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Battle looms on big electric motorcycles

Big electric motorcycle battle looms

The big electric motorcycle battle is looming this year between Harley-Davidson with its expensive LiveWire and Zero Motorcycles who are launching a new “effortlessly powerful” naked bike.

But Australia will be at least another year or more behind. Harley-Davidson Australia won’t introduce the LiveWire, predicted to cost more than $40,000, until 2020. Zero Motorcycles pulled the plug on Australia in 2017 with no hint of a return just yet.

Big battle

Harley electric LiveWire battle
Harley LiveWire

Other motorcycle manufacturers have electric models in the pipeline and there is a myriad of startup electric motorcycle companies.

However, the focus this year will be on the big battle between Harley and Zero.

Harley is one of the biggest road bike manufacturers in the world and Zero is the biggest electric motorcycle company.

LiveWire V SR/F

The LiveWire is clearly aimed at the top end of the market with premium components and a price tag to match.

Zero’s new naked bike will be launched on February 25, 2019.

Even though it’s called the SR/F which sounds like a version of the SR model, Zero’s recent teaser Tweet says it is “an entirely new platform”.

Big electric motorcycle battle looms

“More than a new model, SR/F is an entirely new platform. The SR/F provides an effortlessly powerful experience in the naked street bike category,” Zero Tweeted.

It was accompanied by the above teaser photo of the LED headlight.

The latest teaser photo is a side-on view.Zero SR/F Battle looms on big electric motorcycles

When Zero pulled the plug on Australian imports, their fleet ( Zero S, SR, DS, DSR, FX and FXS) ranged in price from $18,000 to $25,000 on the road. 

2017 Zero motorcycles have increased range 360km hit battle
2017 Zero motorcycles

Undoubtedly the SR/F will cost a lot less than the Harley LiveWire which will be available for sale in North America and Europe in the third quarter of this year for $US29,799 ($A41,699) plus on-road costs.

That is about the same price Americans pay for a top-of-the-line Ultra Limited tourer with luggage, infotainment and all the bells and whistles. (In Australia, an Ultra Limited costs $A40,995 ride away.)

Expensive electrics

That’s still not as much as the world’s fastest electric motorcycle, the 351km/h Lightning Motorcycle LS-218 at $US38,888 (about $A51,150).

And it’s way short of the Curtiss electric motorcycles coming this year.

Their Zeus Bobber and Cafe will each cost $US60,000 (about $A83,000, £46,845, €53,000) with a holding deposit of $US6000.

The aluminium and carbon bikes have 140kW of power, 196Nm of torque and maximum range of 450km although they don’t indicate how that was achieved.

They are scheduled for delivery in 2020.

Meanwhile, we will be watching the battle between Harley and Zero for the hearts and minds of the early adopters of electric motorcycle technology.