Harley-Davidson suffered another setback with its first-ever battery-electric motorcycle, LiveWire, stopping production of new cycle due to a production problem.
The Milwaukee-based motorcycle maker discovered a “non-standard condition” with LiveWire, forcing the company to conduct additional testing and analysis. Harley officials did not offer a time frame when production will resume.
LiveWire, which started hitting dealer showrooms earlier this month, has faced a slew of issues since its debut. The $29,799 motorcycle is designed to attract new younger buyers to the brand. However, that hasn’t happened, and early sales have missed internal targets.
Early returns suggest that Harley dealers are getting inquiries from young customers, but the price is a problem, Reuters reported. The price is only slightly less than a Chevy Bolt or a Nissan Leaf.
“Interest is very high,” said a sales manager at a New Jersey-based dealership, who declined to be named because he was not authorized to speak to media. “But once you get to pricing, interest is thrown out of the window.”
Additionally, the bikes have a limited range: Just 96 miles in combined driving, although it does jump to 146 miles in the city, and recharging the bike takes time. Riders are used to much longer range and the ability to splash and dash to carry on with their trips.
Another problem is that the cycles were shipped to dealers almost two months late, leaving Midwest and East Coast dealers just a month or so to sell the bikes before cold weather sets in. A few dealers have opted out of selling the new e-bike because of the costs associated with selling, including installing a charging station.
Analysts have estimated Harley would sell between 400 and 1,600 LiveWires in its first year, which would account for less than 1% of the total number of motorcycles it sells in a year. In 2018, Harley sold 228,051 motorcycles.
The company also faces stiff competition from Zero Motorcycles and its new SR/F model. The bike offers more range, 161 miles, and a much lower sticker price at $18,995. It also offers five other styles of e-motorcycles in different price ranges.