It’s no secret that Harley’s new electric LiveWire is quick in a straight line. I mean, sure it weighs 550 pounds (250 kg), but it’s got 105 horseponies and 86 lb-ft of torque, which isn’t insignificant. And being electric, it’s all available instantly. We know that electric vehicles have developed a reputation for being quick, with Tesla’s Model S routinely waxing the floor with Hellcats at the drag strip. The electric Harley isn’t a match for the S, but check out what it does compared to the more reasonable Model 3.
Drag racing features the culmination of many forces. Of course there is the force of the electric drivetrain in either vehicle here, pushing it down the 1320. Then you have forces acting against the vehicles to slow them down, like aerodynamic drag and weight. Obviously the Tesla weighs significantly more than the Harley-Davidson, but it’s also significantly more aerodynamic.
Let’s examine those time slips.
Here we have the results from race one. The Harley on the left has a significantly better reaction time, as it looks like the Tesla was waiting for an act of congress before it could leave the line. That doesn’t really matter, though, as we care about ETs, not heads up numbers.
The Tesla’s all-wheel-drive grip allowed it to shoot out to a quicker 60-foot time than the bike’s single rear wheel drive, but the LiveWire had scrambled back that time and then some by the 330 mark. At the eighth the Harley’s advantage was nearly a tenth of a second with a minimal speed advantage over the bigger and heavier Tesla.
The bike had a similar advantage over the car at the 1000 foot mark, but that final 320 feet saw the Tesla slowly coming back a bit. Because the car is so much more aerodynamic than the rider’s chest, the car crossed the line about 4 miles (6.4 km) per hour faster, but still lost the battle by 0.048 seconds. With another hundred feet or so of track, the Tesla might have won.
The second race had similar results as both competitors ran about a hundredth of a second quicker on this run. The Tesla at least managed to get a reaction time sometime this month on that run. Again the Tesla’s advantage is in grip off the line and top end speed aerodynamics.
Anything less than a tenth of a second is pretty insignificant in drag racing, and either could win this battle, but being that electric motors and these competitors in particular are so repeatably identical from run to run, I’d wager the bike would win more times than not.
Perhaps more importantly, this is the first documented quarter mile time we’ve seen for the LiveWire, and it’s pretty wicked to see it run that 11-second rip without making much noise and without any kind of drama. Perhaps with a horse-jockey sized rider and a few aerodynamic tweaks the LiveWire could be a 10-second bike.