Iconic American motorcycle manufacturer Harley-Davidson began shipping its LiveWire electric motorcycle this week, aimed at the younger and eco-friendly market. According to a Reuters report, it’s not working out so far.
Harley-Davidson has been trying for years to attract an elusive younger audience. And finally the first LiveWire shave just started reaching dealerships this month—two months after the motorcycles were expected to arrive. In order to find out how the rollout was going, Reuters interviewed dozens of Harley dealers from across the country. And the situation is not great.
Most of the orders at the dealerships have been placed by older buyers, who already own the Harley bikes. Despite the fact, that the new LiveWire is super-fun to ride and it’s an alternative to traditional motorcycles with quick acceleration and great smoothness, its high price is scary! The LiveWire starts at $29,799, almost enough for a Chevy Volt ($33,520) or over $10,000 more than the competing Zero SR/F electric bike.
"Interest is very high," said a sales manager at a New Jersey-based dealership. "But once you get to pricing, interest is thrown out of the window."
As reported by Reuters, Bob Clark, a dealer for Zero's bikes in Chicago, says he has not yet sold one SR/F to a rider under the age of 35. All three electric bikes he sold to young riders this year were in the $10,000 price range, as “younger riders are very price-sensitive.”
Younger would-be buyers with student-loan debt are not ready to shell out $29,000 for any single thing, especially on a heavy electric motorcycle with limited range. And this is another thing holding LiveWire back. Its decent 146 miles range in the city plummets on the highway, giving it 96 miles combined range.
Harley wouldn’t say how many pre-orders it received for the LiveWire, but an analyst estimated they would sell between 400 and 1,600 LiveWires its first year, which would be less than 1 percent of the total number of motorcycles it sells a year, which last year was 228,051.
We hope Harley-Davidson would undertake some actions to save its electric bike on the market before introducing lighter-weight and cheaper electric bikes in the next years.