Tag Archives: electric motorcycle

Subsidies bypass electric motorcycles

Several Australian states are now offering subsidies for motorists who buy electric cars, yet none has offered the assistance to riders.

NSW, South Australia and Victoria have a limited-offer $3000 rebate for electric cars under $68,750 while Queensland sets the limit of $58,000 to exclude Teslas.

Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries motorcycle spokesman Rhys Griffiths says the subsidies do not apply to electric motorcycles and scooters.

However, the states and territories do offer various other incentives such as rego discounts, stamp duty exemptions, T2/T3 lane access that, in some cases, apply to bikes.

Rhys says it is important for states to “get consistency of regulations around electric-powered two-wheelers”.  

“At the moment there is a discrepancy regarding power to weight ratios applied to E motorcycles, in regard to LAMS eligibility,” he says.

Dominic Kavo of Australia’s first electric bike and scooter company, Fonzarelli, says stamp duty exemptions and registration concessions available for EV bikes in various states are “not as widespread as it really should be and states like Victoria have no concessions to speak of regarding EV motos”.

Fonzarelli NKDs electric motorcycle

“We would love to see a lot more incentives for EV riders,” he says. 

“To see them be at least commensurate with EV cars would be a great start but I feel there is also the opportunity to encourage more two-wheelers in many different landscapes as they can reduce congestion as well as emissions in these areas greatly.

“Overall encouraging and creating greater access to EV’s, whether it be monetary benefits, specific EV parking allocations, rebates and any other benefit is a rather necessary measure to help Australia get up to speed with the changing technology and maybe one day become a leader in sustainability.”

Town Page of Australian Electric Moto on the Gold Coast – Australia’s first all-electric-bike dealership – says he is writing to Queensland Transport Minister Mark Bailey and Deputy Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce to ask why motorcycles and scooters are not included in incentives and what can be done to make them more affordable. 

“At the moment – not only do we not get incentives – we also get stung 5% customs duty on imported electric motorcycles and scooters – plus all the other costs involved in getting them here.

“Some States are doing subsidised charging units at home and work – like NSW. 

“There are also some lower stamp duty prices for electric motorcycles/scooters in some states – but most aren’t even setup for electric motors. 

“You are asked how many cylinders/CC your bike is when you go to register it. Most service teams just register it as a 125cc or low capacity bike.”

However, Rhys says “we are kidding ourselves if we expect any simplification of licensing just because you ride an electric-powered vehicle.”

Incentives electric bike importers and manufacturers would like to see include a subsidy on the price, free parking, priority lane access and reduced stamp duty, customs duty and registration fees.

The Australian Motorcycle Council is meeting tomorrow and will discuss their strategy on electric bike incentives.

While there is a growing list of electric cars being imported to Australia, there remain very few electric bikes available in our market.

Several motorcycle and scooter importers have access to electric models overseas, but are not importing them because of the lack of incentives and infrastructure.

Electric scooters are the biggest volume of electric bike sales in Australia, but scooters represent only 5% of the overall market.  

Source: MotorbikeWriter.com

Will petrol prices force electric rethink?

The current exorbitant fuel prices could force Australian motorcycle importers to rethink their strategy of not importing electric motorcycles and scooters.

It may also spark the manufacturers and their representative groups, such as the Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries, to start pedalling motorcycles as cheaper alternative transport than cars.

Fuel pumps around the country are currently topping $A2.20 for a litre of standard fuel, so filing even a little hatchback can cost more than $100, thanks to the current war in Ukraine.

This could mean more and more motorists could begin to look toward electric cars and bikes.

While there is only a modest selection of electric cars available in Australia, the pickings are even slimmer for riders.

Most electric two-wheeled vehicles available in Australia are low-powered scooters.

Even Australia’s first electric motorcycle and scooter company, Fonzarelli, only produce low-to-moderate-powered bikes with very limited range.

Fonzarelli NKDs electric motorcycle

At the other end of the scale, Harley-Davidson has had limited success with its $A50k LiveWire, high-performance naked bike.

There are a lot more electric options available overseas, but Australian importers have largely been conservative in their approach to importing them.

That could change if the pain of high fuel prices continues.

There is already pressure from within the Liberal Party for the Federal Government to relax the 44c/litre excise on fuel. 

Just don’t expect the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission to do anything about fuel prices.

In an official reply to us, they said they have no role in setting fuel prices, but “work hard to promote and deliver price transparency in the petrol market to ensure people across the country can find the best possible deals for their fuel”.

They say fuel retailers in Australia are allowed to set their own retail prices for fuel, but they must set their prices independently of other retailers.

So how come all servo fuel prices seem to go up on the same day? Isn’t that collusion?

Meanwhile, importers and representative bodies should be extolling the economical virtues of motorcycles.

A modern 250cc motorcycle or scooter will get around 2.8L/100km (85mpg), and there’s not a car on the planet that can match that kind of economy.

Surely that’s something that is worth promoting in this current climate.

What is needed is an industry-wide pool of advertising money to promote the general benefits of powered two-wheelers, rather than specific makes or models.

The problem is motorcycle importers are loathe to promote anything generic, fearing it may lead to sales of competing bikes.

While motorcycles may be cheaper to fill than cars, they really aren’t that economical. Click here see to find out why. 

Then check out these five ways you can improve your bike’s fuel consumption.

Source: MotorbikeWriter.com

Review: Fonzarelli NKDs electric bike

Happy Days fans are in for a rude shock … Arthur Fonzarelli couldn’t actually ride!

Yes, that’s right, Henry Winkler, the actor who played Fonzie or “The Fonze” in the Happy Days TV series from 1974-84 couldn’t ride a motorcycle.

Henry Winkler as the Fonze or Fonzie in Happy Days on the Triumph TR5 up for sale on eBay
Henry Winkler as the Fonze on a Triumph TR5

He crashed several times in shooting, found Harleys too heavy to handle and blamed his inability to co-ordinate clutch, brake and throttle on his dyslexia.

Fast forward from the ‘50s era show to the 2020s and swap Fonzie’s Harleys and Triumphs for the first Australian electric motorcycle named in his honour and he might have been just fine.

The Fonzie NKD is a midi-sized hybrid scooter/motorcycle with twist-and-go automatic transmission and a light weight of just 101kg.

Even the dyslexic Fonzie surely couldn’t fail to ride this bike.

The Fonzie NKD is assembled in Redfern, Sydney, and comes in several models ranging in price from $8990 to $16,990.

The entry level NKDa is a city commuter bike with a top speed of 80km/h and 50km of range.

My test bike is the NKDs with 100km/h top speed and 100km of city range. In matte black with Pirelli dual-sport tyres it costs $11,365.

The NKD+ and NKDx also have a 100km/h stop speed but increased city range of 150km and 200km.

Selecting options such as tyres, saddle and handgrips will increase the price.

You can’t actually buy one off the floor. Instead, you have to order and wait about three months for it to be built to your spec.

Included in the price is contactless ignition, a phone charger, LED lights, adjustable footpegs and even reverse gear although I have no idea why you would ever need it on a bike this light.

For $11,365 I found the instruments crude and simple, the adjustable suspension rather basic and the finish fairly “industrial”.

While the Fonzie NKD may be named after TV’s coolest hero, its styling is as far from the slick-haired, leather-jacketed rocker as you can get.

It’s got a modern “urban construction site” look with exposed wiring, painted sheet metal panels and fenders, and exposed tubular chromoly frame.

While the NKD is diminutive by comparison with most motorcycles, it is neither a mini-bike nor a monkey bike.

The NKD is probably best referred to as a midi-bike. 

It sits on smallish 12-inch wheels, has a motorcycle-type body and features scooter-style front and rear brake levers on the handlebars with no clutch or foot brake.

Even though it looks on the small side, it should suit all but the tallest rider. I stand 183cm, yet I felt quite comfortable and relaxed on the bike, although the seat is a little on the firm side.

Not that a hard seat is a drawback as the limited range means you won’t be seated for long.

Like the price, the range is flexible and depends on many factors.

While a petrol bike has greater range on the highway than the city, the reverse is true with all electric vehicles.

I found I could only get about 60km of range when cruising down the highway, but close to the 100km in urban riding.

That’s because of the brake regeneration capturing kinetic energy to recharge the Panasonic Lithium-Ion 3.5kWh battery.

Cleverly the Fonzie crew have added a little red lever on the brakes which allows you to select the amount of regenerative braking you want from coasting through to heavy retardation.

It takes some time to get your head around the range issue and a lot of trial and error. 

Twice I was caught out limping the bike home as the battery light flashed red at me.

That can be quite unnerving as there is little you can do when you run out of battery. It is not as if you can walk to a servo and get a can of fuel to get you home again.

Range is also affected by your riding behaviour, hilly terrain, temperatures (you go further when it’s warm), rider and pillion load, and the amount of constant throttle such as on a highway.

There are selectable three riding modes (Eco, Street and Beast) which will also affect range as well as throttle response.

Charging takes several hours to go from flat to full. It comes with a bulky external charger which will plug into any AC outlet. You can also buy an onboard charger compatible with EV charging infrastructure so you can charge while away from home.

The claimed top speed of 100km/h for the NKDs is also flexible.

I accidentally nudged 115km/h on a downhill section of highway before I realised and rolled off the throttle.

Happiest going downhill

Acceleration off the line is brisk like most electric vehicles as you have instant maximum torque as soon as you twist the throttle.

Beating Porsches at the traffic lights is a no-brainer — at least for the first 50m.

After that, throttle response becomes fairly limp and roll-on acceleration for passing is a slow affair.

However, you will have no trouble running with the traffic in most situations.

Of more concern was the slight hesitation and hiccuping in the throttle on my test bike.

10 Best Touring Motorcycles 2021

When throttling on from the traffic lights, there is a moment’s hesitation before sudden torque that almost pulls your hands off the grips, so hold on tight.

You get used to this.

But on several occasions I experienced throttle hesitation and even hiccuping or “bunny hopping” when accelerating at slow speed. That could just be an issue with this bike that could be adjusted by on the controller.

Despite the scooter-sized 12-inch wheels, the NKDs handles potholes way better than many scooters.

There is no nervousness or kickback in the steering thanks to the wide handlebars, conventional forks and single rear shock.

However, handling and ride comfort are compromised by the basic rear shock, adjustable for compression only.

It’s fine for most urban duties and surprisingly stable on the highways even when being buffeted by trucks.

The single disc front brakes are ample for this size bike, but I was surprised there is no ABS.

There is minimal underseat storage unlike most scooters and nowhere to hang your helmet, but there is a pillion perch where you can tie down some luggage.

You can also buy a lockable tank tag to store gloves, phone, etc.

On my test bike the mirrors were placed underneath the bars which looks cool but is impractical as you have to lift your hands to see what’s behind you.

Similarly the bar-end indicators look cool, but your hands can slightly obscure them.

The instruments are cheap and nasty looking and have so much reflective glare from the sky that it is difficult to see what speed you are going. 

I quite enjoy the quiet operation of an electric motorcycle and this is especially quiet with its belt drive.

I’m sure the neighbours had no problems with me tearing around a slippery grass paddock on the Pirelli dual sport tyres. I had a blast without blasting the neighbours!

Riding a quiet electric bike also allows you to enjoy your surrounds a little more and relax, as well as being more observant to traffic noise that could be a safety hazard.

Or you can use your helmet intercom to enjoy some classic rock and roll while riding without the angry noise of an engine and exhaust pipe to drown out the music.

Happy Days indeed!

Key facts

  • Price: $A11,365
  • Warranty: 2 years/10,000 km.
  • Motor:  Mid-drive permanent magnet three-phase brushless.
  • Power: 9.6kW.
  • Top Speed: 100km/h (claimed), 115km/h (tested).
  • City range: 100km (claimed).
  • Gearbox: automatic, belt drive. 
  • Weight: 101kg.
  • Suspension front/rear: Adjustable hydraulic telescopic fork; adjustable mono shock with remote reservoir.
  • Brakes front/rear: hydraulic 220mm disc brakes, adjustable levers, regenerative braking.
  • Dimensions: 1930mm (L); 810mm (W); 1140mm (H); 1340mm (WB); 860mm (S).

Source: MotorbikeWriter.com

Charging Across America Challenge Unveils Record Attempt and Sponsors


Plans for the inaugural Charging Across America Challenge (CAAC) have been announced by event founder Robert Swartz. Designed to promote the nation’s transition to electric vehicles (EVs) and the growing EV infrastructure network, the event kicks off April 18, 2022, with finish-line crossings scheduled in Redondo Beach, California, and New York City on April 22, 2022 (Earth Day).

The challenge features two Energica riders, Swartz and Steven Day, attempting to break the Cannonball cross-country electric motorcycle record of 178 hours and 17 minutes. Both riders will simultaneously journey coast-to-coast in opposite directions following the original 2,906-mile route of the Cannonball Run, creating a unique “race within a race.”

“I built a Model T Speedster before I got my drivers license, so Henry Ford was my hero. Ford co-sponsored America’s first real coast-to-coast competition in 1909, the ‘Ocean-to-Ocean Automobile Endurance Contest,’ a race from Manhattan to Seattle. Growing up in the ‘70s, the Cannonball Run was extremely popular. I combined these events to create the ‘Charging Across America Challenge’ to promote high-performance electric motorcycles and clean energy,” said Swartz, owner of three motorcycle businesses – Rob’s Dyno Service, Motus of New England and Energica of New England (EONE).

Voltrek recently supervised installation of a fast-charging system at Swartz’ EONE facility. “Voltrek is proud to sponsor the Charging Across America Challenge,” commented CEO Kathleen Connors. “This unique competition showcases the power and range of today’s zero emission motorcycles while dispelling ‘range anxiety’ by highlighting the nation’s expansion of reliable charging infrastructure. Riders will visit dozens of EV charging stations, including ChargePoint hubs, one of the world’s largest EV charging networks.”

Stefano Benatti, CEO of Energica Motor Company Inc., also added, “Real-world endurance contests are a true test of individual rider and machine, but even more so with electric powered vehicles. Strategy is more important than top speed, since air temperature, wind and elevation changes affect electric vehicle range far more than conventional internal combustion vehicles. This requires precise advanced planning based on charging station availability and anticipated riding conditions.  It’s a far more subtle and difficult challenge than a typical record attempt.”

Vanson Leathers is providing custom-fitted safety leathers for both riders. “We’ve worked with Rob for many years. We can’t wait for Earth Day to see who wins and what the new record will be,” said Vanson founder, Michael van der Sleesen.

“I’m delighted to have Voltrek and Vanson Leathers as our initial sponsors for this first-time event to promote Earth Day and electric powered vehicles. I’ve worked with each of these companies and look forward to promoting businesses I know and trust,” said Swartz, who is seeking additional sponsors to help offset event expenses. Details available at caac2022.com.

The post Charging Across America Challenge Unveils Record Attempt and Sponsors first appeared on Rider Magazine.
Source: RiderMagazine.com

Energica electric motorcycles come to Australia 

Italian electric motorcycle company Energica is about to open its first showroom in Australia which means the bikes will be available on five continents.

Their bikes will be imported by Australian Electric Motor Co who open their showroom in Burleigh Heads on the Gold Coast in January.

Company founder Tobin Page says a 2021 Energica Eva Ribelle RS arrived recently in Brisbane and is awaiting import approvals.

“Our other two demonstrator bikes are leaving Italy this week. We should have all three RS models on the shop floor in February.”

Energica Ego and Eva motorcycles have up to 400km (250 miles) of range which is the best on the market, beating Zero motorcycles with 360km if you use their optional Charge Tank which costs an extra $US2295.

Energica also supplied 18 bikes for the past two MotoE World Cup series run at select MotoGP rounds but will be replaced in 2023 by Ducati.

Energica MotoE
Energica MotoE race bike

“We are thrilled to represent Energica Motorcycles in Australia and New Zealand,” Toby says. 

“This region has been patiently waiting to experience the best electric motorcycles in the world – this partnership between Energica and Australian Electric Motor Co means we can now bring Australians and New Zealanders the range of premium electric motorcycles they have been asking for.

“We have a huge backlog of demand here – with hundreds of sales leads waiting to be serviced.

“We have a great climate for motorcycles, amazing roads and scenery. Our fast-charging infrastructure is improving rapidly. 

“Now with Energica Motorcycles in the region – we can finally unleash the potential of electric motorcycles here.“ 

Australia and New Zealand has one of the longest linked fast-charging EV networks in the world at almost 5000km from Cairns to Adelaide. 

In the next few years this network is forecast to become the longest in the world with 80 ultra-fast charging stations strategically located for long distance trips around Australia. 

Energica Sales & Field Marketing Director Giacomo Leone says the agreement with Australian Electric Motor Co is a “further stage in the development of the Energica distribution network in the World” with a presence in five continents. 

Source: MotorbikeWriter.com

Aussie electric bikes hit milestone sales

Australia’s first electric motorcycle company, Fonzarelli, has reached the modest milestone of selling 100 of its electric multi-purpose NKD electric motorbikes.

It’s nothing compared with the big motorcycle companies, but this boutique electric motorcycle company is certainly starting to make its name known after launching in late 2019.

FONZ Moto, as it is now called, is now available in all of Australia’s States and Territories.

Their NKD X and NKD S models are locally designed and produced after a move from their original Adelaide production plans back to Redfern in Sydney due to the pandemic.

Founder Michelle Nazzari says the decision to bring our production plans closer to home and ramp up their ‘urban micro factory’ meant they could make up to 20 motorbikes a month.

She says they are now “playing catch-up so we’re now looking to expand to a larger facility in 2022”.

There are two NKD models:

  • NKDs (100km/h top speed, 100km range) from $10,990;
  • NKDx (100km/h top speed, 200km range) from $16,990.

The NKD is powered by a mid-drive brushless motor producing 9.6kW of power and 56Nm of torque.

You can also buy optional fat knobby tyres so it can do some off-road work.

Fonzarelli NKD electric mini motorcycle
Fonzarelli NKD

The Panasonic Lithium-Ion 3.5kWh inbuilt battery can be charged via the onboard AC mains charger from flat to 100% in about five hours.

Michelle points out that NSW and the ACT have abolished stamp duty for electric motorcycles and electric scooters this year.

“While we know all states and territories operate slightly differently, it’s encouraging to see growing support for two-wheeled EVs,” she says.

FONZ sources as much as possible from local suppliers within a 200km of their premises to minimise the environmental footprint in the NKD manufacturing process.

“There’s a lot of greenwashing these days. It was important to us to source locally and get the certifications to show that it is possible to manufacture this type of product in Australia,” she says.

Locally-made also means that each bike is custom built to spec and the multi-award winning NKD series has been certified by the Australian Made campaign.

Michelle admits that NKD is not for everyone.

“There are many differing tastes out there but this plucky little beast is certainly turning heads wherever it goes,” she says.

“What’s particularly great is the endorsement we’re getting from people who truly know their stuff when it comes to performance.”

Michelle Nazzari and Adam Kaplan with the NKD S and X models

Former Australian racing car driver, Adam Kaplan, says his NKD is the perfect urban assault vehicle for his lifestyle in Noosa.

“The power delivery makes my pillion and I laugh every time we give it a squirt, and it’s sure footed and stable to ride and I love overtaking unsuspecting vehicles uphill with 2 up,” Adam says.

Kaplan rides the NKD X with a carbon fibre body kit. He wanted the ability to be able to carry his surfboard to the beach so FONZ designed an integrated surf rack system, which later became a popular option for other NKD owners.

Source: MotorbikeWriter.com

‘Too little too late’ on electric vehicles

Three years after lampooning the Labor Party’s policy on electric vehicles, Scomo’s about-face Future Fuels strategy has been hailed as a fizzer that is too little too late.

The Australian Government’s strategy ignores the most important and effective measures to improve electric vehicle uptake, according to the Electric Vehicle Council.

The strategy is to “support and accelerate” the rollout of some charging infrastructure. 

However it does not include subsidies, tax incentives, or sales targets.

The rest of the world has for years been offering tax incentives, free parking and tolls and other incentives to get people to buy EVs.

Meanwhile, electric vehicles such as Harley-Davidson almost $A40,000 LiveWire are simply way too expensive for most people.

Harley-Davidson LiveWire electric motorcycle
MBW tests the LiveWire in the US

We know that there are several other manufacturers such as BMW and Energica that have electric motorcycles and want to export to Australia but are holding off because of the lack of charging infrastructure and incentives.

Electric Vehicle Council spokesman Behyad Jafari says the strategy also fails to deliver minimum fuel efficiency standards, which have been used in the US and Europe for decades. 

Fuel efficiency standards require manufacturers to sell vehicles with a combined level of emissions below a defined benchmark, encouraging the sale of zero-emission vehicles.

“There’s no sugar coating it, Future Fuels is a fizzer,” he says.

“If it contained fuel efficiency standards and rebates it would give Australians more choice. The best and most affordable EVs manufacturers are producing would make their way swiftly on to our market.

“Fuel efficiency standards are the absolute bare minimum of what you would expect in any 21st century plan.

“If Australia continues to be one of the only developed nations without fuel efficiency standards then we will continue to be a dumping ground for the world’s dirtiest vehicles. It’s sadly that simple.

“Future Fuels is certainly an advance on the government’s rhetoric of the last election. The strategy has identified some of the correct benefits and pathways, but it does little to realise them.

“I welcome the progress we’ve seen, but it’s far too little too late. For a strategy that has apparently taken years to write, it leaves much to be desired. Electric vehicles present a monumental opportunity for Australia not only in reducing pollution, but creating an innovative industry in manufacturing, technology, and services.

“The sector will continue to urge the government to take appropriate actions that get more vehicles to Australia and on our roads. It’s a shame this government doesn’t have the same ambition for Australians that the electric vehicle industry does.”

At the last election the Labor Party called for half of all electric vehicles to be electric by 2030. Manufacturers are already setting those goals, but they may still dump old-tech cars and motorcycles here because of our lack of visionary policy, says Gail Broadbent is a PhD candidate who researches social attitudes to electric cars in the UNSW Faculty of Science, and is a former transport policy advisor in the NSW Government and for not-for-profit agencies.

She calls for subsidising EVs and rolling out more chargers.

Source: MotorbikeWriter.com

Electric kids bikes ensure our future

One of the biggest threats to the future of motorcycles is the loss of motocross tracks around Australia due to the noise issue in areas of urban sprawl.

Young MX riders are the next generation of motorcyclists.

Getting kids on motorcycles helps develop their hand-eye coordination, balance and alertness. 

But rapidly expanding urban areas are threatening the existence of motocross parks and in some states, it is now even illegal to operate a motorcycle on private property within 100m of your fence line.

However, the growth of quiet electric motorcycles and balance bikes for children could be the answer to this growing problem. 

Many manufacturers are now introducing these bikes to their range — even Harley-Davidson, although not yet in Australia!

Harley-Davidson electric bicycle balance kids
Harley kids bikes

French motorcycle manufacturer Sherco has had a lot of success here with their Factory electric enduro models which they are now expanding to electric balance bike ranks.

Less than a year after Sherco Australia launched their EB12 and EB16 electric balance bikes, the EB16 Factory now provides a higher-spec alternative.

It costs $999 and comes with a more powerful brushless motor, a rear disc brake, front suspension and styling updates.

They feature a simple twist-and-go throttle, a running time of up to 60 minutes and the option of a non-powered mode for kids to push, balance and coast before activating the brushless motor.

The EB16 Factory is supplied with an Australian 240V household charger, owner’s manual and toolkit. It has a 12-month parts-only warranty.

Sherco EB16 Factory electric balance bike
Sherco EB16 Factory electric balance bike

EB16 Factory

•    A 24V 250W brushless motor (EB16: 170W brush motor);

•    24km/h top speed (EB16: 21km/h top speed);

•    Better acceleration than EB16;

•    Suspension: front fork;

•    Three speed modes (EB16: two modes);

•    Higher handlebar;

•    Rear disc brake;

•    Anodised blue handlebar and seat clamp (quick-release seat clamp);

•    Blue rims with a more aggressive tread pattern;

•    New grips and brake lever; and

•    Sherco Factory decals.

Source: MotorbikeWriter.com

An Aussie real world test of Harley-Davidson’s LiveWire

Harley-Davidson LiveWire Review

Motorcycle Test by Wayne Vickers – Images by Colin Rosewarne

Apparently, some stories just write themselves. On this one, I set out to give LiveWire a real world test, with the goal being to address what I see as the two biggest concerns that most riders have about electric bikes. Namely: range anxiety and the worry about what might happen if you get caught short and end up with a flat battery. As it turns out, I ticked those off on day one…we’ll get back to that in a bit.

At 50k the LiveWire is certainly a premium proposition

The Harley-Davidson LiveWire. Bit of a head scratcher really. Bought to you by the company that’s synonymous with a loud, bad boy image, it stood out on the showroom floor like a.. Well, like a silent, squarish looking matt black, grey and alloy electric bike amongst a bunch of chromed up cruisers. Of all the mainstream manufacturers, I don’t think anyone thought that Harley would be one of the first to market with an EV motorcycle. The marketing department must be going nuts trying to figure out how to fit this very square peg into the brand matrix… (actually turns out that the LiveWire brand is set to be separated from Harley – so that answers that).

The LiveWire and following models are to become their own LiveWire branded vehicles to separate them from the larger Harley-Davidson portfolio

If you haven’t read or heard about it, here it is in a nutshell: Harley’s first electric bike. That motor puts out 105 hp and 116 Nm and as we have all heard plenty of times about electric motors, all of that torque is available right off the bottom. Range is claimed to be 235 kilometres for urban usage with a minimum claimed range of 158 kilometres. It packs serious Showa suspension at both ends and Brembo monoblocs up front – and even though it’s pushing 250 odd kilos, it’ll silently chalk up 100 km/h in close enough to three-seconds dead. So it’s certainly fast enough… Full charge takes around 11-hours on a standard 240v plug, but apparently will get to 80 per cent in 40-minutes on a fast charging station.

Harley-Davidson LiveWire

After a quick walk around of the bike in the showroom, taking me through the basics including the startup process and ride modes I was let loose to tear up the streets. Quietly.

Setting off with close enough to full charge (97 per cent to be exact), I was told that I was likely to get 130 kilometres on the open road or 170 kilometres of urban riding, which is notably less than the claimed range incidentally… Worth noting that the range is higher for urban riding than highway use. It’s the opposite to combustion engines as the electric bike uses regenerative braking to recharge the battery on the go, which is more active around town. So with that knowIedge in mind, I set off on the 110 kilometre journey home. 


Turns out, it rides fairly well. The riding position is described by Harley as sporty. And maybe compared to other bikes in their line-up it might be, but for non-harley riders… it’s really not… it’s actually perfectly comfortable and upright. Of the four modes (road, sport, rain and eco), I left it pretty much in Road mode. Other than a couple of minutes in sport mode to see if it felt much different I figured I’d get used to what most riders would probably run for the most part. The difference between road and sport was noticeable but not dramatic, with Sport having a slightly sharper throttle response and a decent step up in the regenerative braking effect, meaning less need for using the actual brakes. So much so that the bike flicks the brake light on when decelerating under regen. That’s clever.

Wayne enjoyed riding the LiveWire around town

Around town it’s fairly pleasant. Very easy to ride. Tips in ok, rides not at all unlike a conventional bike. And there’s no denying that straight line performance is very solid. Probably more described as ‘deceptive’ than any other word I can think of right now. Because there are no dips in power, or gears to snick through, acceleration is ludicrously linear. The power curve isn’t a curve at all. It’s a line. That translates to acceleration on tap, whenever you want it. But it’s not brutal or harsh or any of that. The throttle is beautifully soft and direct. Yes, it’s weird not to have a soundtrack, I personally think it does take away part of the experience – and I was more wary of that amongst traffic as I normally rely on a bit of exhaust note to help inform drivers that I’m there. So you’d just have to keep that in mind and ride even more defensively. 

Another little aside – the traction control really doesn’t work on wet grass…as in, at all. As I found out while positioning it for some pics, once traction was lost (unintentionally fwiw) it very quickly accelerated the rear beyond where I expected it to and it threw mud positively bloody everywhere. You can probably see the aftermath of that in some of the pics. Which then got me wondering if the traction control worked from standstill at all… Ummm, not really is the answer. A little impromptu burnout got very smokey, very quickly. Now I’m not normally a burnout kinda guy, but it turns out that electric motors are really, really, stupidly good at burnouts. So that’s a thing. Makes sense when you think about it. No gears to worry about, just twist, smoke and giggle. Tyre bill might get a bit expensive though.

This was meant to be a little smoky but a lot of smoke happened very quickly!

Suspension, chassis and brakes are all ok. Steering is fairly slow and heavy and the suspension seemed overly firm as well – borderline harsh. And while there wasn’t anything specific I can point to – as a whole it didn’t really seem to come together for me. Bumps and surface changes are all felt more than they should be. The more I rode it the more it seemed at odds with what the bike is and is not. It’s not a sports bike. Doesn’t handle like one, nor have the range to make it to your favourite twisties and back… but more on that in a bit. So I dunno why it needs to be that firm.

The other call out worth mentioning here is that I felt it was a little resistant to tip in past say… 30 degrees? Not really noticeable around town, but when you actually wanted to get up it, it didn’t feel in its element. To the point where it felt like instead of being comfortable on its side, it was often wanting to sit up even on a constant throttle. I wonder if that’s something to do with gyroscopic forces of the electric motor spinning away? Not sure. But it didn’t feel like a natural corner carver.

Cornering is not its natural forte

One little ‘not so clever’ design element I came across was the indicator switches. Minor I know. While the left indicator is in the standard position on the left cluster the right indicator is on the right cluster… so you often have to adjust the position of your throttle hand in order to put the right hand indicator on. And almost every time I used the indicator I found it impacting the throttle. Considering this bike has no clutch, so your left hand is doing nothing most of the time anyway, I don’t understand why you’d do this. Keep your throttle hand free to focus on the throttle please.

I was told at the dealer to keep an eye on the speed on the dash, as it can be easy to lose track of what speed you’re doing. I didn’t find it to be much of an issue in traffic, but certainly without a prominent engine noise to subconsciously use as a reference, there was a couple of times I crept past what I thought I was doing out on the highway. Cruise control took care of that while I got used to it.

Harley-Davidson LiveWire

Another thing to note – I found the charger and key fob, both stored under the seat would rattle a bit on bumps and corrugations (which were felt pretty badly). I’d throw a cloth or something in there to stop it from moving about, but it probably should have some foam or something from the factory.

Once out of town, I noticed at about the half way to home mark that the projected range had dropped from 170 kilometres to about 90. No drama, only about 60 km to go, should be fine Wayno. It’s supposed to get 130…

Then once the battery dipped below the 25 per cent mark the expected range started taking a nose dive and doubt started creeping in. It was at about the 30 km from home mark, well after I’d passed the last quick charging point in Geelong, that I started to sweat on the range. I buttoned right off. Back to 80 km/h. It seemed to help. For a bit. Then I backed off further. 


I’m not going to make it.

Roughly six kilometres out from home I hit zero charge on the dash. But it kept going. A glimmer of hope! They’ve engineered a bit of extra into this like a reserve I thought. But that joy was short lived. About four kilometres to go it started cutting power even below the 40 km/h I was then sitting on. Low battery warnings had been flashing on the dash for a while now, but they were joined by a little turtle icon. I was officially in limp mode. At eight kilometres per hour. Wonder how long that’ll get me?

Turns out that Wayne didn’t have much charge in him either…

Turns out only about another kilometre. Then I was off the bike pushing with the slightest smidgen of assistance. Incidentally, it turns out my ‘pushing a motorbike speed’ is five kilometres per hour. I was within three kilometres of home. Then the hill came. I just wanted to get to the top of the hill. I think I can I think I ca.. And then everything shut down. 

Computer says no…

Various colourful words were used. 

I was proper cooked. That last two-and-a-half-kays pushing 250 kegs took a while. My wife was lovely enough to come down and help with the last kilometre. After she laughed and took some pics of my sweaty, red melon.  

So, no. It won’t get you the claimed minimum distance. I got just under 108 kilometres on 97 per cent charge. 

But that was only the start of the fun.

Once home, I pulled out the charger, plugged it in, whacked it in the top of the ‘tank’, to beginning the recharge. Giddy up. Or so I thought. I went back an hour later to check and it showed no change with the dash still blank. 


Help me Google-wan-kenobi, you’re my only hope. Google dutifully informed me that the little light on the charger was supposed be pulsing when it’s charging. Mine was lit up solid. Hmm.. Further googling told me that there’s a secondary 12v battery that runs the low voltage electrics and manages the cooling system while the ‘main’ battery charges. And if that 12v one goes flat, the whole thing won’t accept charge.


So a fully flat battery will leave you stranded and unable to charge via the normal plug. Who signed off on that as an acceptable system design? 

Phone calls to the dealer – who were terrific for what it’s worth – confirmed that the secondary 12v battery would be the issue. It would require a lithium specific charger to be plugged into the secondary battery. But even that might not work as it might have gone into a safety shutdown mode. Running it fully flat might have even cooked the battery altogether… Brilliant.

The battery itself was easy enough to locate and get onto a charger. But no, it wasn’t playing along. Ergh. The workshop boys mentioned that they’d try to jimmy another battery onto it to trick it into accepting charge. So I got to work with my best bush mechanic skills. Paralleled another spare 12v battery I had in the shed and the dash came on! And then went off. Not enough juice. 

So I charged up that spare (third) battery and put it back on as parallel and tried again. Still no joy. The dash would light up, but it wasn’t tripping the cooling system on, which it needed to do, to allow the main battery to charge. ‘I wonder what would happen if I put the charger on that third parallel battery while it’s all connected up’ says I, slightly concerned about the fact that lithium batteries can do funny things like trip into runaway heat cycles, catch on fire and burn a hole in your concrete floor. Oh well. In for a penny, in for a pound. Let’s give it a go. Hooked it all up, which looked like the nastiest hodge podge you’ve ever seen, and lo and behold.. The cooling system finally kicked into gear after a few minutes of false starts and a few jiggles of the main plug and toggling of switches. 

We were in business. It was charging. I had a battery charger connected to a spare 12v battery, connected to the onboard 12v battery so that the low power system could run the cooling – which would then allow the main charger to charge the main battery. Simples! 

Wayne had to get creative in order for the LiveWire to start charging

What a nightmare. 

The lesson here would be – either don’t let it run fully flat if you have one… or – if you’re trying to replace a system where, when you run out of juice you just put more in and turn the key, then you need to make the new system just as easy. Especially when ‘just putting more in’ can take 11 hours.

Takes a bit longer than tipping some fuel into a tank…

Now I don’t doubt that electric bikes will be part of our future. I suspect they’ll probably be the saviour of dirt bike riding actually, with the absence of noise allowing dirt bike parks near built up areas. The Livewire is ok, in and of itself. It goes well enough. But range continues to be a serious road block and it turns out that you won’t always get the claimed minimum. It quite literally falls short.

One ride into Torquay for lunch and back on sport mode (36 km return, less than 40 mins riding in total), sucked 40 per cent of the juice which equated to a five-hour recharge to full. 

Harley-Davidson LiveWire

So! Who’s it for? Well. I’d be hesitant to plan any weekend rides longer than 100 kilometres based on what I’ve seen, so that’s somewhat limiting. Sure, long trips can be done if you plan them out according to charging stations and are willing to wait at least 40 minutes once you get access to that quick charger. But are the charging stations where we actually want to ride? Well no.. they mostly aren’t. Not yet. Not for me anyway.

So that leaves it to folks living in town (which should also extend that safe minimum range a little further), who might be commuting less than 60 km to work and then home where they can whack it on charge overnight. Those who might like a quick little run over to a mates house, or to pop down to their favourite cafe for a coffee and some smashed avo. And those people have to be willing to drop 50 big ones on a bike with said limitations. If that’s you, and you’re an early adopter type person – definitely check it out. Certainly the performance of the motor shows the potential of things to come.

For me personally, I’d need the range to be at least double what it currently is. I can’t even get to my office from home (110 km), let alone there and back…

Harley-Davidson LiveWire

Harley-Davidson LiveWire

Why I like it
  • On road performance is more than adequate, it goes bloody well
  • Incredibly linear power delivery is remarkable
  • Nice enough manners around town, easy to ride.
  • Turns out it makes a pretty mad burnout machine if that’s your thing!
I’d like it even more if…
  • Being able to charge the system when flat might be a nice touch… At the very least, if it’s a known limitation, put an easily accessible charge plug for the secondary 12v battery.
  • Range is a show stopper. Literally. <110kms from full for me on a mix of urban and highway!
  • Steering and suspension unnecessarily firm – would benefit from being more accommodating
Harley-Davidson LiveWire

Harley-Davidson LiveWire Specifications




86 ft-lb
RPM max 15,000
Type Internal Permanent Magnet Synchronous Motor with Water Jacket cooling
Motor Name Revelation®
Inverter type IGBT
Pole Count 6
Power (hp/kW) 105 HP (78kW)
Diameter 6.69 in. (170 mm)
Stack Length 3.94 in. (100 mm)



Lithium Ion
Capacity 15.5kWh total, 13.6kWh min usable


Charge Plug Type

SAE J1772 Combo Inlet (CCS1) / IEC 62196 Combo Inlet (CCS2)
On-board charger, charge rate 1400 W
AC wall charging time (not verified) Target – Full charge in 12.5 hrs 
– Capable of 12.6 miles/hour charge rate (MIC city cycle)
DC fast charging time (not verified) Target – Full charge in 1.0 hr 
– Capable of 192 miles/hour charge rate (MIC city cycle)
DC to DC conversion 450W at 14.2V


MIC City

146 mi (235 km)
Highway (70 mph sustained) 70 mi (113 km)
Combined 95 mi (152 km)
WMTC (World Motorcycle Test Cycle) 98 mi (158 km)


Hands-free Mobile Phone – via Bluetooth

Voice Recognition Languages: Phone functions only Via paired iOS or Android device
Voice Recognition Languages: Tuner/Media/ Navigation Via paired iOS or Android device
Bluetooth Phone/media supported
Telematics Standard



84.1 in. (2,135 mm)
Overall Width 32.7 in. (830 mm)
Overall Height 42.5 in. (1,080 mm)
Seat Height, Laden / Unladen 30 in. (761 mm) / 30.7 in. (780 mm)
Ground Clearance 5.1 in. (130 mm)
Rake (steering head) 24.5 deg
Trail 4.3 in. (108 mm)
Wheelbase 58.7 in. (1,490 mm)
Tires, Type Michelin® Scorcher® “Sport”
Tires Scorcher® “Sport”
Tires, Front Specification 120/70 ZR17 58W
Tires, Rear Specification 180/55 ZR17 73W
Transmission Capacity 0.34 qt (0.32 L)
Coolant Capacity 0.8 qt. (0.72 L)
Weight, As Shipped 549 lb. (249 kg)
Weight, In Running Order 549 lb. (249 kg)
Gross Vehicle Weight Rating 949 lb. (430 kg)
Gross Axle Weight Rating, Front 434 lb. (197 kg)
Gross Axle Weight Rating, Rear 580 lb. (263 kg)


Primary Drive (*Cert)

Spiral bevel gear , 55/17 ratio
Final Drive (*Cert) Belt, 3/1 ratio
Transmission Single Speed
Gear Ratios (overall) 1st (*Cert) (X.XXX) 10


Aluminum cast
Swingarm Aluminum cast
Front Fork SHOWA 43 mm Inverted Separate Function Forks – Big Piston (SFF-BP®), fully adjustable
Rear Shocks SHOWA Balance Free Rear Cushion Lite (BFRC-lite®), fully adjustable
Wheels, Type Black, Split 5-Spoke Cast Aluminum
Wheels, Front Dia. / Width 17 in. (432 mm) / 3.5 in. (89 mm)
Wheels, Rear Dia. / Width 17 in. (432 mm) / 5.5 in. (140 mm)
Brakes, Caliper Type Dual 4-piston monoblock radial mount front, dual-piston rear
Brakes, Rotor Type Dual floating rotors (front), floating rotor (rear)
Brakes, Front Diameter / Thickness 11.8 in. (300 mm) / 0.2 in. (5 mm)
Brakes, Rear Diameter / Thickness 10.2 in. (260 mm) / 0.2 in. (5 mm)
Brakes, Anti-Lock Braking System (ABS) Standard
Suspension Travel, Front / Rear 4.5 in. (115 mm) / 4.5 in. (115 mm)


Lean Angle Testing Method

Lean Angle, Right / Left (deg) 45 / 45


Lithium Ion, 12.8V , 24 Wh, 120 A
Charging Onboard DC to DC conversion
Lights (as per country regulation), Headlamp All LED, low beam, high beam and signature position lamp
Lights (as per country regulation), Tail/Stop LED with light pipe tail
Lights (as per country regulation), Front Signal Lights LED
Lights (as per country regulation), Indicator Lamps High beam, turn signals, ABS, traction control, EV fault
Lights, Rear Turn Signals LED, Amber
Gauges 4.3” WQVGA 480×272 TFT Color Display with Ambient Light Sensor, 9 warning lights, Real Time Clock and Integrated Bluetooth Connectivity to a Smartphone to provide infotainment features including turn-by-turn navigation, telephone, music, and voice recogni
Electric Power Outlet USB C-type; output 5V at 3A
Price $49,995 Ride Away

Source: MCNews.com.au

New BMW CE 04 electromobility scooter from $20,350



While the likes of Ducati and MV Agusta are releasing news of E-Bike partnerships and products more akin to bicycles, a few hours further north the Germans are readying to release a new EV motorcycle platform in the first-quarter of 2022 when the new BMW CE 04 arrives to spearhead BMW’s electromobility strategy for the urban environment.  The new EV scooter will be priced from $20,350 +ORC.


The CE 04 is a production ready model that has its origins in the BMW Motorrad Concept Link originally showcased in 2017 followed by the Definition CE 04 prototype first unveiled in 2020.


The newest member of BMW’s zero emission fleet features electric drive, modern futuristic design and innovative connectivity solutions.


A maximum output of 31 kW (42 hp) propels the CE 04 from 0 to 50 km/h in 2.6-seconds. A reduced output version will be available in some markets where the L3e-A1 vehicle class attracts reduced licencing requirements.  Both versions will be suitable for highway use with a maximum speed of 120 km/h. 


The new BMW CE 04 has a battery cell capacity of 60.6 Ah (8.9 kWh), providing a range of 130 kilometres (reduced output version: 100 km).


The new BMW CE 04 has a permanent magnet electric motor mounted in the frame between the battery and the rear wheel, as used in a similar form in BMW cars such as the 225xe Active Tourer.


The lithium-ion battery is charged using the integrated charging device either at a regular household socket, a wallbox or a public charging station. When the battery is completely flat, charging time ideally lasts 4 hours and 20 minutes. With the quick charger available as an optional extra with an output of up to 6.9 kW (2.3 kW is the standard level), charging time is reduced to just 1 hour and 40 minutes when the battery is completely flat. If the battery level is only 20 per cent and the battery is charged to 80 per cent, the charging time is reduced to just 45 minutes with the optional quick charger. Depending on the market, the standard charging cable with a charging capacity of 2.3 kW comes as standard with the BMW CE 04.

In the same way as with BMW automobiles, BMW Charging solutions are also available for the BMW CE 04 for charging at home, on the road and at work.

A traction control system is available on the new BMW CE 04 and is comparable to the Automatic Stability Control in BMW motorcycles with combustion engines. ASC limits engine torque in relation to rear wheel slip. Dynamic Traction Control (DTC), available as an optional extra, provides even greater riding safety. DTC enables even more safe acceleration, especially in banking position.


The new BMW CE 04 features the three riding modes “ECO”, “Rain” and “Road” as standard. The additional “Dynamic” riding mode is also available as an ex works option, enabling the scooter to accelerate at an even swifter pace. Different braking energy regeneration levels are present dependent on the riding mode that is selected.

The main frame is a tubular steel construction. The front wheel is controlled by a telescopic fork with a slider tube diameter of 35 mm. Rear wheel control consists of a single-sided swing arm. At the rear, suspension and damping are performed by a directly controlled, fully covered spring strut. The new BMW CE 04 is fitted with generously sized tyres, with 120/70 R15 67H at the front and 160/60 R15 56H at the rear.


At the front, a twin disc brake ensures secure deceleration, supported by a single-disc system at the rear. In addition, BMW Motorrad ABS ensures a high level of active safety. ABS Pro, available as an optional extra, goes even further: By means of a banking sensor, ABS Pro also controls braking on bends, thereby offering the greatest possible safety.


The new BMW CE 04 comes fitted as standard with a 10.25-inch TFT colour screen with integrated map navigation and connectivity. The screen makes it possible to display a navigation map within the instrument cluster.

As you would expect LED lighting is employed across the machine and an adaptive turning light Headlight Pro will be available as an ex works option. 


The modern surface finish is in a striking Light White, complemented by matt black sections in the front and side areas as well as the “floating” seat. The rims feature a disc-wheel look. The new BMW CE 04 in Avantgarde Style (ex works option) appears in Magellan Grey metallic is supplemented with a black/orange seat, an orange wind deflector and various graphics.


BMW CE 04: $20,350* Standard specification

  • Liquid-cooled permanent magnet electric motor
  • 30 kW (42 hp) output
  • 62 Nm torque
  • 8.9 kWh air-cooled lithium ion high voltage battery
  • 2.3 kWh charger
  • Tooth-belt driven gearbox (total gear ratio: 10.5)
  • Dynamic Package (Headlight Pro, Adaptive Headlight, Daytime Riding Light, Riding Modes Pro, ABS Pro)
  • Comfort Package (Heated Grips and Backrest Comfort Seat)
  • Seat Heating
  • Tyre Pressure Control
  • Centre Stand
  • LED indicators
  • LED headlight and taillight
  • 10.25-inch TFT display
  • Ventilated mobile phone charging compartment
  • USB-C charging port
  • Front and side storage compartments
  • Light White paint


  • Backrest Comfort Seat II: No cost option (note: recommended for riders above 190cm tall)
  • Windshield High: $140
  • Anti-theft alarm system: $375
  • 30A Quick Charger: $1,330

BMW CE 04 Avantgarde: $20,690*

Includes all standard specification from the CE 04 and adds the following:

  • Windshield High
  • Magellan Grey Metallic paint
  • Options
  • Backrest Comfort Seat II: No cost option (note: recommended for riders above 190cm tall)
  • Anti-theft alarm system: $375
  • 30A Quick Charger: $1,330

*Recommended Retail Pricing is shown and includes GST, but excludes on-road costs. Customers are advised to contact their nearest BMW Motorrad dealer for all pricing enquiries.


Source: MCNews.com.au