Harley-Davidson Charges Up for EV Bike Launch

Harley-Davidson’s new-found transparency of its future product plans is being led by its LiveWire all-electric motor cycle due out next year.

It claims to now be a market leader in two-wheeled BEV technology hoping to exploit its worldwide reputation for cool iconic bikes but married to cutting edge EV powertrain technology. TU-Automotive caught up with Harley’s UK and Ireland marketing manager for Dan Lovis at this autumn’s Motor Cycle Live show in Birmingham to find out a little more. Lovis pointed out that beyond the brand’s classic cruiser image, it has been steered by innovation since its inception back in 1903. He said: “The technologies are at the forefront of keeping our riders safe, also there are levels of technologies that they see on other brands and they want these on their Harley-Davidson motor cycles.

“We are aware of what our customers are demanding through our focus groups and, as things move forward, we offer very sophisticated ABS systems as well as security alarm systems. On top of this, the way we have designed our satellite navigation systems on our touring bikes, it’s very easy, very intuitive, you don’t have to take your eyes off the road for any longer than necessary. It’s designed this way so that you can stay focused on the road ahead and not have valuable concentration time taken away and this results in a good safety by product.”

Yet, the new LiveWire takes Harley’s innovative ambitions to a new level, admitted Lovis. “Until quite recently, we were quite secretive about what was being developed but since the New Roads initiative you can see what’s coming up involving the different platforms we have on the way and, of course, the inclusion of LiveWire. This has lots of new technology, which shows that we are progressive and not just the classic Harley-Davidson American cruiser.”

Other products on the way to customers in the coming couple of years also break Harley’s traditional mold under the New Roads program include the Pan America cross-over adventurer tourer, the Streetfighter naked race styled city scratcher and the retro Custom looking like a refugee from a 1930s drag strip, all boasting a performance orientated 1250cc engine.

Back with the LiveWire, few details have yet been released about the bike’s performance capabilities but it will boast seven different riding modes, music and GPS controlled by a Bluetooth enabled touchscreen infotainment system and, of course, an EV powertrain requiring little servicing compared to conventional engine and transmission set-ups.

Lovis added: “We are definitely all about innovation, we are the first manufacturer to have a serious full-size motor cycle coming to market next year. With this we have our own battery facility in Silicon Valley, where the testing and development is purely focused on the upcoming EV range.”

— Paul Myles is a seasoned automotive journalist based in London. Follow him on Twitter @Paulmyles_

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