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Harley-Davidson LiveWire to Cost $50,000? Not So Fast

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News is going around the internet that Harley-Davidson COO Matt Levatich has pegged the Harley-Davidson LiveWire electric cruiser at costing roughly $50,000. The price tag comes from a piece by the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, which was in attendance at this year’s Wisconsin Sustainable Business Council’s yearly meeting.

While no direct quote is given by the Journal Sentinel, Levatich is paraphrased and inferred to be saying that the LiveWire would go about half the range that consumers desired, at a price tag double what they were willing to pay — $50,000.

Many sites have latched onto that $50,000 price announcement, but Harley-Davidson quickly corrected the Journal Sentinel, saying that no personnel at Harley-Davidson has put a potential price on the LiveWire, if it were to go into mass production.

Though a bit of a SNAFU, a quick back-of-the-envelope analysis of that number should have revealed the inaccuracy of that figure.

There are two reasons to mistrust that figure. First, those who remember the LiveWire launch will recall that Harley-Davidson gave its electric prototype a small (by market standards) battery pack.

This was because Harley-Davdison had very specific routes in mind for the LiveWire, which the bike wouldn’t deviate from during test rides. Thus only needing enough battery to manage those short test rides between charges, Harley-Davidson’s requirements were much lower than what an actual street bike would need to satisfy consumers.

Secondly, Harley-Davidson wanted to keep the weight of the LiveWire down, and with batteries being the bulk of the weight on an electric motorcycle, it was an easy corner to cut on, and reduce the overall weight of the prototype.

Since batteries also account for the bulk of the cost on electric motorcycles, the LiveWire prototype would actually be a fairly cheap motorcycle to produce, having only an estimated 7 kWh on-board.

Considering the bulk purchasing power that Harley-Davidson has for typical motorcycle components, the Bar & Shield brand could easily ship the LiveWire at prices well below the ones being touted by Zero and Brammo on comparably equipped machines, which already live under the $20,000 MSRP mark.

All of this conjecture is really moot however, as the key element to getting the Harley-Davidson LiveWire produce might be out of the iconic American company’s hands.

With the Mission Motors responsible for helping design and build the Harley-Davidson LiveWire prototypes, the San Franciscan startup’s currently questionable status and future play a huge role in Harley-Davidson’s production plans.

Because of Mission’s current business troubles, Harley-Davidson will likely first have to find another partner for the electric drivetrain. This could mean massive setbacks to the LiveWire’s production timetable, while Mission continues to look for funding, deals with its failed merger with Mission Motorcycles, and other factors.

As for the $50,000 price tag, it would surprise us to see Harley-Davidson ultimately position the LiveWire to that price point, but one quick look at the prototype, and it’s obvious that Harley-Davidson hasn’t built a machine yet that warrants such an outrageous price tag.

Source: Harley-Davidson & Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

Jensen Beeler

Despite his best efforts, Jensen is called one of the most influential bloggers in the motorcycle industry, and sometimes consults for motorcycle companies, whether they've solicited his expertise or not.

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