Who Is Harley-Davidson Partnering With to Expand Its EV Future

Vehicle manufacturers worldwide are turning their sites to electric vehicles, and motorcycles are no exception. Harley-Davidson launched a new division called LiveWire, which is now becoming its own entity. LiveWire is dedicated to bringing the legendary motorcycle brand into the future of EV. Thanks to an investment from KYMCO and Harley-Davidson, LiveWire is poised to expand its reach. 

The beginnings of LiveWire

The Harley-Davidson LiveWire electric motorcycle on display at the Harley Davidson Store in New York City
The Harley-Davidson LiveWire electric motorcycle | Andrew Burton/Getty Images

EV company LiveWire is a sub-division of Harley-Davidson. In its initial phase, Harley offered one EV bike to the public called LiveWire, which didn’t do well. To keep the EV momentum going, Harley-Davidson created “The Hardwire,” a strategic plan to turn around its electric motorcycle production by 2025.

Toward that goal, Harley will put profits on the back-burner and focus on electric motorcycles. The company hopes that zero-emissions bikes will attract people who are “nonriders” or new to the biking world. Harley-Davidson will also be cutting back its motorcycle lines by 30%.

The main attractions of the upcoming all-electric LiveWire are its high-voltage battery and 146 miles of range. The electric motorcycle has impressive acceleration, instantly producing 100% of its rated torque. Power comes from a permanent magnet electric motor placed below the battery for a lower center of gravity. 

How are KYMCO and Harley Davidson linked?

KYMCO is a global manufacturer of motorcycles and scooters. The Taiwanese manufacturer has invested $100 million in LiveWire, which will give it a 4% share in the new company. The deal has LiveWire poised to redefine the industry as the first all-electric motorcycle company. KYMCO will help LiveWire achieve its lofty goal of transforming the motorcycle industry. 

The other half of the LiveWire merger is AEA-Bridges Impact Corp., or ABIC, an acquisition company focusing on sustainability. The endeavor is financed by $400 million cash, held in trust by ABIC, a $100 million investment by KYMCO, and a $100 million investment from Harley-Davidson. 

Because of KYMCO’s history, the partnership will also help LiveWire get into desirable Eurasian markets, where the company already has a presence. Additionally, existing scooters and motorcycles on the lineup could be redesigned and rebranded to be sold under the LiveWire name. 

Harley-Davidson’s future EV plans

CNBC reports that Harley-Davidson hopes EV will take it into the future. Sales have slumped 40% since 2006, and electric motorcycles promise to appeal to a younger market. Although Harley is the major shareholder, LiveWire will stand alone as its own company with its own branding. The bike will produce 100 horsepower and 84 lb-ft of torque and require no standard maintenance like regular oil changes. LiveWire’s EV bike will have a starting MSRP of $29,799 in vivid black and $30,149 for another color option. 

Flexible charging will be one of the main selling points. LiveWire can be charged two ways, with a standard household outlet or an onboard charger. There will be three levels of charging. Level 1 uses a household outlet and gives 13 miles of range per hour. Level 2 uses a charging unit and has the same rate as Level 1, and a DC Fast Charger will provide a rider 192 miles of range per hour charged.

Each partner will have a different role in the venture. KYMCO will have a 4% share in the EV venture. LiveWire bikes will be designed at Harley-Davidson’s Wisconsin product development center and built at its manufacturing facility in Pennsylvania. Harley-Davidson plans to take LiveWire public with a value of over $2.3 billion. This will make it the nation’s first electric motorcycle company traded publicly under the symbol LVW. 

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