The Harley-Davidson LiveWire, Harley’s all-electric offering, has been on sale for almost two years now, and while it is capable enough, there are signs that sales probably aren’t what Harley hoped. Still, on Monday, Harley announced that LiveWire is now its own brand.
This is, ostensibly, to “lead and define the market in EV,” as Harley’s CEO Jochen Zeitz said in a press release, though it is also likely a way to keep the name Harley-Davidson off a product (and upcoming products) that Harley hopes to sell to young people.
The first LiveWire motorcycle that is not the LiveWire itself will launch July 8, Harley said. Harley also says it will have a “virtual HQ” hub in Silicon Valley, in addition to Milwaukee. There will be dedicated LiveWire showrooms, too, first in California. The focus will be on the urban market, presumably because range on electric motorcycles nosedives at highway speeds.
We know that Harley has some smaller electric motorcycles in the works, which is good because the LiveWire hovers around 550 pounds and one of the few complaints about it has been that it feels a bit heavy.
“With the mission to be the most desirable electric motorcycle brand in the world,” Zeitz said, “LiveWire will pioneer the future of motorcycling, for the pursuit of urban adventure and beyond.”
I can’t see myself getting an electric motorcycle any time soon, but that isn’t Harley’s fault. The state of charging infrastructure on the East Coast would make it tough for me to live with. And while I’ve been pessimistic about Harley’s chances with the LiveWire — it seems like a thing Harley fans are excited about more than something they might be willing to buy — I can definitely see smaller (and cheaper) electric motos from Harley, sorry, LiveWire, having a wider appeal.
What Harley needs to do now is to speed all of this up. It took years and years for Harley to put the LiveWire into production we’re just now seeing a follow up. There may be big opportunities in the e-bike world for Harley, but Harley needs to get there first.