Harley-Davidson’s all-electric LiveWire bike, an attempt to attract a younger audience to its two-wheeled legacy, has been having one hell of a struggle just keeping its head above water. The numbers haven’t been great, but now there’s an even bigger problem: charging equipment. Harley-Davidson is ceasing both production and delivery immediately.
The problem with the charging equipment has not been identified by Harley-Davidson, The Wall Street Journal reports. But the company has advised buyers not to use any charging outlets at home; instead, the LiveWire should only be charged with the professional equipment that can be found at, say, charging stations.
LiveWire owners had been able to charge their bikes through standard wall outlets at their homes, a process that takes about 10 hours. Direct-current charging stations at Harley dealerships can reload the bike’s battery in about an hour. The bike can handle about 140 miles of urban riding on a full charge.
According to the company, the bike is still safe to ride—you just shouldn’t be charging it at home.
Harley is trying to increase the number of charging stations it has around the country, many of which have been added to dealerships. The company has also teamed up with Electrify America LLC, offering 500 kWh of free charging time.
Harley has only produced a first run of 1,600 bikes (which adds up to less than one percent of all bikes Harley produced and delivered last year), many of which were expected to hit dealerships in August. However, delays meant that the LiveWire only made its way to dealerships earlier in October, and in far smaller numbers than predicted.
This production pause is a bad look for a manufacturer aiming to appeal to a wider, younger audience base in hopes that it will rejuvenate the company’s overall sales. Harley had some big dreams riding on the LiveWire:
Harley has said it wants to grow its international sales of all bikes—both traditional and electric—to 50% of annual revenue by the end of 2027. In 2018, 42% of Harley bikes went to dealers outside of the U.S.
In order to hit those ambitious targets, Harley was depending on a smooth, successful rollout of the LiveWire in order to compensate for the lack of interest many of its other new bikes have been garnering. This production pause, however, looks like it could be exactly the sort of thing to throw Harley-Davidson far off track.