|Engine||55 kW, oil-cooled, longitudinally-mounted three-phase induction electric motor|
|Power||74 hp (55 kW)|
|Torque||52 lb·ft (71 N·m)|
|Transmission||Direct drive (single speed), belt drive via bevel gear|
|Frame type||Cast aluminum trellis frame|
|Tires||17-inch rear, 18-inch front|
|Weight||460 lb (210 kg) (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. Harley CEO Keith Wandell said the model was part of an effort to reach a more diverse group of riders including "18 to 35-year-olds, women, African-Americans and Hispanic riders".
The new electric motorcycle was called "the most radical departure in the 111-year history of the brand" by a Fox Sports commentator. 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" and "the product of a painful corporate revolution long in the making" as Harley brings out new technology and reaches out for a wider customer base.
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. 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.
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.
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. The same bevel gear gives the drivetrain a unique whirring sound, compared to the sound of a jet turbine, or as a writer for The Verge said, "like an oversized vacuum".
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 rear wheel, 18-inch front
- trellis frame
- direct drive powertrain
0-60 mph in under 4 seconds (claimed)
Notes and references
- Carpenter 2014.
- Conner 2014.
- Lockwood 2014.
- Gastelu 2014.
- Saporito 2014.
- Barrett 2014.
- Walker 2014.
- 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."
- Powersports Business 2014.
- Harloff 2014.
- 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."
- Davies 2014.
- Beeler, Jensen (June 18, 2014), Leaked: Tech Details on the Harley-Davidson Livewire, Asphalt and Rubber
- Conner, Blake (June 19, 2014), "HARLEY-DAVIDSON LIVEWIRE ELECTRIC MOTORCYCLE – FIRST RIDE", Cycle World
- Fleming, Charles (June 19, 2014), "Harley-Davidson announces its first electric motorcycle, LiveWire", The Los Angeles Times
- Saporito, Bill (June 19, 2014), "Harley-Davidson goes electric", Time
- Barrett, Rick (June 19, 2014), "Harley to launch electric motorcycle prototype", Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel
- Carpenter, Susan (June 19, 2014), "Harley-Davidson goes electric", Orange County Register
- Davies, Alex (June 19, 2014), "Harley-Davidson’s First Electric Motorcycle Surprisingly Doesn’t Suck", Autopia blog, Wired
- Harloff, Thomas (June 20, 2014), "Stromschlag für die Rockerseele", Süddeutsche Zeitung (in German), Munich
- Gastelu, Gary (June 21, 2014), "Meet project LiveWire: Harley-Davidson's first electric motorcycle", Speed blog, Fox Sports
- Walker, Michael (June 21, 2014), "Will Electric Harley Become Hollywood's Next Tesla?", The Hollywood Reporter
- Nunez, Alex (June 23, 2014), "Scarlett Johansson trades Vette for electric Harley-Davidson in Avengers 2: Black Widow will ride the electric hog in Age of Ultron", Road & Track
- Kastrenakes, Jacob (June 24, 2014), We rode Harley-Davidson's incredible electric motorcycle, The Verge
- "Analyst: Customer feedback after Livewire NYC test rides 'overwhelming positive'", Powersports Business, June 26, 2014
- Lockwood, Denise (June 27, 2014), "CEO Keith Wandell: Harley-Davidson focuses on future with LiveWire", Milwaukee Business Journal
- Dexter Ford (June 19, 2014), "Future Shock: Whispering Harleys", The New York Times
- Norman Vanamee (June 25, 2014), "Harley-Davidson debuts the sleek LiveWire motorcycle", Daily AD (blog), Architectural Digest — interview with motorcycle designer Kirk Rasmussen
- Chuck Quirmbach (June 28, 2014), "Harley Hopes An Electric Hog Will Appeal To Young, Urban Riders", All Things Considered, NPR