Harley-Davidson CEO steps back at LiveWire, new CEO named

One of the most anticipated electric motorcycles set to hit the road this year, the LiveWire S2 Del Mar, is expected to roll out to customers later this summer. But before it does, Harley-Davidson is shaking things up with a new CEO for the e-motorcycle brand.

Harley-Davidson’s CEO, Jochen Zeitz, also served as the all-electric brand’s initial CEO when LiveWire was spun out of its bar-and-shield parent company.

Now after serving for an agreed-upon period, Zeitz is stepping aside to welcome in LiveWire’s new CEO, Karim Donnez. Zeitz will remain the chair of LiveWire.

Zeitz praised Donnez’s entrepreneurial chops as he announced the new CEO’s role at the head of the young electric motorcycle brand:

Having successfully stood-up LiveWire as a brand and listed the Company on the NYSE, I’m excited to pass the baton to Karim and to welcome him as LiveWire’s new CEO, following an extensive global search process. Karim is an entrepreneurial business leader with a demonstrable track record of driving transformational growth through both strategy development and implementation. The Board and I look forward to Karim realizing the potential of LiveWire, as we continue on the Company’s journey to lead the electrification of the sport.

Donnez, who holds an MSc in Engineering from Arts et Métiers ParisTech and an MBA from HEC Montréal, comes to LiveWire from Bombardier Recreational Products Inc. (BRP). He has held several roles at BRP since 2015, including most recently as the president of BRP’s Marine Group.

The announcement comes at a time when LiveWire is expecting to be gearing up for summer deliveries of its highly-anticipated S2 Del Mar electric motorcycle.

Despite being the second model in LiveWire’s lineup, it is considered to be the first model produced fully in-house under the LiveWire badge. The LiveWire One, which is the company’s current flagship motorcycle, was first developed by Harley-Davidson and launched as the H-D LiveWire before being slightly retooled and then released as the LiveWire One after the sub-brand was spun out as a new company from within Harley-Davidson.

The LiveWire S2 Del Mar was originally unveiled around a year ago, with the limited Launch Edition selling for $17,699 and the production version claiming an anticipated US $15,000 target price. Reservations for the Launch Edition sold out in just 18 minutes, highlighting the pent-up demand for the new LiveWire model.

The final price for the production edition was recently revealed to be US $15,499, or around $7,000 lower than the LiveWire One electric motorcycle. Inflation fears caused concerns that the final price would be higher, but the company was able to keep it with US $500 of the original estimated target.

We don’t yet have full specs for the LiveWire S2 Del Mar, though the company says that info will be revealed later this month.

For now, we know that the bike is targeting a power rating of around 80 horsepower (60 kW) and a city range of approximately 100 miles (160 km). The S2 Del Mar features a 0-60 mph time of around 3.1 seconds, offering urban riders a high-performance bike that can handle commuting or pleasure rides – though not necessarily long pleasure rides at highway speeds.

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.

For commuters, though, it’s likely plenty. Most riders charge up on a lower power outlet overnight, and the S2 Del Mar isn’t really intended for cross-country rides. But for apartment dwellers or anyone without home charging, the ability to get a mostly full charge in just over an hour will still be a major convenience compared to slower-charging bikes.

While we await the final reveal of the complete performance specs, check out my test ride of an S2 Del Mar prototype from late last year. It’s one of the few test rides currently out there, at least until the bikes start getting delivered. But considering that one of the names on the long reservation list happens to be my own, we’ll hopefully be back with a more detailed review soon.

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