Har­ley-David­son’s elec­tric bike looks to be a real Live Wire

USA TODAY US Edition - - MONEY - Rick Bar­rett Mil­wau­kee Jour­nal Sentinel USA TO­DAY NET­WORK – Wis­con­sin

A pro­duc­tion ver­sion of Har­ley-David­son Inc.’s elec­tric mo­tor­cy­cle was un­veiled Tues­day in Mi­lan, a mile­stone for the bike that’s ex­pected to be avail­able for sale next year.

Few per­for­mance de­tails were shared, but Har­ley said there’s no clutch­ing or shift­ing re­quired, and the bike pro­duces a tone that in­creases in pitch and vol­ume with speed. The LiveWire can be charged from a stan­dard house­hold elec­tric out­let, with a power cord that stores below the seat, ac­cord­ing to Har­ley.

All deal­er­ships that sell the bike will of­fer a pub­lic charg­ing sta­tion with a fast-charg­ing sys­tem, the com­pany says.

A color touch screen above the han­dle­bar is tilt-ad­justable for the best view­ing an­gle. The in­stru­ment screen also al­lows ac­cess to a nav­i­ga­tion sys­tem, mu­sic and more. A small, 12-volt lithium-ion bat­tery pow­ers the con­trols, in­stru­ment dis­play, lights and horn. The bike’s sus­pen­sion has seven rid­ing modes to choose from, four set as stan­dard at the fac­tory and three that can be cus­tom­ized by the rider.

The elec­tric mo­tor is po­si­tioned low in the frame to lower the bike’s cen­ter of grav­ity and help with han­dling at all speeds and when stopped.

The LiveWire ought to be quick, with a pro­to­type show­ing it could go from 0 to 60 mph in less than four sec­onds. Ear­lier, Har­ley said it wouldn’t bring an elec- tric mo­tor­cy­cle to mar­ket un­til the bat­tery tech­nol­ogy im­proved to al­low for longer driv­ing dis­tances. Har­ley has logged thou­sands of pub­lic test rides on LiveWire pro­to­types, but this is the first look at a pro­duc­tion model of the bike.

It was shown Tues­day at an in­ter­na­tional mo­tor­cy­cle show in Mi­lan, along with new bikes from Du­cati, Honda, Suzuki, Yamaha, Royal En­field, KTM and other man­u­fac­tur­ers.

❚ Growth plans: LiveWire comes as Mil­wau­kee­based Har­ley-David­son says it plans to spend hun­dreds of mil­lions of dol­lars to stim­u­late growth through new mo­tor­cy­cles in the next four years, in­clud­ing smaller bikes built through an al­liance with an Asian man­u­fac­turer.

In ad­di­tion, Har­ley is in­tro­duc­ing new mid­size bikes, in­clud­ing the com­pany’s first ad­ven­ture tour­ing model ca­pa­ble of off-high­way use.

Through its new plan, called More Roads to Har­ley-David­son, the com­pany says it ex­pects to spend be­tween $675 mil­lion and $825 mil­lion as it looks to gen­er­ate more than $1 bil­lion in ad­di­tional an­nual rev­enue in 2022. Har­ley says it will fund its plans by cut­ting costs and re­al­lo­cat­ing pre­vi­ously planned in­vest­ments. Some of the cost sav­ings will come from the clos­ing of the com­pany’s man­u­fac­tur­ing plant in Kansas City, Mis­souri, in mid-2019 and mov­ing the work to the com­pany’s plant in York, Penn­syl­va­nia.

Also, this fall the com­pany is open­ing an assem­bly plant in Thai­land.


Har­ley-David­son on Tues­day un­veiled a pro­duc­tion-ready ver­sion of its elec­tric mo­tor­cy­cle that’s ex­pected to be avail­able for sale in 2019.

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