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Harley-Davidson's Livewire is coming. That means changes for dealers

Your next trip to your local Harley emporium might be more high-tech than just chrome and leather.

Harley-Davidson's electric Livewire is a big change for the company and that means big changes for its dealers.


Now that Harley-Davidson's Livewire electric motorcycle is on its way to the public, Harley dealers have to make some changes in order to be a part of the future that the company hopes to create for itself.

To start with, according to a report published Friday by Electrek, every H-D dealership that wants to be certified to sell the all-electric Livewire has to have dedicated electric charging stations installed, and we're not just talking a painted square on the ground with a few free 110-volt outlets. Harley wants stocking dealers to have at least one Level 3 DC fast charger on hand.

Next, to be a stocking dealership for the Livewire, each location needs to have at least one specially-trained staff member on hand to help buyers. This means that someone looking to plunk down $30,000 on an electric motorcycle won't have to deal with the motorcycle equivalent of the roof-slap-meme guy telling them that the Livewire can fit so many volts in it.

That kind of knowledgeable staff is going to be critical for the success of a bike that's already generating quite a bit of controversy and doubt thanks to its stratospheric (for a motorcycle) price tag. There are cheaper electric bikes out there, so convincing people that what they really need is an electric Harley-Davidson is going to take some skill.

Roadshow spoke to Los Angeles area dealer Bartels' Harley-Davidson about the lead-up to the launch of Livewire, and Sales Manager Andrew Koga confirmed that the dealer's employees had been going through additional training for the bike and that the dealer had already received several deposits in advance of the Livewire's release.

The sheer amount of time and money that Harley-Davidson has invested in the Livewire, coupled with the brand's increasing lack of relevance to younger (read: not baby-boomer) riders means that a lot is riding on the success of this new electric Hail Mary. 

Harley-Davidson didn't immediately respond to requests for comment.