Green off-road machines.
An increasing number of motorcycle manufacturers are joining forces for advancement purposes, notably in the field of electric technologies. Between continuously more restrictive emissions regulations and new zero-emission goals set by states, the need to innovate in terms of electric powertrains is becoming imperative.
Japan's Big Four teamed up in 2019 to help fast-forward the development of new zero-emission solutions. KTM and Indian giant Bajaj have also struck a similar deal to design future electric vehicles. On this side of the pond, a new all-American partnership was just announced.
Powersports specialist Polaris announced a shiny new 10-year partnership with California's very own Zero Motorcycles. The partnership is part of Polaris' rEV’d up long-term strategy to "position the Company as the leader in powersports electrification". The plan is simple: use Zero's electric powertrains, hardware, and software to power a whole new lineup of electric off-road vehicles and snowmobiles. As stated in the press release, the manufacturer aims to offer an electric version of all its main products by 2025 with the first one expected to launch in 2021.
“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,” wrote Polaris CEO and chairman Scott Wine. "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."
At the moment, the segments of off-road vehicles targetted by the partnership include side-by-sides and ATVs as well as snowmobiles—products sold under the Polaris banner. Talking with the Zero Motorcycles representative, he confirmed that as things currently stand, the deal is "exclusive to off-road vehicles and snowmobiles." By the sound of it, unless Indian decides to add a dirt bike to its lineup, we shouldn't expect to see any eScouts or full-size eFTR introduced any time soon.
Polaris has dabbled in electric vehicles before and even purchased Brammo Electric Motorcycles in 2015, a move that allowed the company to create the Ranger EV UTV. The partnership is meant to help Polaris aggressively expand the selection.