Australia ready for electric LiveWire

Harley-Davidson is tipped to start producing their electric LiveWire motorcycle in five years and a Harley executive believes Australians are ready.

The American company’s senior vice-president of global demand, Sean Cummings, was reported by the Milwaukee Business Journals as saying they would start production of an electric motorcycle within five years.


However, Harley-Davidson Australia marketing director Adam Wright says they have not received any confirmation from HQ “at this stage” as to when the electric LiveWire will be manufactured.

Harley LiveWire electric motorcycle ready
Adam (rear), riding the Harley LiveWire in LA

However, he believes Australians are ready for an electric motorcycle.

“Australians as a nation are very fast to embrace new technologies and Tesla is a great example of this,” he says. “We are now seeing more and more of these vehicles on our roads everyday.

“Last week I was in Melbourne and noticed Tesla charging stations in carparks across the city with cars being charged during the day.

“It’s proof that Australians are keen to move into new technologies such as electric vehicles that have style, function and reliability.”

Harley has never committed to a timeline for the production of LiveWire, saying they would wait until battery technology advances improved range and recharging times.

Harley-Davidson greenies ready
MBW on the Harley LiveWire in LA

The production-ready-standard prototype that MBW rode in LA in 2014 takes three-and-a-half hours to fully charge and has range of less than 100km and about half that if used in high-performance mode.

Adam says battery technologies are developing at a rapid rate.

“We believe it won’t be too long before we see long-distance riding capability from these technologies. This is the biggest hurdle at present for the industry. It’s a very exciting future for us as a brand.”

While Harley has been displaying prototype LiveWire bikes at various motorcycle shows and featuring it in an Avengers movie, fellow American motorcycle manufacturer Polaris has bought the Brammo electric motorcycle company and rebadged the Brammo Empulse as the Victory Empulse TT.

Victory Empulse TT electric motorcycle ready
MBW rides the Victory Empulse TT

We rode the TT in Colorado in 2015 and it has been offered for sale in the US, but it is not yet available for export.

Meanwhile, Victory Racing surged to a second consecutive podium finish at the SES TT Zero race on the Isle of Man this month after William Dunlop rode the Empulse TT a 115.844mph lap to take second place.

Victory will also race last year’s IOM electric bike in the 100th annual Pikes Peak International Hillclimb in July 2016.

It shows the American motorcycle companies are getting serious about electric bikes.

  • Are Aussies ready for electric motorcycles? What do you see as the major hurdle? Write a comment in the “Leave a reply” section below.
  1. A electric motorcycle might be ok for commuting to work but if it only has a range of 100 km then it isn’t much good for anything else.
    The other issue regarding electric vehicles of any kind is are they really less polluting or are they only changing the location of the pollution? Electricity is mostly produced by coal fired power stations in Australia so you are still burning fossil fuels to produce the power to run your vehicle. Then there is the use of the toxic elements used in the batteries which has to be disposed of at the end of the battery life. So my question is, are electric vehicles the final answer and my opinion is, not yet.

    1. We also have solar wind etc and really batteries
      will get smaller lighter and more powerful
      so the only thing that needs altering is to
      fit an adaptor for any upgrades in batteries,
      Out in the regional areas the batteries could
      be re-charged on site rather than having to transport fuel
      The interesting thing will be to see how the government
      intends to claw back the lost revenue from petrol tariffs

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