Harley-Davidson has temporarily suspended the production and delivery of their first electric motorcycle LiveWire. The background is that a problem was detected during the last quality checks.
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According to media reports, the problem relates specifically to the AC charging system. This was also indicated by a Harley-Davidson statement that asked customers who have already received LiveWire motorcycles to only “use DC fast charging” for the moment.
Previously, the Wall Street Journal quoted an internal memo from the motorcycle manufacturer that there was a problem with the charger, but it was unclear whether “the charger” was an onboard charger or any external charger. Harley-Davidson answered in more detail to a media inquiry, confirming that the problem was limited to the AC charging system. “We stopped production and deliveries and started additional tests and analyses, which have progressed well,” the company said.
The US version of the LiveWire has a Type 1 CCS charging jack, where the AC part of the connector is the same as the American Type 1 connector. With the DC fast charging technology, the battery should be able to be charged to 80 per cent in 40 minutes, with a full charge waiting after another 20 minutes. Owners of previously delivered LiveWires will have to temporarily do without slow charging in their garage at home. Harley did not say how many of the electric motorcycles are already in customer’s hands.
The production stop (and potential recall when the problem is identified) comes at an inopportune time for Harley-Davidson. With the electric model, the crisis-stricken icon of the motorcycle world actually wants to win new customers and address a different target group. Such serious problems can damage the image of LiveWire – the brand’s first electric motorcycle will be followed by other models.
Since April, the LiveWire can also be pre-ordered in select European markets. The recommended retail price for the LiveWire is 32,995 Euro in Germany (plus 560 Euro for transport and bodywork) and 33,390 Euro in Austria (including transport and bodywork).
Update 21.10.2019: The production of the LiveWire is up and running again, while the dealers are again being supplied with new vehicles. Harley-Davidson however did not comment on the exact reasons. “After completing rigorous analysis this week, we have resumed LiveWire production and deliveries,” a company spokesperson told Electrek. “Temporarily stopping LiveWire production allowed us to confirm that the non-standard condition identified on one motorcycle was a singular occurrence.”
The strict quality assurance measures were “working as designed”. However, the speaker did not address the nature of the problem. However, it appears that Harley is confident that there is no general problem with the charger design. Dealers are now offering test rides with the electric motorcycle again.