Indefinitely Delayed: Harley-Davidson LiveWire Update
We’ve got an addendum for our latest story on how automakers should view Harley-Davidson as a cautionary tale. The company, which recently began exploring electric motorcycles as a way to boost sales and spur public interest, recently told dealers not to expect deliveries of its newest model.
The $29,799 LiveWire that was supposed to start re-arriving this month is again delayed.
According to The Wall Street Journal, the manufacturer claims there’s an issue with the all-electric bike’s charging equipment — something that will obviously need to be addressed before it goes on sale. As a result, H-D is pulling the production plug on the two-wheeled EV.
“This is disappointing for all of us,” Michelle Kumbier, the company’s chief operating officer, wrote in a dealer memo intercepted by the outlet.
We asked a few H-D dealerships to verify the claims. Most said they hadn’t planned on carrying the LiveWire this year, with one confirming the delay and apologizing. It should be said that the manufacturer is adamant about dealerships using specific types of chargers. WSJ noted that the brand also wanted customers to use “professional type” chargers at home, but most of the marketing materials indicated the bike would function with any household outlet.
While no dangers are said to stem from the charging problem, Harley-Davidson has not issued a timetable for the fix, postponing deliveries (and production) indefinitely until one can be implemented. Since the model isn’t officially supposed to be on sale yet, it’s unlikely the few in dealer possession have left the premises — meaning H-D won’t have to issue any consumer recalls.
Small miracles, we suppose. But this is another dark smudge on the brand’s already spotted resume that might have been avoidable. While we cannot presume Harley-Davidson rushed the LiveWire to market (possibly to beat winter), there may still have been a way around this that didn’t involve stalling production. While H-D isn’t spelling anything out for automakers, it’s still being generous with its lessons.
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- Prabirmehta I charge my EV at home 100% of the time. The EV is used for in-town driving and the gas guzzling SUV is used for out of town trips. This results in a huge cost saving and rare trips to the gas station.
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Maybe Harley executives realized that aging boomers will only pay exorbitant amounts of money for outdated V-twins?
Conceptually, electric motorcycles make a lot of sense. The most expensive part of an EV is the battery, and it doesn't take nearly as big a battery to move a motorcycle as a car. Range is always an issue, but range with a puny gas tank between your knees is an issue too; most people use their bike as either a short distance commuter or a toy. This thing, on the other hand, does not make sense. It's no faster to charge on level 2 than level 1? Really? Is that a misprint? Most people have a garage outlet, and many people have a dryer outlet, but nobody has, and nobody ever will have, a level 3 (DC Fast) charger at home. Thirty grand? Really? I mean, I get that it makes cool loud noises of the sci-fi movie variety, and CAN fast-charge, and doesn't look like a bicycle. So, kudos to H-D over Zero and all the rest. But thirty grand? Also, and most importantly: is anyone clamoring for this type of vehicle at the annual methamphetamine dealer's convention or on Fox & Friends? Because if not, then it's not in the H-D demographic. ;-)