Harley-Davidson has announce that the company will be introducing an electric motorcycle. Oh, come on, you say! Didn’t we go down this road already? Indeed, it was in late 2014 and early 2015 that we were seeing and hearing the LiveWire. Canadian Biker spent a couple of the Canadian shows during the 2015 motorcycle show series very near the demonstration booth for the LiveWire where a line-up of enthusiastic folks waited for the opportunity to spool up the electric bike on a rolling platform. Then in the spring of 2015 we attended a riding event for the LiveWire to sample the bike in a real world, on-the-road environment. And it was good. A real motorcycle that rode like a real motorcycle sans the petrol. The LIveWire looked production ready, well finished, well styled and not like some white plastic appliance aimed at non-motorcyclists.
What else was there to say but bring it on…… hmmn, bring it on……..(cough). Silence. The LiveWire faded quietly away like the power in a unmaintained battery. To be fair Harley-Davidson never said anything firm about bringing the LiveWire to market. It was an experiment. To test the waters. Whether the waters weren’t deemed responsive enough is unknown. But that was then an this is now and perhaps those seemingly production ready LiveWires have been road test for the past three years for toughness and longevity.
The electric Harley-Davidson is said to be coming to market in 18 months which would coincide with the traditional release of the 2020 models from Harley-Davidson. Few details have been provided for the new offering beyond a premium niche placement and a 80km range. It probably will not be a return of the old LiveWire but some technological lessons will have been learned.
Are electric motorcycles what the world wants? Hard to say. Nobody, so far, seems to be doing a booming business in the segment. Even Polaris, a company that seems willing to give every option that involves two, three or four wheels a shot, seems to have left the Victory electric bike in limbo when they disbanded that subsidiary.
We hope that the lesson learned from the LIveWire is that whatever the new eH-D turns out to be, it looks like a motorcycle and not an electric motorcycle.