A little scooter or bike for bopping around town makes sense, and that is what you see in other countries. No one tours on an electric motorcycle, it just isn't viable. But until they conquer the range problem and an even bigger problem, fast recharge, I don't see it going much beyond the toy factor.
The LiveWire is a dud at the current price point and everything I have read seems to confirm that observation, it is landing with a resounding thud. I just don't see it as a practical mode of transportation for the average guy. Those with deep pockets and like the latest gizmo sure, have at it, but it is what it is, and extravagant mode of transportation seeking justification...
When you listen to the blurb for that fairly quick E bike, they make the point that there are much fewer parts involved. The frame brakes and suspension might be worth $2500.00. So does the batteries and motor, account for $27,500.00. I just bought a made in China concrete mixer. Figured the steel parts should last, and if the E motor fails, I can get a new decent one for not much money.
Something else I thought about. A while back I read that there is enough E power in the system for everyone to run an E bike or car, if they plugged in after the busy hours. The other day I read that we need about 30% more E power if everyone switched. In the US natural gas in replacing coal. The entire cycle must be considered. Is E power from natural gas, more environmentally sound, than producing gas form oil, and burning it in modern engines. The production of the different types of vehicles would also need to be considered.
Up here, we are working on a new hydro dam. But as we are against most everything, we are against this too. We are also against twining an existing pipe line, to provide fuel for the increasing amount of vehicles.
We are against selling oil to overseas markets, because that would involve more ships. More offshore fuel sales, would help Alberta and BC, who along with Ontario pay all the bills up here. Although lately with the loonie left at the helm, we are not paying our share.
A $5,000.00 E bike, with a half decent range, could do well as a daily commuter. The E powered bicycles are currently filling that market. The lack of a licence helps. But the insurance industry is wondering if they should have the mandatory liability, that cars and bikes are required to have. Our government insurance company is a failure. They lose tons of $$$, but make it up on volume because it is mandatory. And it is getting worsa by the day.
Tesla pioneered a program for "battery swapping" at dealers and charging stations they had built in some western states. This, in theory, solves a fair bit of the range problem, however they dropped the program due to the fact that only 3 people used the option during the test period.
I read that Harley D. mandated those dealers who wanted to sell the Livewire, install a Class C (fast, high voltage) charging station at their locations, which is a drop in the bucket, but an acknowledgment of the range issue.
But the vehicles we are supposed to be discussing here are BICYCLES, with a mandated top speed less than 20 in Europe and less than 25 here in the US. Certainly not something that most of us would consider as a first choice for a touring, or even a commuting machine. For a commuter in Tokyo, or the Netherlands, or New York City, who is replacing a vehicle that is now HUMAN powered, or looking at an end to riding the subway or public bus, these vehicles probably look like perfection.
I bet the break even period to recoup purchase price, for a subway commuter in NYC is something like 3 years.
When I first read about Harley's e-bikes (and even the electric balance bike), I thought they were out of their minds. Who would pay $2500-$5000 for an electric bicycle? Then it occurred to me that Harley might be trying to groom new riders. I know I personally was always looking for a little extra speed on my e-bike. I even fried my first bike running it too long and too hard at 36V (it was a 24V bike). With my current e-bike, 36V is fine--it is a legit Class 3 bike. But I still wanted something that could keep up with traffic for commuting so I got licensed and bought a Zero.
If Harley does trade-ins for their e-bikes, I could see people stepping up from a $5k e-bike to maybe a $10-15k e-motorcycle to eventually the $30k LiveWire.
Another path for Harley-Davidson is a plug-in hybrid. If they could combine their iconic sound with an electric motor for speeds < ~40MPH, that could be a game changer.
It's not just Harley-Davidson, other companies are looking to get into electric bicycles. Apparently Porsche is partnering with Rotwild to design a electric bike that's inspired by the Taycan electric car.
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