It is not “just” cars at Geneva; there are some exciting two-wheelers as well. Take Harley-Davidson and the LiveWire. The electric motorcycle received yet another upgrade as H-D specifies more range. On top, e-bike concepts are on show, and Harley just bought into the market for the youngest easy riders ever.
But first let us stick to the grown-up stuff, the LiveWire electric motorcycle that has been brewing for five long years reportedly. Harley-Davidson only released some technical details at this year’s CES in Vegas, along with the information that a serial model will hit the market this autumn. Buyers in Europe may pre-order the LiveWire from April.
In Geneva, the brand updated said spec, now promising an improved range of 140 miles (225 kilometres) in urban traffic and 88 miles (142 kilometres) in the combined cycle, using the SAE J2982 Riding Range Test Procedure. The acceleration from 0 to 60 mph should be achieved in 3.0 seconds.
Only how Harley has gained these advances remains unclear, unfortunately, and more details on the actual size of the battery and technology are still unknown. Earlier this year Samsung signed responsible for the power pack tech, but H-D has yet to confirm this.
The motorcycle builder did say some more on charging opportunities though. The LiveWire electric motorcycle is capable of Level 3 charging or standard DC fast charging. That should charge the battery from 0-80% in 40 minutes or 0-100% in an hour.
The high priced LiveWire is not the only take on electric transport Harley-Davidson has been looking into though. Back at the CES in January, the company had brought prototypes of its urban electric scooter and an off-road electric bike that they had announced in July 2018. The on sale is scheduled for 2021 and the concepts, including two more the company has yet to reveal, are integral to Harley’s ‘More Roads’ strategy. “We will be taking a broad approach to e-mobility, with a product family that varies in size, performance and price,” COO Michelle Kumbier had stated last summer.
Talking about variation in size also explains Harley-Davidson’s latest coup: the company acquired StaCyc, a manufacturer of electric balance bikes for kids. The start-up founded in California in 2016 builds different tiny e-bikes for children as young as three. The balance bikes feature a twist throttle and the connection to priming future riders for a “real” Harley is obvious. Different from the LiveWire electric motorcycle or any e-bike of the mother company, StaCyc’s tots bikes feature removable battery packs (40 – 80 Wh) that recharge within an hour. The e-bikes speed is capped at 8-18 kph which still deems us quite impressive.
For Harley-Davidson, this acquisition is a way of reaching out to younger riders since the company has struggled lately to keep up with the times. Going electric certainly seems a way of catching up, once the spec and positioning of the grown-up bikes will match the reality of the market for electric two-wheelers.