LiveWire to launch Arrow platform for lighter e-motorbikes
Harley-Davidson is planning a second model called Del Mar for its electric motorbike brand LiveWire for the second quarter of 2022. As a more affordable model below the LiveWire One, the Del Mar is to be based on a new platform called Arrow, which has a special technical feature.
As Harley CEO Jochen Zeitz recently revealed, the Arrow platform will use the battery as a load-bearing component that connects the steering head to the swingarm mount. Until now, the battery has been built into the frame, which is the only load-bearing component, but this classic frame is omitted in the Arrow platform. Instead of being attached to the frame, the swingarm is attached to the side engine mounts, and the suspension strut is supported on the battery block again by means of a deflection. In the past, these forces were directed into the frame. The Arrow platform is conceived as a lower-cost foundation for a number of new electric motorbike models.
The new arrangement saves weight and can reduce costs but also requires a completely new design of the battery housing, as this not only protects the cells in the event of an accident but now also has to absorb other forces during the ride – such as from the suspension strut.
Zeitz did not say exactly how big these savings are and at what price the Del Mar will be offered. What is clear is that the Del Mar will be the first model of the so-called S2 series below the familiar LiveWire One. Other S2 models are to follow.
The battery of the Arrow platform will use round cells in the 2170 format. Depending on the model, Harley will connect these standard cells differently in order to realise voltage levels between 50 and 400 volts. Depending on the voltage – and here 50, 100, 350 and 400+ volts are mentioned – the drive power scales accordingly, and different cooling systems can also be installed.
LiveWire has not yet given any details about the motor’s performance but has revealed that it is supposed to be a direct-drive system without a gearbox that will be fully integrated into the chassis and the suspension. This is supposed to optimise installation space, rigidity and weight. As with the battery, the Arrow platform also provides for different cooling systems for the drive depending on the power level.
After the S2 series, electric LiveWire models of the so-called S3 series are to follow, which are once again a class below. These will not use the Arrow platform but will be developed in cooperation with Kymco. The American motorcycle company also says it will be leveraging the “latest technologies to address heavyweight motorcycles with expected improvements in range and charging capabilities.
Harley Davidson is not only aiming to cover electric motorcycles of all sizes. The US American motorcycle maker has already stepped into the booming electric bicycle market, launching Serial 1 e-bikes in August last year.
In December 2021, it was announced that the LiveWire brand is to go public via a SPAC merger. The closing of the deal, like the debut of the Del Mar, is expected in the second quarter of 2022. In the course of the IPO, Harley-Davidson says it will present the pure electric motorbike platform Arrow for the first time, on which the now announced Del Mar is to be based.