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LIveWire Motorcycles needs a Honda moment.

294 Views 8 Replies 4 Participants Last post by  Octane_Deficient
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I am moving comments from the YouTube video to here so we can get some discussion going.

Given the quarterly where LW reported 21 sales a month and that this was in line with expectations one can only assume that Zeitz intentionally wants to kill Harley Davidson. They planned to sell 21 according to the quarterly filing. You can’t make this up.
This space in vehicle niches, i.e. full sized electric motorcycles, is very problematic. How to market it is a complicated question. One could look to Tesla as to how to tolerate losing billions while developing a new market and ultimately succeeding wildly for cues.

Let's start with the basics, though while keeping an eye on Tesla. Tesla, for all intents and purposes has made filling an electric car within a barely tolerable time frame to that of a gasoline car. It's acceptable for general public use. Therefore, Harley must immediately fix charging incompatibilities. Immediately. There is no flexibility here.

I believe all the FPL charging stations installed at service plazas on Florida's Turnpike are 100% incompatible with the LiveWire and have been incompatible since these Spanish stations went in three years ago, this perfectly demonstrates that HD has no clue about electric vehicles and what makes them usable.

Florida is the second biggest state for motorcycles and HD can't get it right here. There is no state more amenable to electric motorcycles than Florida. Consistent temperatures year round that never hinder the battery on the low side or the high side, flat roads everywhere and 250 days of sun a year in Miami. There is no more ideal a place for EVs than here. And yet Harley cannot get it right with a state government to make sure that their bikes can go from south Florida to Orlando and [the state] have engineered waypoints to charge on a consistent charger platform [that they specified]. The only way it gets easier is if you own the charging network like Tesla does. Huge, tone deaf, f'ing fail for HD.

They should immediately refresh the LW1 with a charger capable of accepting the CCS standard max power of 350 kW (This may mean a new battery architecture but would result in a higher range capacity with newer tech batteries) and compatibility with every major brand DC charger in at least CA, FL and TX. That way the charge time goes from nominally 60 minutes down to nominally 5 minutes. Now, the bike is usable even with it's 70 mile highway battery capacity.

They are stupid as shit for not fixing charging incompatibilities first so that hour charges are possible wherever there's a CCS charger so that those hardened individuals can actually make a journey. I have been stranded twice while making trips around Lake Ocheechobee and an I-95/Turnpike run from Broward up to Daytona Beach where I needed to go off line for 10 hours to L1 charge. Then, they need to utilize the extent of the CCS standard to get charging time down from 60 minutes to 5 minutes.

As a side, the feds should ban any CCS equipted vehicle that is not 350 kW capable from using the public charging network and not certify any new vehicles that don't have this capability. The crunch on the limited CCS stations is going to get horrible and is unnecessary. It's criminal to make somebody wait an hour for a limited station because I charge at 22 kW when the Hyundia or whatever can put three times the range in their car in 15 minutes. This is a flagrant waste of a limited resource and a resource Musk knew was the only way his Teslas would work as a household appliance which is why he built and perfected his network while there were only 1000s of Teslas on the road.

But, did Harley fix incompatibilities within 6 months of release back in 2020? No. They just implemented a release that I believe has crippled most EA stations 3 years later.

Also, as there are only 2000 of us LW owners, and we are technically the most sophisticated buyer in the USA, we should be actively solicited for input on how these 2000 beta test units are doing--if Harley is serious about 1. staying alive while losing 200 million a year and 2. wants EV MCs to be the future.

But, with the delmar did they learn anything? No, they don't even have L3 capability thus pushing the recharge time to over 70 minutes. How can they not understand how unacceptable and archaic this is after sinking about a billion dollars into developing this market? While a 350 kW recharges would still be more inconvenient than filling your fatboy at a gas station, it would be acceptable for the next 5 years or so until teslas 1 mW chargers obsolete 350 kW chargers.
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Regarding marketing, I have to disagree with Freedom is Everything on two of his consistent points. While every video he has produced is somewhat biblical canon on understanding the Livewire and will be some of the earliest produced valuable content on this whole new vehicle niche, he should have more than 417 subscribers given the quality of his work here.

His whole idea of selling the motorcycle's price as including the lifetime savings and not really the $ you put down at the Harley dealership to walk away with a bike is flawed and seems unethical, actually. First, I may be wrong, but FIE discounts that the CCS chargers are typically priced at about the equivalent price for a gallon of gasoline. For example, in FL a 90 mile charge costs about $6. Assuming about 45 miles a gallon, this is about 2 gallons. With 89 octane going for $3.30 a gallon, the cost to charge is a bit lower than the cost of gas but the cost is not free.

Secondly, the battery is not the fuel source. The CCS charger is the fuel source. The battery is the fuel tank and it is a very expensive tank as compared to a gasoline fuel tank. In fact, given that the LW has a fake fuel tank, already they have put some $ into the cost of the bike for a fuel tank which would make the actual fuel tank to cost even less than the battery.

Thirdly, I don't believe anybody thinks EVs are the future because they will bring us to a 215 ppm CO2 content or whatever the pre industrial revolution number was. It would be an interesting poll to find out how many people bought a livewire to date that think they are saving the world by moving the tailpipe emissions to some hydro dam that has a terrible impact on the ecosystem and are being dismantled, or a wind farm that slices up California Condors with reckless abandon, or solar farms in CA which coined the term "streamers" to describe the plume of smoke generated when a bird flying in the solar concentration envelope turns into nothing but atomized black smoke, or worse yet a coal or gas powered plant.

(It's woke to promote virtue in saving the earth by driving a Livewire. It's not true. Also, it's woke to have the anti-American band Green Day known for its popular song "American Idiot" headline at your 120 year anniversary bash. Go woke, go broke.) And if you look at the transformer banks, physical connections and rights of way to the power stations and station footprint necessary to refuel all the EVs in the US as well as the additional grid capacity needed to support a daily driver (fast recharge), then nobody is saving the world with their virtue.

A study should be done of the 2000 LW owners to find out why they bought their bikes and be made part of the marketing effort by Harley to sell more. So, get rid of the odd comparison of including a faulty assumption that electricity is free and the battery is the fuel source when comparing gas to electric bikes. In fact, as battery prices come down, the EV should be substantially cheaper than the cost of a gas car solely based on "take home" price. And without a doubt the only thing that typically needs to be replaced on EVs are rubber things. For my car, it's tires and windshield wipers. On my electric bikes, it's tires and drive belts. That savings is real. They are the closest thing to maintenance free that you can get today.
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I will say the DelMar is another Harley disaster in the making. The omission of 350 kW DC charging for a 2nd gen electric bike is fatal. Next, Harley should be exploiting a major developing market and that is South Florida.

The influx of Cubans fleeing the idiocy of Havana is at its highest level in history. In the past three years, the 800 - 1000 W electric scooter has become ubiquitous and is probably the largest form of privately owned transportation on the island, even over bicycles. This is for a number of reasons. The first, at this point gasoline is impossible to get. On the street, the going rate is about us$ 5/liter. This puts it at about $20 a gallon and this is in a country where the nominal monthly wage is $20 and a package of 30 eggs costs $8. So, the only alternative over walking or a bicycle at this point is the electric scooter.

Although many localities are seeing 5 hours a day of blackouts, there is still a reliable source of electricity available for charging your 30 mile battery and cell phone and LED lighting for home. And that given the nature of life in Cuba, a 30 mile daily range is suitable for 85% + of life's needs. They are well accustomed to electric urban motorcycles. Their adoption rate is infinitely higher than here in the US. Many of these newcomers would buy a HD branded electric bike if it were an inexpensive option as FIE is getting to in this video and know exactly how to use it. If it were way cheaper than a car, their first few years in the USA would be on such a bike. This market in Miami is at minimum 100k Cuban immigrants alone. Imagine if HD could sell a cheap electric motorcycle to only 1% of them? They would exceed their annual LW sales objective in a single urban market and provide immense "spark" for use of EMCs in other urban US markets. Further given LW's electric bicycles are more successful than their electric motorcycles, how difficult is it to make a Honda Dream type scooter similar to what they are used to in Cuba from their bicycle and motorcycle building experience.

There is nothing more marketable in terms of lifestyle than Miami in general (going back to the rich and famous image of Miami Vice) and the successful immigrant experience. No, not the immigrant experience but the first memory of the start of building the American dream. Imagine one of the first capital purchases you make is a HD? That's even more american than mom, chevrolet and apple pie.

Another aspect of marketing is to figure out why methuselahs like FIE and I am early adopters. We are exactly the $55k EVO "Bagger" type guy that HD has staked their immediate future on. They need to create a 300 mile, 350 kW charging MC and put it in a bagger or a trike chassis. Call it the CeVO and sell it for $45k in the 1000+ unit range per year that one of their limited CVOs sells for. Market that livestyle which fuses the "buy harley because it's historic legacy" mentality with the sophisticated reasons why any of the 2000 LW buyers bought their bikes.
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One more point that wasn't covered in the comments in the YouTube video. I have taken three test rides on Livewires. One, an ELW where i got a poster, a LiveWire tee shirt and the bike costed $32k. After the test ride, I was never asked by anybody if I liked it, would like get info on financing, etc., Nobody asked me to buy the bike which is unfathomable. It's one thing to be "time share" aggressive but another thing to let somebody walk away without the ask.

Then, when the truck was in Miami, I took two test drives at different locations. Neither resulted in any post ride discussion and glaringly after 3 test rides I was never asked if I would consider buying a LiveWire. Crazy enough, I got this beautiful card which preregistered me for future test rides. It's as if making it easy to give away unlimited test rides was the marketing objective and not actually selling LiveWires.

It's probably one of the major reasons they only sold 21 bikes total in 50 states per month for the last three months. Are Jochen and LiveWire Group asleep at the wheel while hundreds of millions of dollars are burning?

In the end, I liked the orange and yellow fuse colors more than less flashy paint schemes of the LW1 so I bought an ELW with 500 miles on it privately for $18k. I figure this was about $6k cheaper than new including dealer prep fees and whatnot. So, LiveWire Group in effect lost the sale because they didn't ask for it.
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They should race them. Create a LiveWire series and follow the new Bagger series around the US. It's helped Energica I'm sure.
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Wow Octane_Deficient

Don’t sugar coat it.
I’m going to step out on the ledge with you.
I smell what you’re stepping in.
H-D in my opinion did an amazing job with the Livewire, but there is definitely more to be done. But if they don’t get the marking right, there definitely won’t be any more done.
I didn’t buy the Livewire to save the earth, I bought the Livewire because I like to ride, ride for the thrill of riding, and I have never ridden anything like the Livewire. All you hear is the wind, Whine and the friction between the tires contact patch and the pavement. It’s not for everyone, but to me, there is just something about being able to move your body from one point to another in such a smooth, quick and quiet way, it’s sensory unload or at least you are allowed to use your senses in a much different way.
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One hundred percent. I got my first ChargePoint card 8 years ago so I have been electric for a long time. I want all of them to succeed and "saving the earth" has f-all to do with it. If they do "save the earth", great. Then it's win win win all around. They are a technological marvel. Every time I get on my LW, I fall more in love with it and I have been on motorcycles since 1978. It's amazing the mistakes Zeitz is making. Harley has probably invested close to a billion dollars in R&D and the subsequent losses over the past three years of sales and has resulted in the sale of 21 units a month. If the DelMar is not a huge success the ancient company will be out of electric for ever. The next couple of months are the do or die moment for Harley and electric.
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