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View Full Version : LiveWire article by Autoblog



Richard230
07 December 2014, 1548
This article is interesting because it quotes H-D's President as saying that the LiveWire needs double the battery capacity and would have to sell for half the $50,000 price that it would cost to produce it before customers would buy it.

http://www.autoblog.com/2014/12/07/harley-davidson-livewire-electric-motorcycle-50000-price/

It is starting to sound like this trial balloon is not going to fly right now.

Richard230
08 January 2015, 1553
Here is another Autoblog article about the LiveWire. This one reviews the bike after a short ride, speculates on the future of the LiveWire project and mentions that H-D is advertizing for a couple of EV engineers: http://www.autoblog.com/2015/01/08/ride-harley-davidson-livewire-into-sunset/

Spoonman
09 January 2015, 0332
I cannot fathom that it actually costs $50k to build - that's madness!

Richard230
09 January 2015, 0904
I cannot fathom that it actually costs $50k to build - that's madness!

I suppose it depends upon how many engineers worked on the project, how many parts had to be designed and produced from scratch (instead of buying off-the-shelf), how many units were produced, how much profit H-D wants to make on each "unit" and how many "units" the company really wants to sell in the marketplace.

You may recall that the CEO of Fiat said that he really hated building the 500E as they lost a ton of money on each sale and apparently are only building the vehicle because of government regulations and environmental requirements. I don't think IC vehicle manufacturers have fully embraced the plug-in EV future yet. :rolleyes:

Stevo
09 January 2015, 1016
Not to mention that HD has a long track record of crappy decision making... They had a terrific engineer in their midst (Eric Buell), didn't utilize his talents and let him walk away.
Just like GM and their shelved "Lean Machine", which btw, would make a great ev http://futureprobe.blogspot.com/2009/08/lean-machine-transcenter-artifact.html

Richard230
09 January 2015, 1523
I would like to point out that the $50K statement was retracted by Autoblog a while ago, but I personally believe that it was said by some disgruntled H-D employee at some point and then officially retracted by H-D management when they heard about the statement. I have no doubt that there is more than one H-D employee who would like to see the LiveWire project fail. And I bet there are some retail dealers who feel the same way - such as the ones that wanted nothing to do with selling or servicing Buell motorcycles. :rolleyes:

furyphoto
09 January 2015, 1637
If you take a look at HD advertising these days, there are a lot more 30 somethings with open face retro helmets and plaid shirts on HOGs than bearded, leather clad old fat dudes. There is always a lot of resistance to change, but the fact is that the steriotypical HD biker is a dying (of old age) breed. Harley needs this project and other like it if they want a chance at continuing to be relevant. If they don't get new young riders with disposable incomes on Harleys, their core customer base will literally die out.

There is no other new Harley I would even bother taking the time to swing a leg over. If money were no object, it's the last brand I would consider for a new ICE bike. I will almost certainly not buy a Livewire, but if I had the dough kicking around I would definitely consider it. I am pleased to see the tour will be coming to Canada this year, I will be putting my name in for a ride. You never know, they might make a HOG man out of me after all.

ultrarnr2
10 January 2015, 0546
Richard230,

The comment about the Live Wire costing 50K if it were produced today was actually made by the H-D COO. There was an article in the Milwaukee Sentinel Journal on this. The H-D COO was talking before a group of businesses about sustainable operations (or something like that) when he made the comment. It was retracked shortly after that.

ultrarnr2
10 January 2015, 0548
Here is the link:

http://www.jsonline.com/business/harley-makes-quiet-entrance-at-sustainable-business-confab-b99402306z1-284653301.html

Richard230
10 January 2015, 0821
Here is the link:

http://www.jsonline.com/business/harley-makes-quiet-entrance-at-sustainable-business-confab-b99402306z1-284653301.html

The article now says that the $50K quote was incorrect and has been retracted by H-D. It doesn't seem to say who made the quote originally, if the quote was actually said by the person quoted, if was a mistake by the author, or who in H-D retracted the quote. All kind of confusing and it still makes me believe that the $50K number, if it was actually said by a H-D employee or officer, must have come from some analysis made in the company by someone. :confused:

I also note that H-D seems to be saying that the LiveWire is a trial balloon and that they will wait until battery capacity is doubled before considering to manufacture and market the bike.

Another part of the article that I thought interesting was the H-D was trying new materials and designs in an attempt to reduce the weight of their motorcycles. If that is the case, I hadn't noticed and I can never recall any magazine test discussing the weight reduction of a new model. :rolleyes: Just look at the Sportster. That thing must weigh 100 pounds more than it did 40 years ago.

And I remain convinced that there is a faction in H-D that has no interest in pursuing the LiveWire program for a number of marketing, lifestyle, and historical reasons - to say nothing of the question of whether or not the program will turn a profit in the relatively near future (which is always a big concern of stockholders).

ultrarnr2
10 January 2015, 0942
I know this topic has really been beat to death all over the internet. I saw the article before the correction. In my opinion I think Levatich is the one that made the comment about the price. But all of us once in awhile make a comment that seconds after we said it realized we shouldn't have said that out loud and immediately regret it. I think that is what happened to Levatich.

Harley Davidson currently has job postings for two positions related to the development of an electric motorcycle. I don't think they would be trying to hire people to work on developing Live Wire if this is really just a publicity stunt as some claim.

The biggest obstacle that H-D will have in trying to sell electric motorcycles will be their own dealer network. Customers may walk in with cash in hand to buy one but won't be able to find anyone willing to take their money.

Richard230
10 January 2015, 1532
That was certainly the situation with Buell. I have a friend that bought a CityX and his dealer only had one mechanic that was willing to work on it. And he only came in on Fridays! H-D has a lot of old luggage to discard before they will get their dealers to want to sell the LiveWire, or whatever follows it in the future.

mpipes
11 January 2015, 1858
H-D is dead in the water and their target market is floating passed out and bloated in their cheap beer.

The Metric companies are building bikes that the 30-somethings are jumping over each other to get their hands on. Makes sense, the 30-somethings grew up on Japanese dirt/motoX bikes. When they move into cruisers they are going to stick with who they know. They already have the brand loyalty built-in, and the massive custom aftermarket available to metric cruisers dwarfs what's available for HD.

Plus, when you go to a bike rally, the overwhelming sentiment is scoff towards the metric bikes, their riders and the aftermarket companies that support them.

Stevo
12 January 2015, 0950
If you took off all the non-American made parts from your new HD, you wouldn't have a motorcycle to ride.