Harley-Davidson’s electric motorcycle brand LiveWire has a new e-motorcycle coming out this year, but the S2 Del Mar’s early 2023 launch has now been delayed to later this year.
The new LiveWire S2 Del Mar electric motorcycle was expected to ship as many as 7,000 units in 2023, but that estimate has been revised down to somewhere between 750 to 2,000 due to the delayed “second half of 2023” release.
LiveWire S2 Del Mar delayed
The LiveWire S2 is still expected to sell in much higher volume than the company’s existing LiveWire One electric motorcycle. The bike’s higher estimated demand is due to a lower selling price than the LiveWire One ($16,999 vs $22,700) and a larger appeal to younger, more urban riders.
The LiveWire One has proven to be a successful halo vehicle for LiveWire based on its rave reviews and high performance. However, it hasn’t reached the same level of commercial success due to its lower sales volume. The bike sold just 597 units in 2022, though that figure actually exceeded management’s predictions of 500 units, according to the Milwaukee Business Journal.
Those 597 LiveWire One motorcycles brought in around $14M in revenue last year. Interesting, Harley-Davidson’s StaCyc electric balance bikes for kids accounts for more than twice the revenue from the LiveWire One, with a reported $33M in sales last year. Even so, LiveWire is still operating at a significant net loss while the company invests heavily in R&D of its upcoming models as well as brings in new industry talent to the young brand.
Electric motorcycles have yet to near a critical mass rate of adoption similar to electric cars, despite the many advantages of the high performance, low maintenance electric drivetrains used in e-motos.
Notwithstanding the low initial sales volume, Harley-Davidson isn’t discounting electric motorcycles. To the contrary, the company’s CEO Jochen Zeitz recently confirmed that he sees Harley’s future becoming all-electric at some point, though indicated that such a transformation will of course take many years.
The LiveWire S2 Del Mar is expected to be the first step in that transition, despite its delayed roll-out to later this year.
The new model is targeting a power rating of around 80 horsepower (60 kW) and a city range of approximately 100 miles (160 km). The bike’s 0-60 mph time of around 3.1 seconds shows just how potent an electric drivetrain can be, offering urban riders a high performance bike that can handle commuting or pleasure rides – though just not too far on the latter.
Level 2 recharging is said to top up the battery from 20-80% in 75 minutes, though that is a far cry from the nearly 30-minute charge with the LiveWire One’s DC Fast Charging.
So here’s the thing: At this point I figure I’m one of the few people outside of Harley’s own team that has actually ridden both a LiveWire One and a LiveWire S2 Del Mar. Having tested both (see video below), I can tell you that the Del Mar is exactly what most people who liked the LiveWire One in theory truly wanted – keep the awesome performance, but drop the price.
The LiveWire S2 Del Mar offers the same type of thrilling ride as the LiveWire One, but in a slightly smaller and more approachable package. It’s also even more comfortable (in my opinion) since the reach is shorter thanks to the shorter battery pack.
The Achilles’ heel is the somewhat lower capacity battery. LiveWire hasn’t released details yet, but based on my experience with the bike and some back of the envelope math, I’m guessing the Del Mar’s battery lands in the 9.5 to 10 kWh range. Compared to the LiveWire One’s 15.5 kWh battery, that’s going to rain on a few people’s canyon carving parades. But considering that the target market is more focused on people like me – 33-year-old dudes that live in cities and just want a fun, aggressive-looking (and feeling) ride – I still think that 100 miles of range is plenty.
Consider that electric scooters with 40-60 miles of range sell like hotcakes, so that range is perfectly fine for many people. But for those that want something that looks and feels like more than just a scooter, the LiveWire S2 Del Mar does it. The price is still a bit high for a lot of new riders, but $16,999 is starting to get dangerously close to the range that can tempt many people into electric. Certainly more so than the original Harley-Davidson LiveWire’s launch price of $29,799.
This is progress, and we’re all watching it happen in real time. Imagine where we’ll be in another 24 months.