Tag Archives: livewire

RECALL: Harley-Davidson LiveWire Shutting Down While Riding

The ever-growing list of 2020 motorcycle recalls continues to expand with another addition to the hit-list; Harley Davison’s 2020 LiveWire is unexpectedly shutting down for some riders mid-ride and in some cases not allowing for the driver to turn the vehicle back on after initial shut-off.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration states that only 1% of the ~1000 bikes being recalled may be affected by the issue, so there is no reason to panic but it’s still better to be safe than sorry.

The issue apparently comes from the On-Board Charging software that causes the powertrain to turn off. I’m not sure if that issue will really cause *a complete* shut down of the bike with all other features shutting off, but other sources are reporting that ABS, TC, and other assists can indeed cut out as well.

This is not good news for anyone who rides their bikes in the evening or in low light, as there is potential for ABS, traction control, and your headlight to shut off mid-ride which could cause serious injury or even death.

Between the 22nd and 29th of October, 2020 LiveWire owners will be notified by mail regarding the recall and will be urged to take their motorcycles to their local H-D dealership to have the software updated for free.

Where I live, there is currently 10cm of snow on the ground, so if are like me and cannot arrange transportation of your bike to the dealership Harley-Davidson is happy to pick it up and return it back to your house absolutely free of charge.

If you are a 2020 H-D LiveWire owner it would be in your best interest to give the Harley-Davidson customer support line a ring and provide them with your VIN so they can check to see if you perhaps have one of the affected versions of the bike.

Source: MotorbikeWriter.com

Harley’s electric LiveWire available in September

Harley-Davidson’s electric LiveWire has arrived in Australia for testing ahead of its media launch in August and market release in early September.

The Tesla Model 3 Australia Facebook Group has published the above photo of a LiveWire being charged in Australia.

Harley-Davidson Australia/New Zealand marketing guru Keith Waddell confirms the photo was taken “while we were testing a range of public charge stations with a pre-production unit”.

September release

Harley-Davidson LiveWire electric motorcycleHarley LiveWire

“A press release on the ANZ release is due this week however I can confirm that we will release in early September.

“We are looking to have an ANZ media launch closer to the end of August and are watching the COVID restrictions and related border closures.”

While Keith would not releaser the price of the LiveWire, it starts at $US29,799 (about $A42,900 and $NZ45,900 at current exchange rates) in the USA.

That would make it more expensive than all but the Harley CVO and Trike ranges, but even more expensive than the feature-laden Ultra Limited tourer at $A41,495 ride away.

Harley-Davidson Ultra Limited cure brain cancerHarley-Davidson Ultra Limited

Electrifying LiveWire

I rode the LiveWire last year in Portland, Oregon, at the world media launch.

Check my test ride here.

livewire mother earth NAWAMBW rides the LiveWire in Portland, Orgeon

It will be available in vivid black, orange fuse and yellow fuse.

The bike’s 15.5 kWh battery is capable of up to 235km of city range, 113km of highway range and 152km of combined conditions on a single charge.

LiveWire has an on-board level 1 240V charger which will take about about 12.5 hours from flat to reach full capacity at a cost of less than $4.

If you can find a Level 3 DC fast charger (CCS2), it will charge to 80 in 40 minutes, or full in an hour.

Harley-Davidson LiveWire tech specs

  • Price: $US29,799 (about $A42,900, $NZ45,900)
  • Colours: Orange, lime and black
  • Battery warranty: five-year, unlimited-km
  • Motor: H-D Revelation permanent-magnet, water-cooled electric motor
  • Power: 78kW (105hp)
  • Instant torque: 116Nm (86ft lbs)
  • Battery: Air-cooled 15.5kWh high-voltage lithium-ion battery (Rechargeable Energy Storage System)
  • Transmission: motor output shaft, 9.71:1 gear reduction, belt drive
  • Acceleration: 0 -100km/h 3 seconds; 100-130km/h 1.9 seconds
  • Top speed: 177km/h
  • Range: 235km (city), 152km (combined stop-and-go and highway range using MIC City and MIC Combined tests), 158km (World Motorcycle Test Cycle)
    Harley-Davidson electric LIveWire paradeCharging points on the LIveWire are under the “fuel” cap.
  • Charging: 120/240-volt outlet 20km (13 miles) per hour of charging; DC Fast Charge (DCFC) 0-80% in 40 minutes or 100% in 60 minutes
  • Weight: 210kg
  • Suspension (rear): fully adjustable Showa Balanced Free Rear Cushion-lite mono-shock
  • Suspension (front); Showa Separate Function Fork-Big Piston
    Sporty Harley-Davidson electric LiveWireFully adjustable Showa rear shock
  • Brakes: Dual Brembo Monoblock calipers, 300mm rotors
    Tyres: H-D/Michelin Scorcher (180mm rear and 120mm front)
  • Rider aids: Reflex Defensive Rider Systems (RDRS), Cornering Enhanced Anti-lock Braking System (C-ABS), Cornering Enhanced Traction Control System (C-TCS) and Drag-Torque Slip Control System (DSCS)
  • Technology: 4.3” colour TFT touchscreen, Daymaker LED headlamp, LED lighting, H-D Connect service connectivity and Harley- Davidson App
  • Riding modes: Seven selectable Ride Modes electronically control motor performance and level of RDRS intervention
  • Accessories: dual seat and tail, speed screen blade, decorative trim, hand and foot controls and cover with charging cord port

Sporty Harley-Davidson electric LiveWireTouchscreen instruments

More tech specs

2020 Harley-Davidson LiveWire

Dimensions

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)

4.3 in. (108 mm)

58.7 in. (1,490 mm)

Tires, Type

Michelin® Scorcher® “Sport”

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)

Drivetrain

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)

Aluminum cast

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)

Suspension Travel, Front / Rear

4.5 in. (115 mm) / 4.5 in. (115 mm)

Performance

Lean Angle Testing Method

Lean Angle, Right / Left (deg)

Lithium Ion, 12.8V , 24 Wh, 120 A

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

Lights (as per country regulation), Indicator Lamps

High beam, turn signals, ABS, traction control, EV fault

Lights, Rear Turn Signals

LED, Amber

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 recognition.

Electric Power Outlet

USB C-type; output 5V at 3A

EV Specific Content: Motor

116Nm (86ft-lb)

Internal Permanent Magnet Synchronous Motor with Water Jacket cooling

Motor Name

Revelation®

Inverter type

Pole Count

Power (hp/kW)

105HP (78kW)

6.69 in. (170 mm)

Stack Length

3.94 in. (100 mm)

EV Specific Content: RESS

Lithium Ion

15.5kWh total, 13.6kWh min usable

EV Specific Content: Charging

Charge Plug Type

SAE J1772 Combo Inlet (CCS1) / IEC 62196 Combo Inlet (CCS2)

On-board charger, charge rate

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

EV Specific Content: Range

146 mi (235 km)

Highway (70 mph sustained)

70 mi (113 km)

95 mi (152 km)

WMTC (World Motorcycle Test Cycle)

98 mi (158 km)

Infotainment

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

USB Type-C

Phone/media supported

Telematics

Source: MotorbikeWriter.com

Electric Harley covers 1723km in one day

A Swiss rider has just ridden a Harley-Davidson LiveWire 1723km across four nations in one day using Level 3 DC fast chargers.

Sounds good, but we did some calculations and reckon he would have spent six hours recharging!

Rider Michel von Tell, aged 39, is a journalist and comedian described as the Euro version of US comedian Bill Burr … we don’t know him either. Anyway, he’s apparently a bit of a celebrity and his YouTube channel has millions of followers. 

His feat shattered the previous record of 1134.3km in one day set in 2018 by German Remo Klawitter on a Zero electric motorcycle fitted with an optional Charge Tank with Level 2 charging.

Calculations for one day record

Harley-Davidson LiveWire electric motorcycle(All images are of MBW riding the LiveWire at the world launch in 2019)

Harley claims the bike has city range of up to 235km and 152km of highway range. We tested that on the launch last year and it appears about right.

They also say that the bike takes 30 minutes to charge to 80% capacity and 40 minutes to fully charge on a Level 3 DC fast charger.

Michel says he usually only stopped for 25 minutes at a time, but let’s be generous and say that was enough for an 80% charge.

So we calculate that to cover 1723km in 24 hours (actually 23 hours and 48 minutes), Michel needed to keep an average speed of about 70km/h.

Recharging

Harley-Davidson LiveWire electric motorcycle electric highwaysLiveWire on a DC fast charger

We imagine he mainly did highway riding to attain that average speed.

That means recharging every 121km as that’s 80% of 152km.

So he would have had to recharge about 14 times.

If he recharged for 25 minutes at a time, he spent almost six hours recharging.

So he was only travelling for 18 hours, which means his average speed would have had to be more like 95km/h.Harley-Davidson LiveWire electric motorcycle

At that rate, he would cover 121km in about 90 minutes.

So he rode for 90 minutes, then sat around for 25 minutes to recharge.

And that’s using Level 3 DC fast chargers which are not in abundant supply outside Europe and California!

It’s really not a great advertisement for electric motorcycles.

Michel didn’t pay the hefty fee to Guinness World Records to validate his claimed record, but does have signed witness statements.Harley-Davidson LiveWire electric motorcycle

The LiveWire was launched in northern hemisphere in September at $US30,000 and is expected to be launched in Australia late this year.

At current low exchange rates that could mean it might cost more than $A50,000.

Source: MotorbikeWriter.com

Enevate drops electric bike hurdle

Electric motorcycles could soon recharge to 75% capacity in as little as five minutes, according to Californian battery company, Enevate.

Company spokesman Bill Blanning tells us they are “talking to motorcycle and scooter makers worldwide” about their Li-ion batteries that use silicon-dominant anodes. 

“We are not ready to disclose that just yet. Stay tuned,” he says … and we will!

“Electric motorcycles can do very fast charging at EV DC fast-charging stations.

“We believe that cooling systems would need to be beefed up and feasible for extreme fast charging of motorcycles while parked.”

Enevate claims

The Californian company has more than 200 patents worldwide and licences its products to many automotive manufacturers.

Here are their claims about their battery:

  • 30% more range, higher energy density;
  • >100% better low temperature performance;
  • Safer battery with no lithium plating.
  • Enables lower cost and affordable EVs
  • 10-times faster charging; and
  • 5-minute Extreme Fast Charge.

The best way to show their charging and range claims in action is in this video using two slot cars.

Given the claimed 30% increased range, in Harley-Davidson’ electric LiveWire it would equate to range of more than 300km in the city and almost 200km on the highway.

Low temperature performance means you would be less likely to get stranded if riding up in the alps.

While Enevate doesn’t give any secrets away about how it is made, the fact that it uses less lithium is another safety, economic, environmental and humanitarian benefit.

Bill explains: “Li-ion cell safety issues are typically caused by contamination or lithium-plating.  For today’s conventional graphite Li-ion cells available, lithium plating typically happens at very high charge rates and/or charging at low temperatures.  Enevate’s technology does not have any lithium plating and can be safer than conventional graphite cells.”Enevate batteries

The company says the size and expense of batteries is a hurdle to widespread adoption of electric vehicles.

It’s also a particular hindrance to motorcycles which weigh less and usually cost a lot less than cars.

However, we have seen electric motorcycles at ridiculous prices. For example, the LiveWire costs almost $US30,000 in the US and could cost more than $A40,000 when it is launched here late this year.

Enevate say their batteries have much higher energy density which means they can be smaller and therefore a lower cost component of the whole vehicle cost.

Their claim that recharging will be 10 times faster means that electric motorcycles such as the LiveWire that take all night to recharge from a standard AC output could recharge in less than an hour.

Harley-Davidson LiveWire electric motorcycleHarley-Davidson's electric LiveWire short circuitLIveWires on DC fast chargers

If the rider has access to a DC fast charger, that time can drop to about five minutes with the Enevate battery which compares with Harley’s claim of 30 minutes for the LIveWire.

The big hurdle in Australia is our lack of such infrastructure, but it is gradually being installed across the nation’s highways.

https://motorbikewriter.com/solutions-electric-vehicle-charging/

Enevate isn’t the only company claiming faster recharge times.

Canadian company GBatteries are making the same claim with their batteries that use a special micro-pulse technology.

https://motorbikewriter.com/recharge-electric-motorbike-5-minutes/

Source: MotorbikeWriter.com

Harley focus on new models as sales slide

As expected, Harley-Davidson sales are down for the fifth year, but they plan to focus on Asia, small-capacity bikes, electric bicycles and bringing new models to market faster.

That could include the electric flat tracker (pictured above) which is an exciting update on the previous concept sketch.

Harley plans adventure, streetfighters and electric bicycles first last small resultsFirst electric Harley sketch

Retail sales

Bottom line is global retail sales were down 1.4% with a 3.1% drop in the US and slight 0.5% increase in international markets. The share price dropped 3% after the overnight announcement.

The most promising sales result was a 2.7% rise in Asia/Pacific which includes Australia, ASEAN countries and Japan.

However, Australia isn’t contributing to that result with sales down 7.9%.

By comparison, European sales were down 3%, Latin America -3.9% and Canada -7.7%.

The biggest problem is the US domestic market which has dropped in 20 of the past 21 quarters since 2014.

2019 Variance
Worldwide 218,273 -4.3%
US 125,960 -5.2%
International 92,313 -3%
Australia 6462 -7.9%

The bulk of Harley’s sales are touring bikes which dropped 2.1% to 42.5% of all sales.

Cruisers (Softail, CVO and LiveWire) represent 35.6% of Harley sales, up 1.3%, while Street/Sportster is 21.3% and up 0.8%.

However, they don’t specify how many electric LiveWire bikes they’ve sold.

Harley-Davidson LiveWire electric motorcycleMBW tests the LiveWire in the US

On the same day, Polaris Industries announced that Indian Motorcycle sales were up 7%.

They don’t provide exact sales figures, but Chairman and CEO Scott Wine says motorcycle revenue was up 37% to $119.48m.

New models

Harley-Davidson Revolution Max platform Bronx StreetfighterBronx Streetfighter

Harley is upbeat about 2020 with new models such as the Pan America adventure bike, the “midweight” Bronx Streetfighter, small-capacity bikes made in China for the Asian market and even electric bicycles.

On the strength of these new models, revenue is planned to increase from $US4.53b to $US4.66b in 2020.

Part of that could be the reduction in impact of Trump’s tariff war, down this year to $US30m from $US97.9 million last year. Harley has now built a factory in Thailand to side-step tariffs and keep a lid on prices in Europe.

There are no plans yet to import Thai-made bikes to Australia.

President and CEO Matt Levatich says “transformed product development” is allowing them to bring new models such as the Pan America and Bronx to market 30% faster than before.

Harley-Davidson Revolution Max platform Pan America 1250Pan America

These new models will be released in September, so their impact will not be felt until 2021.

Matt says the new products also include “electric products, motorcycles in new segments and sizes, and even e-bicycles”.

rude boy bicyclesHarley e-bikes

But they haven’t forgotten their core customer, increasing their domestic share in the touring and cruiser segments.

“We’re also leading the electrification of motorcycles with class-leading products developed in conjunction with our new team and our EV development centre, LiveWire labs in Silicon Valley,” Matt says.

Interestingly, American compatriot Indian Motorcycle also says it gained market share, driven by the launch of the Challenger bagger a couple of months ago and the FTR 1200 street tracker.

If both American companies are increasing their domestic share, Japanese and European tourers and cruisers must be losing out.

Asian menu

Harley-Davidson HD350Harley-Davidson HD350

Matt is pinning hopes on Asian markets through their collaboration with QJ in China to build small-capacity bikes.

Senior Vice President and Chief Financial Officer John Olin says this year they will not only launch a 350cc bike in China, but also the Bronx and electric bicycles.

China is the second biggest powered two-wheeler market in the world next to India, representing 24.9% of global motorcycle and scooter sales and increasing 5% last year to 16.4 million sales.

Harley-Davidson is targeting 50% of revenue to come from overseas markets by 2027.

New riders

Diverse Harly-Davidson riders women youthHarley’s Riding Academy

Matt was effusive about the increase of 55,000 new riders in the US last year through their riding academy, compared with a net gain of 26,000 in 2018.

However, while they say 527,000 new riders last year joined the brand, that means 472,000 left Harley. 

Matt says their research shows they need to “bring people in, build their confidence and capability, and keep them riding through the critical first years of their riding journey”.

“We are testing and developing specific programs and actions right now that nurture new riders and inspire and develop all riders to continue riding with us,” he says.

Source: MotorbikeWriter.com

Harley-Davidson doom or boom?

Critics have been lining up to foretell doom for Harley-Davidson for both being out of date with their pushrod ploughs yet too advanced with their expensive new electric bike.

But long-time Harley-Davidson expert Phil Heath (career bio at the end of the article) reckons the doom sayers have got it wrong and Harley is destined to boom in the years ahead.

We love a bit of controversy, so we present his case and invite you to leave your comments in the usual place. Doom or boom?

Harley set to grow

By Phil Heath

For a few years now, worldwide sales for Harley-Davidson have deflated and demand from the younger generations has generally not materialised. It seems that under their banner of “More Roads to Harley-Davidson”, the Motor Company has been launching trial balloons to find ones that might stay aloft.    

I’m sure, however, that there is a modernisation master-plan. It’s pretty clear, and will be extremely successful. Based on the slowing and eventual end of sales to baby boomers, which were just about “guaranteed” sales each year, the search for additional buyer groups is actually proceeding well.

Harley Street 500 uni courseMBW on the Harley Street 500

Beginning with the 2015 launch of the Street 500, learner and small bike buyers have an excellent bike to buy. The huge sales success of the Street is already bringing the Harley brand into the age-groups needed. And put a Vance & Hines slip-on muffler on to the Street and the “little” bike sounds unbelievably good!

The axing of the V-Rod and Dyna platforms caused plenty of online and in-store negative comment at the time, but that mostly blew over quickly. The reality is that with the launch of the Milwaukee 8 engine in 2017 Touring models, and the all-new 2018 Softails, the younger-than-boomer but still “traditional” Harley buyer can choose from the best Cruisers and Tourers in the world.

Because the Street, Softail, and Touring platforms are relatively new, the Motor Company has learners, restricted licence riders, and traditional buyers very well covered for a long time.

The next targets are widespread, and the success of the Street line shows how Harley can successfully grasp a new (for the MoCo) market segment. So who will be brave enough to say that the Livewire, Pan America, Bronx and its related models previewed, and all those prototype small electric vehicles, are going to fail?

I know that the keyboard experts are already saying H-D’s “lost the plot”, but I’m so old I can remember when people hated the FXR because it was rubber-mounted and had a “Japanese” looking frame. I remember people hated belt drive, hated electronic ignition, the cries of “ugly…what were they thinking” about the beautiful Deuce, and people REALLY hated the V-Rod! Only two years ago the keyboarders were never buying another Harley because some of the Softail fuel tanks were smaller, or because there are no more Dynas, or because the Fat Boy headlight surround was ugly.

Doom or boom?

Change is essential, and so is accepting change. New Zealand is an example of how progressive H-D dealers are embracing the new models, reaching out to younger buyers, and taking motorcycling and the Harley brand forward.

Comparing the NZ year-end totals from 2013 and 2018 (2019 figures not available yet) sales of all new motorcycles increased 36.1%, H-D sales increased 42.2%, and market share is 13.7%.

In Australia, despite great dealers trying hard, year-end totals from 2013 and 2019 show all new motorcycle sales have decreased by 21.2%, and H-D sales decreased by 21.3%. Market share is 7.2%.

Personally, I can’t wait to ride a Livewire, Bronx, or PanAmerica. And the MoCo’s plans?  The new models? Softails and Tourers? Over time, it’s all going to come together just fine.

About the authorPhil Health Harley-Davidson doom boom

Back in 2012 I semi-retired from a long career in Australia’s premier Harley-Davidson dealership. ​

I was honoured to be asked by several other H-D dealers to consult for them. Since then I’ve consulted and assisted H-D dealers in AU and NZ, established and managed an international office for one of H-D’s USA-based official licensees, worked full-time for other Harley dealers, and moved to New Zealand while retaining my Aussie home. ​

Now, after 40 years in the industry in AU and NZ, I’m again working in both countries for myself as Phil Heath Consulting. 

Source: MotorbikeWriter.com

What is our 2019 Bike of the Year?

You will be stunned by our choice for the 2019 Bike of the Year! Read on.

Unlike previous years, I have not ridden a lot of the new bikes this year. Manufacturers don’t seem to like what I have to say, so they don’t readily supply them.

Reviewing new bikes is getting fairly pointless, anyway. Each year bikes get that little bit better, lighter, more economical, faster, etc.

Even on paper, there are no huge advances in performance.

As for style, that’s down to personal preference.

Suzuki Katana is a rider’s delight online Bike of the Year
MBW on the Suzuki Katana launch … a great bike that divided riders over its styling

So the exercise of naming a bike of the year seems fairly pointless.

For example, how could an adventure bike win over a sport bike, cruiser, tourer, naked, neo-classic, etc?

And each year there seem to be new niches being added to the market to target new riders.

So for me, the bike of the year is not the fastest, most powerful, prettiest, most technological, best value, the biggest seller, etc.

In fact, the bike we have chosen seems to have been a bit of a sales flop and is quite expensive. It isn’t even available in Australia yet!

So here goes … drumroll please.

2019 Motorbike Writer Bike of the YearHarley-Davidson LiveWire electric motorcycle

The Harley-Davidson LiveWire electric!

This is a landmark bike in our beloved industry.

It’s the first full-size electric road motorcycle from a traditional motorcycle company.

While the others have talked about electric motorcycles and shown us some future designs and working concepts, Harley got in and produced it.

Ok, it’s been a bit of a sales flop.

The bike was supposed to be released in September, but deliveries were delayed.

Then they had to temporarily halt production to fix a fault with overheating chargers.

Harley-Davidson LiveWire electric motorcycle electric highways
LiveWire on a DC fast charger

When they did arrive in US showrooms, customers did not exactly flock to buy them at $US30k (about $A44k).

They won’t even arrive in Australia until “late” in 2020.

And when they do, they may cost more than a full-dresser Ultra Limited tourer!

But not only is the LiveWire an historic landmark in our industry, it’s also a damn good ride.

I tested one around the streets of Portland, Oregon, and into the mountains and forests around the town.

Harley-Davidson LiveWire electric motorcycle
Portland bike launch

It looks great, it’s lightning fast, super-smooth, handles very well, has loads of electronic gadgetry, it’s comfortable and brakes are exceptional given the added assistance of enormous electric motor back-torque.

Read our full review here.

DrawbacksHarley-Davidson LiveWire electric motorcycle soundtrack

Apart from the price, the drawbacks are limited range (235km city, 152km highway), about 11 hours to charge off the mains and limited fast-charging infrastructure.

These issues will slowly be overcome with rapid advances in battery technology. Cleverly, Harley will be able to update easily its battery and even its supplier.

The LiveWire won’t change the minds of those who don’t like the idea of electric motorcycles. That includes those who simply want a bike to make noise, even though the LiveWire has a pleasant “whooshing” turbine sound.

Despite finding the LiveWire exciting to ride and admiring the tech, I certainly wouldn’t own one. I still love the pulse and feel of a conventional bike.

In fact, the bike I am most looking forward to riding in 2020 is the insane 208hp Ducati Streetfighter V4!

But I’m glad an established motorcycle company finally made the leap of faith with a proper electric motorcycle.

Let’s face it; electric motorcycles are inevitable, especially with countries such as Sweden planning to ban all fossil-fuel-powered vehicles from 2030.

Our decision will not be popular, but it will cause controversy and it will get people talking about the future of motorcycling. 

Let’s hope the LiveWire paves the way for a future of interesting and exciting motorcycles.

Harley-Davidson LiveWire electric motorcycle

What was your choice for 2019 Bike of the Year? Do you agree/disagree with our choice? Leave your comments below.

Source: MotorbikeWriter.com

Recharge electric motorbike in 5 minutes

A Canadian company is working on battery technology that will recharge an electric motorcycle in about five minutes without reducing battery life.

The discovery by GBatteries is a potential boost for electric motorcycles and other vehicles as recharging time, not range anxiety, is the biggest hurdle.

Harley-Davidson claims its LiveWire electric motorcycle can be recharged to 80% in about 30minutes using DC fast chargers.

Harley-Davidson LiveWire electric motorcycleHarley-Davidson's electric LiveWire short circuit minutes
LIveWires on DC fast chargers

Recharge in minutes

However, this process degrades the battery, shortening its life.

Now GBatteries has discovered a process where micro pulses of power will charge batteries quickly without any degradation.

They have filed for 45 patent applications, with 10 patents granted and 28 pending. 

“Our mission is to accelerate the adoption of electric vehicles, by eliminating the final barrier of charge time and enabling electric vehicles to charge as fast as it takes to fill a tank of gas,” the company says.

“One hour isn’t what we call fast. We’re pioneering technology that will enable electric vehicles to charge as fast as it takes to fill a tank of gas.”

How it works

GBatteries isn’t developing new materials or changing battery chemistry. Instead it is working on new software and hardware.

Their ChargeSense software uses artificial intelligence to create a complex series of small charging pulses and learn about the state of the battery as it charges to avoid degeneration and overheating.

electric garage fire energica
Fast charger causes a fire in the Energica garage housing MotoE race bikes

This also prevents overheating which recently caused Harley-Davidson to temporarily suspend production of its electric LiveWire and sparked a fire which destroyed all the Energica MotoE racing bikes earlier this year.

It is not the same as recent Deakin University research which makes lithium-ion batteries smaller, lighter and less likely to burst into flame.

GBatteries’ hardware consists of off-the-shelf components with their own “architecture” to generate exact engineered pulses at high frequency.

But don’t get too excited just yet.

GBatteries say it could take up to seven years for their technology to become commercially available.

Source: MotorbikeWriter.com

Charley and Ewan spotted in Ecuador

Ewan McGregor and Charley Boorman have been spotted riding their specially equipped Harley-Davidson LiveWire electric motorcycles in Ecuador on their Long Way Up adventure.

Photographer and tour guide Raphael Erhard (pictured with Ewan and Charley above) says he ran into them while leading a tour for Ecuador Freedom Bike Rental last month.

“They were really friendly and curious about what we were doing, especially Charley,” he says.

Charley and Ewan spotted in Ecuador
Charley and Ewan with the tour group

Ecuador tour

“They seemed to be enjoying South America a lot, they told me they’d just stayed at a small coastal lodge the night before and were heading to Quito the day we met. They seemed just really chilled out and open.”

Since the pair started in Tierra del Fuego in September and were last month in Ecuador, they are now expected to be somewhere in Guatemala or Mexico.

Charley and Ewan have both previously said they would like to ride the Baja Peninsula, so that could be a detour as they head north to Alaska on their adventure.

While Charley and Ewan are riding LiveWire electric motorcycles, their videographer, Claudio Von Planta is on a petrol bike.

“They told me they were really happy with their bikes, the range being somewhere between 250 and 350km, I don’t remember which,” he says.

According to Harley, range is about 150km on the highway and about 235km in the city.

Charley and Ewan spotted in Ecuador
Raphael with Charley and Ewan

“Charley said they wanted to focus on electric motorcycles on this journey and after trying out a Zero and a few other brands, they chose the LiveWires as they felt best.

“They’ve made it so far, so it seems to be working. And no, I haven’t seen any generator-laden back up trucks anywhere.”

Tech and crew

Charley and Ewan adventure on LiveWire
Charley, Ewan and Claudio packing on the first day of their trip

The adventure started in September when some of the crew posted the Instagram images on this page.

There have been a few modifications to the bikes for this adventure and there is quite an extensive back-up crew involved.

Apart from new wheels, other bike modifications include: windscreens, engine guards, highway pegs, bash plates, auxiliary lights, saddlebags and fender bags.

They also seem to have removed the rear guard and plate holder.

The crew consists of two electric Rivian R1T pick-up trucks which have 650km of range.

They are also supported by two Mercedes-Benz Sprinter 4WD vans and a Ford F350 pickup truck.

So we suspect they are carrying DC fast chargers with them. 

Harley-Davidson LiveWire electric motorcycle
Mobile DC fast chargers at work

Harley claims their Fast Charge (DCFC) technology will recharge a flat battery to 80% in 40 minutes and full in 60 minutes.

Maybe the trip won’t benefit Harley’s LiveWire or electric motorcycles in general, like Long Way Round and Long Way Down did for adventure riding and the BMW GS range.

However, it should be hugely entertaining!

Harley disaster

Harley-Davidson LiveWire electric motorcycle
MBW rides the LIveWire

Harley certainly doesn’t need another PR disaster with the LiveWire.

It has so far experienced one disaster after another.

Firstly the bike was delayed a month going into North America dealerships.

Then several dealerships refused to pay big money to instal DC fast chargers in order to sell them.

Sales have also been a disaster as customers have baulked at the $US29,950 (about $A44,000) ticket price.

Harley then had the PR disaster of having to temporarily pull the plug on production to fix a problem with one charger.

Long time coming

disaster
Ewan heads off on his latest adventure

The long-awaited third Ewan and Charley travel documentary has been a long time coming.

Charley has been telling us they have been planning their Long Way Up America trip for about 10 years.

The problem has been that Ewan has been so busy with Hollywood movies he could not afford a few months off.

There was also the fact that Ewan is ambassador for Moto Guzzi and Charley is ambassador for Triumph.

The pair rode BMWs in their 2004 Long Way Round and 2007 Long Way Down.

In 2015, Ewan said he may ride from California to the tip of South America on a Moto Guzzi Stelvio. That never happened and the Stelvio was retired a year later.

Charley told us last year that Ewan’s relationship with Moto Guzzi would not necessarily foil their plans:

We’ve been talking about it a long time and if the stars align we will do something like a Long Way up from Tierra Del Fuego to Alaska in the next couple of years. It really is close now. Ewan’s always had a loose relationship with Moto Guzzi so there’s no conflict there.

But rather than Moto Guzzi and Triumph, the pair have opted for the new Harley-Davidson LiveWire.

While it was thought they would go all the way to Alaska, Charley recently said the ride would go from Argentina to LA.

Maybe they don’t want to cover the same territory through Canada and Alaska that they did in the Long Way Round.

Long Way Back

It’s been a long time between trips for Ewan and Charley.

From 14 April 2004 to 29 July 2004, they rode across Europe and the USA in Long Way Round and from 12 May to 4 August 2007 they rode from the top of Scotland to Cape Town in South Africa for Long Way Down.

With Ewan becoming increasingly busy with Hollywood movies, Charley squeezed in the 2006 Dakar rally for his series, Race to Dakar, and has produced several other travel shows.

Source: MotorbikeWriter.com

Harley-Davidson plugs LiveWire back in

Production of the Harley-Davidson electric LiveWire motorcycle has started again after being stalled a few days this week over a problem with one home charger.

The company says it was only a “single occurrence”. There was no problem with the motorcycle, only the charger.

“We take pride in our rigorous quality assurance measures and our drive to deliver the world’s best motorcycles,” their press statement says.

They had asked owners only to charge their bikes with the DC fast charger supplied at some HD dealerships. However, they say it is now safe to use any method to charge them.

Harley-Davidson LiveWire electric motorcycleHarley-Davidson's electric LiveWire short circuit
LiveWires on DC fast chargers

Even though it doesn’t arrive in Australia until late next year, Harley-Davidson Australia had issued this statement:

As we lead in the electrification of motorcycles, we have delivered our first LiveWire motorcycles to authorized LiveWire dealers. We recently discovered a non-standard condition during a final quality check; stopped production and deliveries; and began additional testing and analysis, which is progressing well. We are in close contact with our LiveWire dealers and customers and have assured them they can continue to ride LiveWire motorcycles. As usual, we’re keeping high quality as our top priority.

We also asked how many Aussie orders they had and how many dealers were installing the DC fast charger:

We are not in a position to share any specific details and we are currently working closely with our dealer network as we get ready to welcome what will be a very exciting product for Australian and New Zealand customers.

Phone and other electrical devices can have issues with chargers overheating and causing a fire.

In March, the entire fleet of 18 Energica electric motorcycles for the MotoE series were destroyed in a blaze that was blamed on a short circuit in one of the charging units.

electric garage fire energica short circuit
Energica garage explodes in flame

Electric fires

Electric vehicle and charger fires can be caused by short-circuits, power surges, impact, excessive discharge or overheating.

They also cause special concerns for fire fighters.

Lithium batteries are obviously made with lithium which is highly flammable and stored in mineral oil.

short circuit
Tesla goes up in flames

While it is not toxic, it can cause nausea, diarrhoea, dizziness, muscle weakness, fatigue and a dazed feeling.

Electric vehicle and battery fires can also release sulphuric acid, carbon monoxide, copper and cobalt.

Fire fighters can’t douse the flames with water as the high voltage can cause an electric shock or electrocution.

Instead, they have to disconnect the power supply (usually an orange plug) and contain the fire to let it burn itself out.

LiveWire short circuit

Harley-Davidson LiveWire electric motorcycle electric highways short circuit
Riding the LiveWire in Orgeon

This temporary hiccup with Harley’s electric motorcycle program follows a month delay in deliveries to US dealerships where it has created a lot of interest, but not a lot of sales.

Buyers are apparently baulking at the $US29,990 price (about $A44,000).

Some dealers are even rejecting the expensive DC fast-charger installation which is a requirement of being able to sell the bike.

PR exercise

So Harley has two major PR exercises going at the moment to rescue the LiveWire.

Charley Boorman and Ewan McGregor are currently shooting Long Way Up from the bottom to the top of the Americas, riding LiveWire motorcycles.

Charley and Ewan adventure on LiveWire
Ewan and Charley pack their LiveWire bikes for the trip

And now HD has brought in Hollywood action star Jason Momoa who plays Aquaman and Khal Drogo to test ride the bike.

“Harley wanted me to test one of the new LiveWires, I was kind of like ehhh. I like the idea of it but I wanted to hear it,” says Jason who is more at home on pushrod fuel burners.

While filming on the Gold Coast in 2017, he took delivery of a Softail.

Now he says he is stoked by the electric bike.

“I have never been on anything this fast, it kind of blew my mind,” he says.

“I am in love with it, it’s amazing and I look forward to the future of many more of these bikes.

“It’s so fast, faster than I need, it’s amazing. It’s good for the planet, beautiful, we’re moving with the times.

“Best part is, it’s the future. You can have this and your old one. It’s amazing.”

Harley is going to need a lot of star power to help the LiveWire over this current short circuit!

Source: MotorbikeWriter.com