Skip to main content

Harley-Davidson restarts Livewire sales after charging system scare

Harley-Davidson has resumed production and deliveries of the much-anticipated and much-delayed Livewire, its first series-produced electric model. The company hasn’t shed light on the problem that led it to idle the assembly line for about a week, but it described it as an isolated incident, and added there’s nothing to worry about.

“Temporarily stopping LiveWire production allowed us to confirm that the nonstandard condition identified on one motorcycle was a singular occurrence. We take pride in our rigorous quality assurance measures, and our drive to deliver the world’s best motorcycles,” a spokesperson for the American firm told The Verge.

Harley vaguely described the issue as a glitch in the final quality checks, according to Reuters. The firm quickly asked existing customers to charge at their nearest dealership, not at home, while it looked into the matter. Concrete details about the problem, or what could happen if customers continued to use the supplied charger, weren’t provided. Now that production is underway again, customers are free to plug-in their bike at home.

The entire Livewire project has not gone well for Harley-Davidson. Introduced at CES 2019, the company’s first fully electric bike has been delayed, and it has received extensive criticism for being too expensive, and a slow seller. All this for a bike that has the expectations of saving Harley, and bringing younger riders to the storied, Milwaukee-based brand.

Reuters spoke with 40 of the 150 dealerships selling the bike, and it learned the majority of Livewire buyers are existing Harley riders, not the young, hip, and wealthy first-timers the company is hoping to attract. The new riders who inquired about the bike lost interest in it after they learned it costs as much as a nicely equipped family crossover. “Interest is very high, but once you get to the pricing, interest is thrown out the window,” said a sales manager at a dealership in New Jersey.

There’s little indication that Harley is willing to offer discounts or incentives, according to the same report, presumably because it spent a fortune developing a flagship product from scratch, and it understandably wants to recoup its investment. To add context, many of the company’s gasoline-powered 2020 bikes start under $20,000.

Updated on October 21, 2019: Added information about production resuming.

Editors' Recommendations

Adam Kaslikowski
Former Digital Trends Contributor
I don't have oil in my veins, but I do have it all over my carpets and clothes. Over my 10-year journalistic career, my…
The Kia EV3 could be the cheap electric SUV we’ve been waiting for
White Kia EV3

The Kia EV9 was already one of the cheapest ways to get an electric SUV, but now the company is taking things to the next level. After teasing the Kia EV3 last year, the car is now official.

The EV3 is built to be a slightly smaller, cheaper version of the EV9 -- following the path of the Rivian R2, which arrived after the Rivian R1S. It's certainly not as technologically advanced as the EV9, but it still looks unmistakably like a modern Kia, and is clearly a sibling of the larger SUV. On the outside, the vehicle has the same split taillights and very similar Tiger Face front. But it is quite a bit smaller. The vehicle will be available in nine finishes -- however only "Aventurine Green" and "Terracotta" are being announced right now.

Read more
Kia EV3: release date, performance, range, and more
White Kia EV3

Kia is on a roll. Hot on the heels of the success of the Kia EV6 and EV9, the company is already announcing what could be its cheapest electric vehicle yet -- the Kia EV3.

The Kia EV line seems to follow the rule of lower numbers indicating a lower price — and if so, the EV3 will end up being the cheapest electric car Kia has released to date. That, however, thankfully doesn’t mean that the EV3 will be a low-end car — it just means that Kia may be pushing the boundaries on electric car pricing.

Read more
Kia EV3 vs Tesla Model Y: Can Kia’s new entry-level car take on Tesla?
White Kia EV3

The Kia EV3 is finally coming, and it could well end up being the best small-size electric SUV to buy when it finally rolls out. It's smaller than the Kia EV9, but it offers many of the same design elements and features. But there's another small-size electric car that's currently one of the most popular vehicles out there -- the Tesla Model Y.

How does the Kia EV3 compare with the Tesla Model Y? And is one vehicle actually better than the other? We put the Kia EV3 and the Tesla Model Y head-to-head to find out.
The design of the Kia EV3 is very different than that of the Model Y, though they're both reasonably good-looking vehicles.

Read more