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Harley-Davidson LiveWire hits short circuit

Harley-Davidson LiveWire electric motorcycle short circuit minutes enevate

Harley-Davidson’s electric LiveWire motorcycle has hit a metaphorical short circuit with production stopped for a “nonstandard condition” involving the home charger.

The company has asked owners only to charge their bikes with the DC fast charger supplied at some HD dealerships.

Harley-Davidson LiveWire electric motorcycleHarley-Davidson's electric LiveWire short circuit
LiveWires on DC fast chargers

There is no other information from the company.

Even though it doesn’t arrive in Australia until late next year, we asked Harley-Davidson Australia for comment and received an unusual stoney silence.

A couple of days later, they responded with this statement:

As we lead in the electrification of motorcycles, we have delivered our first LiveWire motorcycles to authorized LiveWire dealers. We recently discovered a non-standard condition during a final quality check; stopped production and deliveries; and began additional testing and analysis, which is progressing well. We are in close contact with our LiveWire dealers and customers and have assured them they can continue to ride LiveWire motorcycles. As usual, we’re keeping high quality as our top priority.

We also asked abut the number of Aussie orders and how many dealers were installing the DC fast charger and received this response:

We are not in a position to share any specific details and we are currently working closely with our dealer network as we get ready to welcome what will be a very exciting product for Australian and New Zealand customers.

Without specific details, we speculate that the home chargers could overheat causing a fire.

In March, the entire fleet of 18 Energica electric motorcycles for the MotoE series were destroyed in a blaze that was blamed on a short circuit in one of the charging units.

electric garage fire energica short circuit
Energica garage explodes in flame

Electric fires

Electric vehicle and charger fires can be caused by short-circuits, power surges, impact, excessive discharge or overheating.

They also cause special concerns for fire fighters.

Lithium batteries are obviously made with lithium which is highly flammable and stored in mineral oil.

short circuit
Tesla goes up in flames

While it is not toxic, it can cause nausea, diarrhoea, dizziness, muscle weakness, fatigue and a dazed feeling.

Electric vehicle and battery fires can also release sulphuric acid, carbon monoxide, copper and cobalt.

Fire fighters can’t douse the flames with water as the high voltage can cause an electric shock or electrocution.

Instead, they have to disconnect the power supply (usually an orange plug) and contain the fire to let it burn itself out.

LiveWire short circuit

Harley-Davidson LiveWire electric motorcycle electric highways short circuit
Riding the LiveWire in Orgeon

This short circuit to Harley’s electric motorcycle program follows a month delay in deliveries to US dealerships where it has created a lot of interest, but not a lot of sales.

Buyers are apparently baulking at the $US29,990 price (about $A44,000).

Some dealers are even rejecting the expensive DC fast-charger installation which is a requirement of being able to sell the bike.

PR exercise

So Harley has two major PR exercises going at the moment to rescue the LiveWire.

Charley Boorman and Ewan McGregor are currently shooting Long Way Up from the bottom to the top of the Americas, riding LiveWire motorcycles.

Charley and Ewan adventure on LiveWire
Ewan and Charley pack their LiveWire bikes for the trip

And now HD has brought in Hollywood action star Jason Momoa who plays Aquaman and Khal Drogo to test ride the bike.

“Harley wanted me to test one of the new LiveWires, I was kind of like ehhh. I like the idea of it but I wanted to hear it,” says Jason who is more at home on pushrod fuel burners.

While filming on the Gold Coast in 2017, he took delivery of a Softail.

Now he says he is stoked by the electric bike.

“I have never been on anything this fast, it kind of blew my mind,” he says.

“I am in love with it, it’s amazing and I look forward to the future of many more of these bikes.

“It’s so fast, faster than I need, it’s amazing. It’s good for the planet, beautiful, we’re moving with the times.

“Best part is, it’s the future. You can have this and your old one. It’s amazing.”

Harley is going to need a lot of star power to help the LiveWire over this current short circuit!

  1. Interesting the report reads rather negatively toward the whole Livewire product, yet Jason Momoma seems happy enough with it, and it’s not like other bikes don’t get recalls, and that’s on well established technology…

  2. If Jason Momma wants one, he can buy one, although I think he should explain how lithium mining is good for the planet. If only every Youtube/Facebook/Twitter “like” was a pre-order/sale, wouldn’t Harley Davidson be happy, eh.

  3. Harley-Davidson has to figure out why one of their bikes short circuited and caught on fire why would Harley-Davidson not recall their motorcycles to make sure these motorcycles won’t catch on fire like the first one I saw on Facebook and the firefighters couldn’t put the fire out there’s something to hide especially when they say you can’t use the charging cord to plug into an AC adapter or plug in your home the other thing is 29,000 is quite expensive lower the price by $3,000 and you’ll have more sales I’m looking to buy one of these bikes cuz they’re awesome but I don’t want to ride it and burst into flames either Harley-Davidson and I’m a Harley-Davidson Rider who lives the biker lifestyle what do you have to hide recall your bikes fix the problem lower the price sales will skyrocket

  4. Totally an awesome bike if you want newer riders to buy this bike you have to make it be more affordable for existing Harley-Davidson riders and newer younger riders drop the price by $3,000 and sales was skyrocketing 29,000 is too much don’t be stupid they want to sell this bike or not

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