Zero and Polaris Join Forces for New Off-Road Electric Bikes
Zero/Polaris partnership blows the electric motorcycle world wide openby TJ Hinton, on
That’s right sports fans. This may be the most significant relationship thus far in the race to make electric propulsion a viable alternative to the current internal-combustion engines, specifically within the off-road and non-road sectors. Polaris Inc. and Zero Motorcycles launch a decade-long partnership as a major pillar of the “rEV’d up” campaign, and the first efforts are to produce battery-powered off-road vehicles and snowmobiles.
The partnership aims to put Polaris at the top of the EV powersports industry
“All of us at Zero Motorcycles are delighted and honored to be a part of this industry-changing strategic relationship with Polaris as we collaborate and co-develop the technologies and vehicle platforms that will power the future of electrification in powersports,” says Sam Paschel, CEO of Zero Motorcycles. “This revolutionary partnership is bringing together two incredibly talented teams aimed at dramatically expanding the electric options in Powersports. Our EV expertise and millions of miles of real-world, rubber-meets-the-road EV experience, coupled with Polaris’ broad product portfolio, scale, supply chain, and market leadership, makes this a game-changer for every Powersports enthusiast.”
There had been some speculation as to Polaris’ intentions with electric streetbikes ever since it inherited the Brammo-based Empulse as part of the Victory Motorcycle acquisition. The rumor mills had everything from production under the Indian banner to production under the Polaris badge and even shelving as possible futures for that sporty EV platform. While the fate of the Empulse remains unclear, it’s plain to see that Polaris is committed to the expansion of EV vehicles as a whole. Zero Motorcycles works at the cutting edge of the industry and has, arguably, the best machines overall and the most versatile lineup to date to make it a no-brainer as a partner.
“Thanks to advancements in power, pricing and performance over the last several years, and with customer interest surging, now is the right time for Polaris, with Zero Motorcycles as a key strategic partner, to implement our rEV’d up initiative and aggressively accelerate our position in powersports electrification,” says Scott Wine, chairman and CEO of Polaris Inc. “Zero Motorcycles’ pioneering electrification experience, proven leadership, and electric powertrain technologies are unmatched in the market. We believe this transformative partnership will enable us to leapfrog technological hurdles around range and cost while providing a tremendous speed-to-market advantage – an instant offense. Leveraging the strengths of our teams and a shared culture of innovation and passion for this industry, Polaris and Zero will collaborate to shape the future of powersports.”
It looks like it’s going to shake out with Zero’s drivetrain, battery tech, and software within host platforms such as rough-terrain/ off-road vehicles (ORV) and snowmobiles, at least to start out. As a matter of speculation, I expect to see both tandem-seat ATVs and side-by-side models, and since it’s not a huge leap from snowmobiles to personal watercraft, plug-in jet-skis are probably right around the corner.
Speculation aside, Polaris looks to provide an EV version of all of its core product lines by 2025. Yeah, that’s pretty ambitious for such a short window, but I have no reason to doubt its capabilities. One thing is for sure; time will certainly tell. Tick-Tock y’all...
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