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Harley-Davidson Livewire Electric Motorcycle Concept: Test Ride Page 2


Harley-Davidson Livewire electric motorcycle concept, test ride event, July 2014 [photo: Ben Rich]

Harley-Davidson Livewire electric motorcycle concept, test ride event, July 2014 [photo: Ben Rich]

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With performance characteristics comparable to electric motorcycles on the market today, the Harley-Davidson Livewire could be a strong market competitor if it had a battery of 9 to 12 kilowatt-hours.

The battery capacity of the concept fleet is a moot point, since the bikes were designed and built solely with the idea of giving test rides and getting market feedback.

Harley says it will not put out a motorcycle with less than 100 miles of real range. Zero already offers that range, and Brammo is close, so any serious competitor must equal or improve on that number.

Harley-Davidson Livewire electric motorcycle concept, test ride event, July 2014 [photo: Ben Rich]

Harley-Davidson Livewire electric motorcycle concept, test ride event, July 2014 [photo: Ben Rich]

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Other observations

The concept Livewire bikes use a 300-Volt battery, meaning all components must be able to handle high voltage. That could make a production model an expensive motorcycle. Both Zero and Brammo use voltages closer to 100V, although some other electric motorcycles--including Lightning, Mission, and Energica--use higher voltage. (Electric cars mostly run at 300 to 400 Volts.)

The charging system was custom-built for the 40 Livewire concept bikes, so Harley would need to choose whether to go with a standard 120V cord (like Zero) or the electric-car standard J-1772 plug (like Brammo) for a production bike.

The mirrors on the concept bikes were not adjustable, and Harley acknowledges feedback that the mirrors needed improvement. I was able to use them well enough on the test ride, but they weren't ideal. 

Harley Davidson LiveWire electric motorcycle prototype

Harley Davidson LiveWire electric motorcycle prototype

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The aluminum frame is milled to reduce the shine, and it feels rough to the touch. There is no chrome anywhere to be found on the Livewire.  

Harley staff frequently asked test riders, "How much would you be willing to pay for this bike?"

Responses generally ranged from $10,000 to $15,000--though it's likely that a production vehicle would cost more than that.

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© 2014 Green Car Reports. All Rights Reserved. Green Car Reports is published by High Gear Media. Send us feedback. Stock photography by izmo, Inc.