The changes continue in Milwaukee, as Harley-Davidson will make a dedicated electric motorcycle brand under the LiveWire name (similar to what the American brand has done with its “Serial 1” brand of e-bikes).
Seeming forgetting about the original Harley-Davidson Livewire motorcycle, the Bar & Shield brand says that the first LiveWire motorcycle will debut on July 8th, 2021 and show at the International Motorcycle Show a day later.
That bike is likely to be a smaller flat-track inspired urban bike, that would rival the small-displacement (~300cc) offerings from other brands.
We have seen glimpses of a concept model using this form factor since Harley-Davidson announced its electric vehicle road map, and now it seems it is ready for primetime.
“One of the six pillars of The Hardwire Strategy is to lead in electric – by launching LiveWire as an all-electric brand, we are seizing the opportunity to lead and define the market in EV,” said Jochen Zeitz, Chairman, President, and CEO of Harley-Davidson.
“With the mission to be the most desirable electric motorcycle brand in the world, LiveWire will pioneer the future of motorcycling, for the pursuit of urban adventure and beyond. LiveWire also plans to innovate and develop technology that will be applicable to Harley-Davidson electric motorcycles in the future.”
That Harley-Davidson would spin out the LiveWire name from the mothership is an interesting move, and helps distance the heritage invoking company from the modern progressions that the LiveWire name was meant to evoke.
How will that play out for the Bar & Shield brand remains to be seen, however. Loyalists will probably enjoy the renewed petrol-focus of their beloved brand, but does Harley-Davidson do so at the risk of losing younger riders who are looking for something different than a post-war replica potato cannon?
The Milwaukee-based company isn’t the first petrol-pusher to shove its electric endeavors into a sub-brand, though we have yet to see a four-wheeled or two-wheeled company successfully bridge that gap, especially as the world becomes more focused on renewable energy sources and cleaner forms of transportation.
It is perhaps not surprising that Harley-Davidson has adapted the LiveWire brand to house its electric motorcycles, as the company did the same with its Serial 1 brand for e-bikes.
Both of these sub-brands face the same problem though: how do they carry as much weight without the Harley-Davidson name attached to them?
After all, without the Bar & Shield on its frame, a Serial 1 e-bike is one of just a plethora of offerings in this crowded space. Could the LiveWire name suffer the same fate? Only time will tell.