Production-Ready Harley-Davidson Electric LiveWire Motorcycle Is Coming

Mass-production LiveWire gets updates—and an August 2019 release date

Harley-Davidson's push to get the electric LiveWire motorcycle into showrooms takes another big step forward, as The Motor Company releases photos of a production-ready machine—and teases an August 2019 on-sale date.

While sticking to the Project LiveWire prototype's shape, there are quite a few visible updates to the production model. Surface treatments appear more finished, with large openings and polished metal drawing attention to a frame that looks very similar to the prototype's one-piece cast aluminum unit. Cooling fins adorn a large battery unit beneath that frame, adding surface area as well as visual complexity to the sides of the motorcycle. There's some irony to those fins, as Harley-Davidson edges ever closer to liquid-cooling across its internal combustion engines. But never mind that. There are hints of added performance as well: The front end gains a second disc brake with four-piston Brembo calipers.

The motor and battery units appear to retain the same layout, with a longitudinally mounted motor turning through a bevel drive. The novel design creates a distinctive mechanical whine, at the expense of added complexity. We’re still waiting for updated engineering details, but the prototype’s three-phase AC motor, rated at 74 hp and 52 pound-feet of peak torque, was enough to spin the LiveWire demonstrator up to a limited top speed of 95 mph. Battery and high-voltage chain technology has only improved since the LiveWire demonstrator appeared in 2014.

A trim passenger seat replaces the svelte cowl of the prototype, and passenger pegs are added. A small fairing now encloses the LiveWire’s headlight, while concessions to DOT demands mean conventional turn signals and rearviews instead of the handsome integrated units seen on the LiveWire prototype.

All told, it’s an honest interpretation of the LiveWire concept, which means Harley-Davidson is delivering on promises laid out early this year. The aggressive drive means Harley should be the first of the major manufacturers to have an electric motorcycle in series production. Whether that ambitious endeavor will pay off, we’ll have to wait a year to see.