Harley Davidson in the electric chair?

source – Harley Davidson

LiveWire! – the first ‘electric’ Harley Davidson! What makes a great electric motorcycle? The same thing that makes a great petrol powered motorcycle! How about 0 to 60 mph (0 to 100 kph) in 3.0 seconds and 60 to 80 mph (100 to 129 kph) in 1.9 seconds. Read on! 

No thanks, I need petrol. 

Before we continue, we know that there will be some of you thinking that an electric motorcycle is too futuristic and too different from what you are used to, and that it is impossible to really imagine owning or riding one.  What I would suggest is when you strip it back, these things still have a big powerful motor (instead of an engine) and instead of a fuel tank, they will have a battery. We are not looking at some kind of hoverbike powered by nuclear fusion –  they are simply motorcycles, powered by electric. So if you love motorcycles, give these early electric motorcycles some serious consideration as you might be riding one in a few years time! [Don’t get me wrong – I will always love the noise, the rumble (the smell!) of petrol engines but that is not going to stop me giving something new a try!]  

Does it make you feel good and does it put a smile on your face?

Harley Davidson is a premium manufacturer – they simply do not make cheap / affordable machines, they aim for a premium quality look and feel and use that to define what the brand Harley-Davidson product stands for. So yes, I’d say if had one these beauties sitting on my driveway I would have a smile on face for sure. (And from the way theses things move (see performance figures below!) – I’ll have a smile on my face when I’m riding it too!)

Harley have chosen to focus their styling cues around the electric motor. Just as the combustion engine is the most eye-catching element – the crown jewel – of most non-electric motorcycles (especially cruisers), Harley have built a bright case and designed a mechanical, muscular shape is meant to convey power: I think it really works, it looks good! The cast-aluminum case has highly styled cooling fins with similarities to horizontal cooling fins on an air-cooled engines of old.

The tone of this paint finish gives it the look of anodized metal and is available in two exclusive colors: Yellow Fuse, and Orange Fuse, which is clearly been chosen by Harely to reflect the futuristic electrical technology, they wanted something different, eye catching, futuristic and modern. (Though wisely there will also be a model available in ‘Vivid’ Black)

Does it ride well for what you plan to use the machine for..but is this thing fast?

With instant torque (like any electric powertrain) hammering you, the LiveWire delivers acceleration of 0 to 60 mph (0 to 100 kph) in 3.0 seconds and 60 to 80 mph (100 to 129 kph) in 1.9 seconds. So yes, this is a blisteringly fast motorcycle. Because maximum torque is always on tap, roll-on acceleration for passing from any speed is outstanding.

Electric power-trains requires no clutch and no gear shifting, but you have the effect of engine braking by the power regeneration mode kicking you back as it adds charge to the battery, especially in urban traffic that often requires a lot of slow-rolling and stop-and-go riding. When it comes to handling, electric motorcycles are able to have an optimized center of gravity. The Livewire has a rigid aluminum frame and premium adjustable suspension, other reviewers who have test ridden machine are usually relatively impressed with handling, not exceptional, but good. 

Range Anxiety?

This is where all electric motorcycles get the hard time. The Livewire is said to have 146 miles (235 km) of city range or 95 miles (152 km) of combined, so this is really a machine for the urban street-rider. That’s not too bad as some petrol tank range figures would be similar. 

So what about charging time? 

DC Fast Charge (DCFC) technology provides a 0-80 percent of battery charge in 40 minutes or 0-100 percent charge in 60 minutes. This is the current real issue with electric motorcycles – filling your petrol take takes 2 minutes while filling your electric battery takes 40 minutes, and while there is a lot more electric charging points available , at the moment in 2019 / 2020 we simply have a lot more petrol stations. Driving an electric car / riding an electric motorcycle requires some planning!  (Though…on the other hand … there’s no engine oil to change, and no spark plugs, air filter or primary drive system to service!) 

Electrical systems include

  • Cornering Enhanced Anti-lock Braking System (C-ABS), 
  • Cornering Enhanced Traction Control System (C-TCS) 
  • Drag-Torque Slip Control System (DSCS) 
  • A 4.3-inch color TFT touchscreen 
  • Seven selectable Ride Modes electronically control the performance characteristics 

The LiveWire motorcycle will be available in 2019 and 2020  through select authorized Harley-Davidson dealerships in the United States, Canada and most European countries where Harley-Davidson conducts business, with expanding global availability planned for 2020 through 2021. LiveWire MSRP around $29,799 but for full details obviously see the Harley website! 

Hope you enjoyed the above blog article. 

Ride Smart , Ride Safe