After over a year of hype, and (sometimes heated) discussions on the interwebs, it was announced on Monday (October 14th) that the plug was temporarily pulled on the LiveWire, with production resuming Friday (October 18th).
Obviously, Harley-Davidson has poured a multitude of resources into this motorcycle, so even with this hiccup, don’t plan on the e-bike going away quietly. I’m supposed to test ride the LiveWire this weekend, so I’m unsure what this means for that event, but just know that if you don’t see a test-ride video next week that it did not happen.
In a statement to the press, first published by Rueters Harley explained:
"We recently discovered a non-standard condition during a final quality check; stopped production and deliveries; and began additional testing and analysis, which is progressing well… We are in close contact with our LiveWire dealers and customers and have assured them they can continue to ride LiveWire motorcycles. As usual, we’re keeping high quality as our top priority."
The Wall Street Journal, has reported that Harley communicated to its dealers last week that it was stopping production to re-test the motorcycle's charging mechanism but did not offer further details. Motorcyclenews.com added that “Harley says there are no problems if the bike is charged at an official dealer, using the fast-charge method.”
Now, I’m no mathematician but, considering the max mileage on the LiveWire is 110 miles, and some owners would have to have taken a 50-80 mile round trip to the dealer, that would've been somewhat of an inconvenience. Not surprisingly, there was not a peep on the H-D website regarding the production halt.
It’s tough to say with such little information, whether this is hardware related, or something that can be fixed with a software patch, but the wording from the Wall Street Journal makes it sound more hardware-related. Either way I’m going to go out on a limb and say that, owners will likely need to take their bike in to resolve the issue. I have to say, it rings rather hollow that H-D emphasizes “high quality” being a priority when a brand new model is being taken offline.
For myself in particular, this is a classic “I told you so” situation. A few months ago, I published a video on how I thought Harley-Davidson may be getting in over their heads with the technology involved in this new venture and my prediction seems to be coming to fruition. Granted, my biggest issue was with the HD Connect app, but still, knowing Harley’s struggle when it comes to tech, I had major concerns that the LiveWire was going to be facing an uphill battle, and here we are.
Of course, this production halt cannot mean good things for Harley’s bottom line. It’s too soon to say what this freeze means to the LiveWire’s future, as well as Harley-Davidson as a whole, but skeptics and fans alike are bound to be reading the tea leaves with this news, and my magic-8 ball is telling me “outlook, not so good”.
So, I’ll have a close eye, and an ear to the ground on this front. Hopefully, my test ride still happens as planned, and I’ll have a lot more to say about this bike as far as performance, feel and capability goes very soon. If for some reason, the ride is cancelled, we’ll know we’re looking at a much bigger issue than the Motor Company is letting on.
Please let me know what you’re thinking regarding the latest on Harley-Davidson’s LiveWire. I’ve had a lot to say regarding HD’s electric experiment, and most of the discussion has been productive, so let’s keep it going in that direction.