The long-awaited deliveries of the new LiveWire Del Mar Launch Edition electric motorcycles have just begun, and we’re already hearing feedback on the rides from early customers.
The S2 Del Mar is LiveWire’s second model of electric motorcycle, though it holds special significance as the first to be launched purely under the LiveWire badge.
The LiveWire One, the brand’s first model, was inherited from Harley-Davidson after the company spun off LiveWire as a 100% electric sub-brand in 2021.
The original Harley-Davidson LiveWire was priced at nearly US $30,000, but was relaunched as the LiveWire One with a price tag closer to US $23,000.
The recently launched LiveWire Del Mar, which is priced at US $15,500, is designed to further open the market with a more accessible model intended for largely urban riders.
With an advertised 113 miles (181 km) of city range and a 63 kW (84 hp) motor propelling the bike from 0-60 mph (0-96 km/h) in 3.1 seconds, the LiveWire Del Mar still packs quite a punch for an urban-focused motorcycle.
The first Del Mars arriving now are part of the Launch Edition bikes, a limited series of 100 individually numbered motorcycles that sold out in 18 minutes when they were launched last year.
I caught up with Del Mar Launch Edition owner Diego Cardenas to learn about his delivery experience last week. Diego is a well-known figure in LiveWire circles, organizing owners groups as well as personally embarking on cross country rides on his H-D LiveWire, demonstrating the capabilities of DC Fast Charging for electric motorcycle touring.
Diego lives close enough to LiveWire’s Malibu Experience Center that he received a visit from the LiveWire team for delivery.
The inaugural LiveWire bike was handed over to its fortunate owner last Wednesday at the Malibu Experience Center in beautiful Malibu, California. Since then, there have been a handful of deliveries, including my own, which arrived at my doorstep last Friday. My residence is approximately 80 miles from Malibu, and I was fortunate to enjoy the Del Mar delivery experience. The team from LW spent around two hours at my home, providing me with a comprehensive tutorial on how to operate the bike. It was reminiscent of the Tesla delivery experience from the early days of the Model S.
Since then, Diego has been testing the limits of the machine, including on his 70-mile (112 km) commute to work with a mixture of freeway and street traffic.
While the Del Mar has a 113-mile (181 km) city range, motorcycles are known for significant range reductions at higher speed due to the drag effects of the rider’s body.
Diego’s experience give us our first in-depth look at the bike’s real-world range.
Diego shared a video on Facebook detailing his 70-mile commute, where he arrived at his office with 20% battery remaining. He recharged at work and left for home with a 90% charge. On the way back, he pushed it hard enough to roll into his garage with 2% battery remaining, and was already receiving messages from his bike that he should consider looking for a plug.
After several rides, Diego explained that his impression is that for a 200-pound (90 kg) guy like him, speeds of around 55-60 mph (88-96 km/h) result in a range of roughly 75-85 miles (121-137 km). That would make a Cannonball Run fairly difficult, but is likely sufficient for the vast majority of commuter riders that make up the Del Mar’s target market.
The Del Mar launches at a pivotal moment for LiveWire, and is expected to be the bike that sets the stage for a new era of lighter, more affordable electric motorcycles from the brand designed for deeper market penetration. While the H-D LiveWire and LiveWire One earned critical acclaim for their design and engineering, the bikes’ higher price tags limited their reach. With a new generation of more affordable bikes that maintain LiveWire’s signature performance and design, the company could be setting a new course.
LiveWire and Zero Motorcycles currently account for the majority of highway-capable electric motorcycle sales in the US, as well as a large segment of those motorcycle sales in Europe. However, companies like Italian sportbike maker Energica have seen their numbers grow while Asian upstarts also aim for a slice of the growing pie.
The LiveWire Del Mar is built on a modular platform around a structural battery pack that is expected to result in several new models over the next few years.
With only a week’s worth of bike’s delivered so far, it’s too early to say what this could mean for the brand. But so far, riders seem pretty pleased.
Oh, and in the next few weeks I’ll join those 99 other owners of Del Mar Launch Edition bikes receiving their deliveries. Stay tuned for my own thoughts.
Volkswagen cites slow demand amid EV production cuts at German plants
Amid several reports that Volkswagen is cutting EV production at two German plants, the automaker revealed the reason – slowing demand.
Volkswagen suspends EV production in Germany
Last week, a report from the German newspaper Automobilwoche claimed Volkswagen was pausing EV production at its Dresden facility in Germany.
Volkswagen’s Dresden facility has built over 150,000 VW Phaeton, e-Golf, ID.3, and Bentley Flying Spur models since beginning production in 2002. Last year, 6,500 ID.3 EVs were built at the location.
The automaker will temporarily suspend ID.3 production at the plant for two weeks during the Saxon autumn holidays, as first reported by Germany’s DPA news. Starting October 16, the electric car will be built again in regular single-shift operation.
Dresden’s roughly 300 employees will be reassigned to other areas, including “innovative manufacturing and testing.”
Meanwhile, at Volkswagen’s main BEV plant in Zwichau, one of the two production lines will shut down during the holidays, according to a spokesperson (via Automobilwoche).
The news comes after VW announced at a staff meeting earlier this month it would be cutting 269 temporary jobs at the site.
Although Volkswagen’s ID.3 and Cupra Born will be impacted by the halt, ID.4, ID.5, Audi Q4 e-tron, and Audi Q4 sportback e-tron models will continue regular production in three shifts.
Volkswagen is discussing with local labor reps how to proceed with EV production at the Zwickau plant.
The company did not specify how many units or employees would be affected by the changes.
Volkswagen is struggling to attract new EV orders amid higher inflation and weaning subsidies in Europe. Europe’s largest automaker also faces a growing threat from more advanced EV competitors like Tesla and BYD.
The core Volkswagen brand faces pressure as cheaper, more advanced EVs are taking market share at home and abroad.
In Volkswagen’s largest market by revenue (China), the automaker was surpassed by BYD as the best-selling car brand earlier this year.
In the wake of slowing demand, VW slashed ID.3 and ID.4 prices in the region. But how long can VW keep this up?
Volkswagen Group CEO Oliver Blume aims to boost VW brand returns to 6.5% over the next three years. Currently, it’s around 3.6%.
With EV makers like Tesla, BYD, and several other Chinese start-ups expanding rapidly, Volkswagen will need to act urgently to risk falling further behind.
Honda’s new electric sports car will debut next month, hinting at an NSX successor EV
At the Japan Mobility Show next month, Honda will showcase several new products and tech, including a new electric sports car that will headline the booth.
The new electric sports car will “enable the driver to experience the pure joy of driving,” according to Honda.
Although the automaker was light on the details behind the project, it claims the concept will represent “Honda’s continuous pursuit of the joy of driving” while embodying Honda’s universal sports mindset and distinctive characteristics.
Also ready to make an appearance at the booth is Honda’s SUSTAINA-C Concept and Pocket Concept, designed to use limited resources.
Both models are made of recycled and reused acrylic resin with the idea of “resource circulation” for environmental sustainability and future mobility freedom.
Other EV products set to make their world debut include the Honda CI-MEV. The two-seat, four-wheel mini EV uses Honda’s cooperative intelligence (CI) and automated driving for last-mile deliveries and areas with limited mobility options.
A prototype of Honda’s new commercial-use mini EV with a portable external power output device, Power Exporter e: 6000, will also be displayed.
Honda to unveil new electric sports car
Honda revealed plans to launch 30 new EV models globally by the end of the decade, including at least two electric sports cars.
One will be a specialty model, while the other will be a flagship. Speculation suggests one of the models will be an NSX, a two-seater sports coupe (An Acura model in North America), with the other being a GT.
Honda teased the upcoming electric sports cars under wraps, showing a low-profile vehicle with a similar body design to the NSX.
According to the British automotive magazine Car, Honda’s EV performance car will ride on the automaker e:n platform, featured in its e:Ny1 electric SUV.
The EV could also wear the Type R badge, as Honda’s technical consultant, Kotaro Yamamoto, said, “Type R stands for racing. It’s a pleasure transported. An electric car can deliver this, and a Type R is not obliged to use a combustion engine. Even in a fully electric society, there will still be Type Rs delivering ultimate driving pleasure.”
Other than that, Honda is keeping the details under wraps. We’ll learn more about the electric performance car next month.
The electric sports car will make its world debut at the Japan Mobility Show, running from October 28 to November 5, 2023. Media days will be October 25-26.
Is this the production Tesla Cybertruck?
New Tesla Cybertrucks, rumored to be “Master Candidates,” the final step before production, have been spotted coming out of Gigafactory Texas.
For the past month, Tesla has had full and at times, partial shutdowns, of production at Gigafactory Texas as it conducted factory upgrades.
Yesterday, a drone video shot by Joe Tegtmeyer confirmed that workers are now coming back to the factory.
The video showed new Model Y bodies coming out of the factory and new Cybertrucks.
There have been rumors that the shutdown at Gigafactory Texas might have been linked to the start of Cybertruck production.
Tegtmeyer, who often gets to talk to Giga Texas employees as he flyes drones there almost daily, claims that the new Cybertrucks spotted coming out of the factory are “Master Candidates,” the last step before production.
While it can’t be confirmed if they are master candidates or production versions, the two Cybertrucks spotted at the factory did look a lot more refined than the previously spotted prototypes:
The trims and fittings seem to blend better with the stainless steel body of the electric pickup truck.
While we can’t judge the vehicle’s fit and finish too closely because the footage is taken from a distance with a drone, the looks of those two Cybertrucks are encouraging.
Tesla is expected to officially start Cybertruck production any day now with deliveries to start at an event likely within the next month.
More Cybertrucks have been spotted parked at the homes of Tesla employees, which is a good sign that internal testing has expanded.
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