Harley-Davidson delivered its Q4 2021 earnings report this morning, providing a look at how the first year of its Hardwire plan fared. We’ll have more on that in a separate post (spoiler: H-D did very well), but for now, we’ll focus on one interesting portion of the earnings call: an update on the separate LiveWire brand.
As we reported in December, Harley-Davidson is taking LiveWire public, merging the electric motorcycle brand with special purpose acquisition company AEA-Bridges Impact Corp. (ABIC) and partnering with Taiwanese manufacturer Kymco. The Q4 earnings call provided an update on the ABIC merger, which is expected to be completed in the first half of 2022.
Speaking on the earnings call, Jochen Zeitz, chief executive officer of both Harley-Davidson and LiveWire, announced the next electric model will be introduced in the second quarter. The new model, which will be called the LiveWire Del Mar, will be the first to use LiveWire’s scalable, modular ARROW platform, adding a lighter, less expensive model to the lineup, slotting in below the LiveWire One.
A document sent out to shareholders of ABIC provided more details about the Del Mar and the ARROW architecture. ARROW was developed completely in-house by the LiveWire team, incorporating the battery pack, electronics and motor as the primary chassis element, optimizing performance efficiency, weight and cost.
The battery pack contains 21700 cylindrical cells, a relatively new lithium-ion cell size format adopted by companies such as Tesla, Samsung and LG. The 21700 format is said to offer increased energy density over the more common 18650 format, while also claiming improved safety and reliability.
The ARROW architecture incorporates the DC-DC converter, inverter and onboard charger, sharing components such as the cooling circuit and wiring harnesses to reduce size, weight and sharing chips to reduce number of microprocessors required.
The motor was developed in-house by LiveWire, with a direct-drive design, proprietary magnetics and scalable configurations.
The Del Mar will use the S2 version of the ARROW platform, which is tuned for middleweight-level performance. We don’t know yet what it will look like, but the assumption is that it will resemble the flat track-inspired concept drawing pictured at the top of the article – which makes sense since the Del Mar, California horse track has hosted its share of flat track events over the years. The Del Mar is described as a “powerful, nimble electric motorcycle and the foundation for future variants.” Eventually, ARROW will be scaled down to lightweight S3 models that will be developed by Kymco.
The shareholder document also confirms the Del Mar will be capable of receiving Firmware Over the Air (FOTA) updates to refine the vehicle’s systems, calibrations, and algorithms remotely without needing to bring the bike into a dealership. FOTA updates can also enable new features and functionality, though it’s unclear if LiveWire will follow in the footsteps of Zero and its Cypher III+ platform in charging for new features and upgrades.
Harley-Davidson says it will have an investor presentation for both H-D and LiveWire in May, which will presumably take place after the LiveWire-ABIC merger is complete. It’s possible that we will receive more news on the LiveWire Del Mar at around the same time.
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