2014.
  13. ^ Kastrenakes 2014 "LiveWire is nearly impossible to hear when out among New York City traffic. When revved indoors, however, it lets off a high-pitched whine that sounds more like an oversized vacuum than a vehicle."
  14. ^ Davies 2014.
  15. ^ "Harley-Davidson LiveWire Electric Motorcycle • Thunderbike". 9 November 2018.


Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]