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Harley-Davidson unveils Livewire specs and prices, shows off 3 new urban electric motorbikes

I’m so impressed with the advent of the electric motorcycle I just had to share. It’s amazing to me how fast these are coming to market and how this traditional motorcycle maker is diversifying their product offering to be a part of the future economy of ours where electric transportation is one of it’s pillars.

Harley-Davidson has been teasing its electric motorcycle LiveWire for over four years, and just recently announced plans for an expanded portfolio of electric motorbikes. Today they delivered on the first step of their promises in a big way.

The company is showing off not only the previously unveiled LiveWire electric motorcycle, but also two new electric two-wheelers at CES 2019 in Las Vegas. On top of the dramatic unveiling, Harley-Davidson has unveiled more specs regarding the LiveWire including the retail price and opened up pre-orders, with deliveries planned for this fall.

 

Harley-Davidson LiveWire specs revealed and pre-orders open

Harley-Davidson promised us an electric motorcycle in 2019 and it looks like they are ready to stand by their word.

The LiveWire electric motorcycle is now available for pre-order at H-D.com/LiveWire.

Prepare yourself, the retail price of the newest American-made electric motorcycle has been set at $29,799.

Details about the mechanical tech specs of the LiveWire have been slowly dripping out for months. These include high quality Brembo brakes, fully adjustable Showa suspension, Michelin sport tires, cornering-enhanced anti-lock brakes, traction control, etc. It’s a premium bike for a premium customer. Meanwhile, Harley-Davidson has been much more tight-lipped about the electrical specs.

Today though they lifted the curtain just a bit to reveal the LiveWire’s estimated all-electric range: approximately 110 miles (177 km) of mixed city/highway riding. I did my best to work the kWh size of the battery out of Paul James, the Director of Motorcycle Planning at Harley-Davidson and one of only a select few to have any substantial saddle time on the bike, but he was admirably cagey. Paul indicated that the battery capacity and exact motor power might still undergo small changes before production, so the final numbers haven’t been revealed yet.

To get an indication, the closest comparable electric motorcycle on the market is probably the Zero SR. The SR offers a 120 mile (193 km) mixed city/highway range with a 14.4 kWh pack. Thus the low to mid-teens could be a possible kWh rating for the LiveWire considering it is likely a slightly heavier bike.

The LiveWire sports a 0-60 mph time of 3.5 seconds – a bit quicker than a Zero SR as well. The Zero SR features a 52 kW motor, so the LiveWire may be packing a little more power between your knees. And remember that this is a twist-and-go electric motorcycle without a clutch or gears. That torque is always there and instantly available whenever you open the throttle.

Another feature Harley-Davidson is keen to demonstrate is the highly connected nature of the bike. The company developed a suite of connected services enabled by an LTE-connected Telematics Control Unit hidden under the bike’s seat. The unit enables a rider’s smartphone to access everything from remote status checks, battery charging status and time to completion, trip planning, theft or vandalism notification, GPS tracking, service reminders, diagnostics and more.

According to the company:

“This technology makes the LiveWire motorcycle the first North American mass-market cellular-connected electric motorcycle.”

Harley-Davidson is also in the process of preparing their dealerships for the new electric motorcycle. The company plans to have at least one dealership in all 50 states carrying the LiveWire, and more in large metropolitan areas. In order for dealers to carry the LiveWire, they must meet a list of requirements including most importantly installing DC fast charging on-site and maintaining a dedicated staff of LiveWire sales reps.

Harley-Davidson received such an enthusiastic response from dealers regarding the LiveWire that they are still in the process of narrowing down options and deciding which dealerships will get the new electric motorcycles.

If you had any doubt about Harley-Davidson’s commitment to bring an electric motorcycle to market, it should be pretty much crushed by now. The company said 2019 would be the year, and so far they have started off the year strong.

As Harley-Davidson CEO Matt Levatich reaffirmed:

“We’re at a historic juncture of the evolution of transportation, and Harley-Davidson is at the forefront. Innovation that moves the body and soul has always been at the heart of our brand, and this next chapter in our history is about creating products and opportunities for existing and aspiring riders of all ages and walks of life.”

Harley-Davidson unveils two new electric motorbike prototypes

On any other day, the LiveWire’s new specs and beginning of pre-sales would be the biggest story here, but Harley-Davidson may have upstaged themselves with the unveiling of two new bikes.

As part of the More Roads to Harley-Davidson plan unveiled last summer, the company showed off concept art for four new electric vehicles including a lightweight electric motorcycle, an electric moped, an electric dirt bike and an electric bicycle.

Today Harley-Davidson unveiled prototypes for two of the four: the dirt bike and the moped.

These are just prototypes, mind you, so the specs are sparse and they don’t even have names yet. So far they appear to be referred to internally as the HD Electric Concept 1 (dirt bike) and HD Electric Concept 2 (scooter).

Just looking at the vehicles reveals a number of clues. The dirt bike is outfitted with large 3-4″ off-road tires, an inverted front suspension fork, rear hydraulic reservoir suspension, a low-slung motor case that appears to perform double duty as a structural frame member, belt drive and a seat that says to me “you’ll be standing on the pegs most of the time”.

The frame mounted battery sports a grab handle on top which seems to imply removability. That would allow for quick swaps at the track or in the field to increase riding time.

Large gauge battery wires could hint at some serious power levels, or could just be thick insulation. It’s too early to tell on that front.

The dirt bike could have the market nearly cornered in the US after the recent shuttering of Alta Motors, the only other US-based electric dirt bike manufacturer.

As exciting as the dirt bike is, the scooter is particularly interesting and further demonstrates Harley-Davidson’s intentions of entering the urban electric mobility market. With a mini-bike frame resembling other e-bikes and scooters such as those by Lithium Cycles and Juiced’s Scramblers, it appears to offer Vespa-scooter utility without the chic European styling of Vespa-esque scooters.

Again, no specs have been provided, but we can speculate from looking at the vehicles. On the scooter I see another inverted suspension fork, but no discernible rear suspension. A lack of rear suspension would make for a somewhat bumpier ride, though it would significantly reduce the price. And those giant street tires would absorb a large portion of road shock as well.

The motor isn’t visible but we can see a massive rear pulley and belt drive, indicating that the torque on this thing could be pretty impressive.

Lights include an impressive looking front LED halo headlight and a rear LED bar tail light. No turn signals are visible.

Oddly, only a front disc brake is visible, presumably leaving the rear with regenerative braking actuated by the same brake lever. That would rule out independent brake control – an interesting choice for a two-wheeled vehicle.

The battery also sports a handle, indicating a large and removable battery pack. That is becoming a standard feature on nearly all new electric scooters and mopeds. A removable battery allows those without a private garage or other charging facility at home to leave their bike outside and charge the battery indoors. It also allows owners to charge indoors during cold weather spells, which is better for battery life.

The running boards on Harley-Davidson’s scooter concept are perhaps the most striking, and appear to be just a skateboard deck cut in half and bolted to the side. They seem to betray the otherwise sleek design of the vehicle. But again, this is just a prototype.

Jennifer Hoyer from Harley-Davidson’s Media Relations described in an email to Electrek who these new electric prototypes are targeting:

“Both electric concepts provide enhanced attainability for customers around the world. These premium entry level concepts widen accessibility both for new audiences, and the traditional Harley-Davidson customer. Our goal for these concepts is to not require a motorcycle license to operate and feature clutch-free operation, lowering the learning curve and increasing access to attract new riders in the process. With an intended light weight target for each concept, agility and maneuverability are at the core of their riding experience and ease of use.”

That last clue regarding a lack of motorcycle license likely reveals a bit more about the vehicles. The dirt bike might not be street legal and the scooter could be limited to 30 mph which would make it a “moped class” vehicle not requiring a separate motorcycle license in many US states and countries.

All three vehicles are currently on display at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) 2019 in Las Vegas. For the lucky few that get a chance to see them in the flesh, you surely won’t be disappointed.

Electrek’s Take

I’m really excited. Seeing the Harley-Davidson LiveWire begin sales and learning more electric specs is great, and the unveiling of two new prototypes is like a cherry on top of this exciting announcement.

I’m continuously impressed by the commitment Harley-Davidson is showing to incorporating electric vehicles into their lineup. The concepts are likely still at least a couple of years away from commercial availability, but they show that Harley-Davidson is intent on charging forward into the brave new world of EVs.

Let’s talk about the LiveWire first. A range of 110 miles means that while you can take it out for a pleasure cruise on winding back country roads, it’s going to more at home as an urban bike.

And yea, it’s also expensive. Like, really expensive.

$30k is a lot for any vehicle, let alone a motorcycle. But remember that this is likely to be a lower volume production run, so there is some scarcity at play here. It’s also a premium motorcycle with premium components. Lastly, you’re of course paying for that bar and shield logo as well.

I just hope there are enough people willing to fork over the cash for this unique electric motorcycle. Without strong demand, it will be hard to convince Harley-Davidson’s execs to keep moving forward with the four other electric motorbikes in their portfolio.

But any way you slice it, this is a premium early adopter’s electric motorcycle. It’s meant for someone who would ride a Zero, but wants something a bit more special and can afford to pay for its unique-factor.

I asked Harley-Davidson’s VP of Product Portfolio Marc McAllister about who he sees as the intended market. While Harley-Davidson would love to see some of their existing base become interested in the LiveWire, and indeed some have, Marc sees the bike’s market largely as a new group of riders who never before considered buying a Harley.

I think that’s exactly who this bike is for – a new breed of Harley riders. And it’s that new market that could be what saves Harley-Davidson and helps it return to its once epic sales record.

The two new prototypes are perhaps even more intriguing for me because they are such a stark contrast to what Harley-Davidson does. With the death of Alta Motors, there’s a void in the market for electric dirt bikes. It’ll be great to see what Harley’s attempt brings and I’m on the edge of my seat awaiting tech specs.

And the scooter? Wow, talk about a new direction for Harley-Davidson. I can see why they didn’t start with this one, but if the LiveWire does well then I can see a market for it. There are other likely cheaper options for electric scooters in the US, but none will have Harley’s pedigree. I’ve long advocated for electric scooters and mopeds as perfect urban commuter vehicles, so seeing a new offering from Harley-Davidson is a very exciting prospect.

What do you think of all of these new announcements coming from Harley-Davidson? Let us know in the comments below. And check out the following video to see my own analysis of Harley-Davidson’s new EVs.

Honda delays its fun retro-looking all-electric vehicle to 2020

Honda’s first next-gen all-electric vehicle was supposed to go on sale this year, but the production has been pushed to “early 2020” and we might have to temper our expectations when it comes to availability, according to a new rep.

Back in 2017, Honda Motor Co. President and CEO, Takahiro Hachigo, unveiled the “Urban EV Concept”, a small retro-looking all-electric vehicle, and said during his speech:

“This is not some vision of the distant future; a production version of this car will be here in Europe in 2019,”

Now Auto News Europe reports that it will actually go on sale next year.

Interestingly, the report claims that Honda is planning to show two iterations of the vehicle before starting production.

They say that the Japanese automaker plans to unveil a new version of the concept at the Geneva auto show in March and then the production version at the Frankfurt show.

Here’s the original concept vehicle that Honda unveiled in Frankfurt back in 2017:

The report also states that Honda is only planning to sell about 5,000 units per year in Europe, which could mean that they are aiming for the vehicle to only be a compliance car – like the electric version of the Clarity.

Honda has been taking a more tentative approach to electrification by focusing more on hybrid vehicles than fully electric ones.

The Japenese automaker also unveiled an all-electric sports car concept based on the new electric platform and with a similar design language as the retro-looking urban, but it didn’t announce any official plan to bring the vehicle to production.

Nonetheless, Honda is reportedly still interested in all-electric vehicles.

Last year, GM and Honda announced that they are partnering to build next-gen batteries for electric vehicles and the automaker is reportedly working on an affordable all-electric Fit-based car with China’s biggest battery maker.

Lucid Motors to Provide Customers with Access to Electrify America’s Ultra-Fast Charging Network

Lucid Motors has entered into a preliminary agreement with Electrify America to provide Lucid customers a nationwide charging plan. By the end of June of 2019, Electrify America will install or have under construction over 2,000 DC ultra-fast chargers at nearly 500 sites in metro and highway locations across 40 states and 17 major cities.

Lucid selected Electrify America after an extensive evaluation and cited Electrify America’s DC power levels of up to 350kW and network coverage as key selection criteria. Lucid was also attracted by Electrify America’s premium charging experience, providing EV drivers with safe and convenient charging locations that offer amenities like shopping, food, and restrooms.

Lucid’s first vehicle, the Lucid Air sedan, will begin production in 2020. “We are excited to be working with Electrify America given its extensive charging network and aggressive growth plans. The groundbreaking battery technology we developed for the Lucid Air allows class leading EPA range and ultra-fast charging with minimal cell degradation. Combining our technology with Electrify America’s network provides our customers with a comprehensive charging solution for their everyday lives,” said Peter Rawlinson, Chief Technology Officer of Lucid.

Electrify America is investing $2 billion over ten years in zero emission vehicle (ZEV) infrastructure, education, and awareness initiatives to help drive ZEV adoption. “Electrify America is proud to provide Lucid and its customers with our ultra-fast charging,” said Giovanni Palazzo, President and CEO, Electrify America. “Our high-powered, nationwide network of chargers is a great match with the EV technology offered by Lucid and a further opportunity to expand electric vehicle adoption in the U.S.”

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This article was originally published on

Lucid Signs $1bn+ Investment Agreement with Public Investment Fund of Saudi Arabia

Here it is, a major investment into electric transportation by a government that wants a big piece of the new economy’s electric transportation sector. Telsa, who is the undisputed leader in electric automotive transportation may now have some competition. It looks like there will be a two year buffer to get all the production kinks worked out before there is any hint of a car to even roll off the production line for Lucid. Let’s see..this is going to be exciting!!

Lucid Motors announced today that it has executed a $1bn+ (USD) investment agreement with the Public Investment Fund of Saudi Arabia, through a special-purpose vehicle wholly owned by PIF.

Under the terms of the agreement, the parties made binding undertakings to carry out the transaction subject to regulatory approvals and customary closing conditions.

The transaction represents a major milestone for Lucid and will provide the company with the necessary funding to commercially launch its first electric vehicle, the Lucid Air, in 2020. Lucid plans to use the funding to complete engineering development and testing of the Lucid Air, construct its factory in Casa Grande, Arizona, begin the global rollout of its retail strategy starting in North America, and enter production for the Lucid Air.

Lucid’s mission is to inspire the adoption of sustainable energy by creating the most captivating luxury electric vehicles, centered around the human experience. “The convergence of new technologies is reshaping the automobile, but the benefits have yet to be truly realized. This is inhibiting the pace at which sustainable mobility and energy are adopted. At Lucid, we will demonstrate the full potential of the electric connected vehicle in order to push the industry forward,” said Peter Rawlinson, Chief Technology Officer of Lucid.

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Lucid and PIF are strongly aligned around the vision to create a global luxury electric car company based in the heart of Silicon Valley with world-class engineering talent. Lucid will work closely with PIF to ensure a strategic focus on quickly bringing its products to market at a time of rapid change in the automotive industry.

A spokesperson for PIF said, “By investing in the rapidly expanding electric vehicle market, PIF is gaining exposure to long-term growth opportunities, supporting innovation and technological development, and driving revenue and sectoral diversification for the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.”

The spokesperson added, “PIF’s international investment strategy aims to strengthen PIF’s performance as an active contributor in the international economy, an investor in the industries of the future and the partner of choice for international investment opportunities. Our investment in Lucid is a strong example of these objectives.”

This press release was originally published on SEP 17 2018 on www.lucidmotors.com

How Much Electricity Does It Take To Grow Marijuana? Colorado Cities Are Finding Out

Colorado’s appetite for lighting up requires a lot of lights, it turns out.Licensed marijuana growers traditionally cultivate their products indoors under very bright lights that suck a lot of electricity. With the release of the federal government’s Clean Power Plan looming, cities across the state are working to reduce their carbon footprint. Part of those efforts include persuading grows to reduce their power consumption.

Between 2012 and 2013, the latest data available, electricity use increased by 1.2 percent across the city and county of Denver. Commercial marijuana grows were responsible for nearly half of that uptick.

“We’re very keen to see what is increasing energy use, and to have half of that coming from the grow industry is definitely something we pay attention to,” said Sonrisa Lucero, a strategist for the Denver’s Office of Sustainability.

Denver marijuana grows used just 1.85 percent of the city’s overall electricity in 2013. But any uptick matters because the city set a voluntary goal to prevent total energy consumed from rising past its 2012 use levels. Lucero’s job is to make sure that energy efficiency is top of mind for new residents and businesses.

The city is working with marijuana grow operations to lower their electricity use. Or the industry may sort itself out: A growing number of outdoor and greenhouse grow operations in Colorado are emerging that could make indoor grows obsolete — or at least, less cost effective.

A $12,000 electricity bill

Colorado Harvest Company’s Flower Room No. 1 holds dozens of green plants thriving underneath 22 1,000-watt lamps.

(Nathaniel Minor/CPR News)

To understand just how much energy it takes to grow marijuana indoors, look no further than Colorado Harvest Company’s Flower Room No. 1.The room has dozens of green plants thriving underneath 22 1,000-watt lamps hanging from the ceiling. Each is the size of a small card table. An air-conditioning system prevents the lights from overheating.

“Running a cannabis company with indoor production means that you’re going to use more than your fair share of electricity,” said Tim Cullen, the company’s owner.

Cullen’s monthly electricity bill for the 10,000-square-foot warehouse runs a cool $12,000. Another marijuana grow reports spending nearly twice that amount. Cullen said he’s tried to reduce electricity use by using LED lights currently on the market, but they haven’t produced the results he needs.

“We just can’t suffer the losses of having a lower energy bill, but then not producing flowers,” he said.

Tim Cullen, the owner of the Colorado Harvest Company, stands in his grow facility in Denver on Wednesday, July 8, 2015.

(Nathaniel Minor/CPR News)

New LED technology under production could change this picture. But Cullen isn’t waiting for that to happen. Instead he’s building a greenhouse in Denver to commercially grow marijuana. From start to finish, the planning and construction is expected to take about six months.

Greenhouses blooming in Pueblo

Denver has about four commercial marijuana grow greenhouses. But Pueblo is leading the charge in the state, with 16 and counting. Some are small, but others cover as many as 50 acres.

Chris Markuson, director of economic development and GIS for Pueblo County, said shifting priorities are changing how and where marijuana is grown.

“At first the assumption was that the grow operations had to be tightly secured and hidden from public view,” he said. “Because the temperament of the community–and the society as a whole–has come around a little bit, the grow operations are not really seen with negative light. At least they’re not in Pueblo.”

It helps that Pueblo has marketed itself as a business-friendly lower-cost location to cultivate marijuana.

With about 30 marijuana grow businesses overall, Markuson said the majority are using “Pueblo sunshine” to grow product.

Energy use in the area is evolving with the industry. According to Black Hills Energy, which provides power to the city of Pueblo and parts of Pueblo County, 10 grow facilities used 2.1 million kWh in 2014. That’s 0.1 percent of the energy that Black Hills delivered to its Pueblo coverage area.

Laying the groundwork

As the marijuana industry evolves, Colorado cities are deciding how–or if–they want to manage the growing energy demands from the industry.

Denver isn’t considering regulations for the marijuana industry, but pushing LED lights to grows. In Boulder, the city and county are setting measures to require businesses offset their electricity use via subscription of renewable energy credits — things like community solar garden memberships.

Xcel is reportedly working with marijuana growers to update lighting so they’re as energy efficient as possible.

The attempts by utilities and cities fit into a larger movement under way right now, said Howard Geller with Boulder-based Southwest Energy Efficiency Project.

“We can have that economic growth without electricity use increasing,” he said. “That’s going to be beneficial economically and that will help us achieve our environmental goals.”

Denver and Boulder’s work with marijuana and other businesses could be a good warm-up lap for what’s to come. The Clean Power Plan rule, expected to be finalized later this summer, will put even more pressure on states to reduce carbon emissions. Some of that reduction will come from changing where our power comes from. But Geller expects another significant portion to come from things like switching out the lightbulbs.

“Energy efficiency is a strategy that can be implemented very quickly in terms of ramping up rebate and financing programs, education efforts,” said Geller. “Whereas building new power plants–or retrofitting old power plants–that kind of initiative will take years to implement.”

This article was originally published on July 10 2015 by BY GRACE HOOD of Colorado Public Radio
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