Harley-Davidson Recalls LiveWire Bikes for Software Defect

Zacks Equity Research
·3-min read

Harley-Davidson, Inc. HOG recently issued a voluntary safety recall for certain 2020 LiveWire (ELW) electric motorcycles due to a potential software defect.

Per National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), the recall has been issued due to reports that few of the 2020 LiveWire motorcycles have electric powertrains that unexpectedly initiate a shutdown without providing a clear notification to the rider that the shutdown sequence has started. In some cases, the vehicle does not restart after the sudden shutdown due to a software defect in the Onboard Charging (OBC) system.
 
Moreover, the sudden loss of propulsion, which sometimes results in an inability to restart the bike, increases the risk of a crash, thereby jeopardizing rider safety.

The iconic motorcycle manufacturer claims to have received two reports of alleged unexpected loss of propulsion. The company anticipates that 1% of the LiveWire bikes face the problem of power interruption originating in the OBC.

Furthermore, the recall covers bikes produced between Sep 23, 2019, and Mar 16, 2020. It is estimated that about 1,012 bikes have been recalled by the company for a software update in lieu of customers’ interests and safety.

The customers will incur no additional costs for getting the software update in the recalled bikes. The software update is aimed to remove the significant power-interruption issue in the bike.

Customer notifications will begin next week, where the company will notify them if their LiveWire is included in the recall. Owners can get updated software installed in their bikes by contacting an authorized Harley-Davidson LiveWire dealership. They also have the option of the company picking up their bikes and returning the same after resolving the defect, free of charge.

A redacted notification letter, that will be issued to 2020 LiveWire owners, can be viewed on the NHTSA’s website.

The recalled Harley-Davidson LiveWire motorcycles have been assigned an NHTSA campaign number, which is 20V624000.

This is not the first occasion where the LiveWire, which is the company’s first electric motorcycle, has encountered a hindrance related to the charging system.

In October 2019, Harley-Davidson temporarily halted the production of the electric motorcycle for several days after a charging irregularity was noted during the final quality check. Production was then quickly resumed after the issue was resolved.

Putting quality over quantity, Harley-Davidson, peers of which include Ford Motor F, PACCAR Inc PCAR and IAA Inc IAA, has always been prompt in taking adequate measures whenever it suspects any malfunction in its vehicles. The latest safety recall underscores the company’s commitment to give customer safety the utmost priority. Also, with the kind of positive market response the LiveWire has received, the recall is unlikely to dent its sales.

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