Obi-Wan Kenobi was right, you know: That is a major twist.
No, not THAT twist. This one: Ewan McGregor (aka the young Obi-Wan in the Star Wars prequels and soon a new back-story Disney series) and his wingman, Brit TV personality Charley Boorman, have reportedly begun production of the third entry in their popular “Long Way” motorcycle road trip TV series, and are set to travel from the southern reaches of South America and ride the long way “up” to the United States.
Which is fitting, because according to numerous reports, the pair have ditched their all-conquering BMW GS Adventure dual-sport machines for something a bit more radical: Harley-Davidson’s new all-electric Livewire motorcycles.
And if the photos trickling out of the southern reaches are accurate, they’re not sparing the whip, either. Shots posted as recently as September 14th on the Facebook fan page Long Way Everywhere appear to show Ewan and team on the road with the Livewire bikes, charging them up as they go. And it doesn’t look like they’re sparing the whip, either.
The Facebook posts appear to show the bikes are clearly being ridden off pavement, and it doesn’t look like there’s knobbies mounted on the rims (yet). Another interesting development: It appears electric pickup truck maker Rivian may also be in on the epic adventure, according to a post on popular off-road riding site ADVPulse. How the Rivian pickups are involved is unclear, but they certainly jibe nicely with the EV theme of the new show.
McGregor and Boorman gave the adventure or “ADV” riding segment a huge boost in 2004 with their original series Long Way ‘Round, in which the pair rode heavily loaded BMW GS adventure bikes around the world the “long way” from England through Russia, including Siberia, capturing their adventures on video using action cameras, and by including Swiss photographer (and rider), Claudio von Planta, who also rode a kitted BMW during the projects. It appears he will be tagging along on this ride as well as he appears with McGregor in one Facebook image.
While McGregor was an experienced rider in 2004, Boorman was less so at the time but after both men received some off-road riding instruction before departure, and Boorman was game for the effort. Both men came through to finish the ride, though not without various struggles. The video series was a hit both with riders and non-riders (celebrity helps) and it resulted in a well-received 2008 sequel, Long Way Down, which saw the pair ride from their homes in England to Cape Town on the southern tip of Africa. Boorman was then badly injured in a motorcycle crash in 2016 but eventually recovered.
Now, a decade after the Long Way Down entry, it looks like the third installment is underway with electric mobility at the core of the concept. ADVPulse also reported that a pair of Mercedes Sprinter vans will provide support; both previous Long Way series had prodigious support for McGregor and Boorman, so they weren’t exactly roughing it. However, given the pair’s typical journeys through distant lands where it might be a challenge to find gasoline or food, let alone a Level II electric vehicle charger, it’s suspected the sprinter vans will be ferrying generators for the Livewire bikes, which will need to top up about every 100 miles under favorable conditions. No matter how much support the riders have, this looks to be a monumental test for Harley-Davidson’s Livewire bikes, which are its first foray into the electric motorcycle space. Forbes.com has reached out to Harley-Davidson for comment on the news.
Argentinian news outlets report McGregor arrived in the country (apparently to considerable fanfare) in late August. So far, there’s no word on when the new series will be released. They’ll have to make it all the way up first.