If you are into electric motorcycles, you should be excited, because Harley Davidson spinoff company Livewire has announced the release of its latest model, the DelMar.
The excitement brewing inside my head is not because the bike has transcended the gulf to electric motorcycle perfection, but because a mid-range bike, and leveraging new investment partner Kymco’s manufacturing capabilities, is the next logical step towards better and cheaper electric motorcycles.
The DelMar had its official launch in the US this week and notably, according to the official website, all 100 limited edition launch bikes sold out in the first 18 minutes. The styling harks back to HD’s impeccable heritage as a Flat Track racer with a touch of Gen X.
Del Mar facts and figures
Details on the bike are somewhat limited, but here is what we do know:
- Launch price of $US17,699 with a target price of around $US15,000 when full production commences in early 2023
- 0-100kmh in 3.5seconds
- Range of 160km (city)
- 190kg dry weight
- 80hp/60kW motor
- Integrated GPS and Cellular connectivity (US only I suspect)
- Level 1 & 2 charging
The drive train assembly will be done in Milwaukee Wisconsin and motorcycle assembly in York Pennsylvania, both existing Harley Davidson factories, presumably leveraging off the expertise of the team building the Livewire models.
Production will allegedly shift to Taiwan under Kymco for the full production version next year, no doubt the main driver for the forecast price reduction.
The Del Mar is based on the all new “Arrow” platform announced in investor presentations some months ago. This is designed to allow a modular range of bikes to be constructed on a common platform.
Intelligently, the design utilises the battery case as a virtual chassis with other primary components attached to the main case. Electronics, including the charger, controller, inverter and so on are all housed on an external case. Allegedly, build time is 44% faster than the Livewire on this new platform.
The battery capacity has not been declared yet (I’m guessing 8-10kWh) and uses 21700 format cells. It is not clear if these differ from the Livewire or whether they are from Samsung SDI who supplied the batteries for the earlier models.
The battery cooling appears to retain the air-cooled fin strategy, and a small radiator is in place, presumably for the electronics and motor aka the Livewire.
We also know that they have removed the helical drive gear which the Livewire is equipped with, instead opting for a direct belt drive.
Will the Del Mar live up to the Livewire?
At a predicted production price of around $US15,000, the DelMar should be a respectable competitor for other mid-range bikes in this category, such as the well proven Zero S.
It’s around the same weight and power, but boasts faster off the line performance and similar range. It will be a much tougher sell against the same marques flagship models (SRS/SRF) which boast much higher range.
However, it is (in launch versions at least) fitted with much higher specification Brembo monobloc brakes. This appears to be fitted to higher end suspension than its competitors.
Hopefully, it will be of the same calibre as the Livewire’s big piston gear. It is also equipped with GPS and cellular capability for OTA updates. Frankly, every electric vehicle should have in my opinion, but I suspect this will be for US customers only.
Although we don’t know the full specs yet, the lack of DC fast-charging is universally recognised as a massive missed opportunity and a major disappointment. You can live with a small battery and still get a range of use cases IF you can fast charge. Without it, you are well and truly stuck in the city limits.
Compromises suck, but clearly, the smaller battery and presumably lower voltage just aren’t capable of meeting the minimum voltage specifications of the DCFCs.
Where it’s most likely to succeed against its competitors is with Harley Davidsons brand heritage, strength and superior ride quality, if the Livewire is anything to go by.
It’s hard to tell definitively from the images but the flat tracker styling looks pretty nice at first glance with just enough contemporary styling to win the youth who are the target market for this bike.
Bring it on!