Technology
September 29th, 2020
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Polaris Aims to Produce Electric Snowmobile No Later than 2025

Polaris announces partnership with Zero Motorcycles and electric vehicle leadership strategy, rEV'd up

Less than three weeks ago, Polaris announced a new 600cc race engine that produces 18 more mid-range horsepower than its predecessor. The announcement naturally raised questions about how long the manufacturers will continue to be able to extract gains out of fossil-fuel powered engines that must meet stringent emissions requirements, and how they are looking to the future with consumer interest growing in electrified powertrain technology.

Well, part of that question was answered this morning, when Polaris announced a 10-year exclusive partnership with leading electric motorcycles manufacturer, Zero Motorcycles.

The partnership will allow Polaris to use Zero’s proven powertrain technology, hardware and software in its vehicles, providing a massive, immediate boost to its efforts to bring electric options to its various vehicle segments.

rEV'd up – Polaris' electrification leadership strategy

The partnership announcement is timed with the reveal of Polaris’ electric powersports vehicle leadership strategy, called rEV’d up. The goal of the initiative is to debut the first electric vehicle resulting from the Polaris-Zero partnership by the end of 2021. Perhaps more ambitious is to have launched a new electric option in each of Polaris’ vehicle segments by 2025.

Although Polaris has more than dabbled in EV technology—having already brought the RANGER EV to market for example—the ability to lean on Zero Motorcycles’ 14 years of technological expertise and experience bringing an entire segment successfully to market will certainly give Polaris a running start in striving for an EV leadership position in powersports.

Polaris will certainly face some stiff competition in the space. Electric vehicle manufacturer Taiga Motors is already pushing electric snowmobile sales, and, from a more traditional standpoint, BRP is also in the game having purchased the assets of electric motorcycle manufacturer Alta Motors back in early 2019.

Polaris Zero Motorcycles Partnership

With range, weight and cost being important factors for consumers (especially those of us in the mountain snowmobile market) it will be very interesting to see what a manufacturing giant such as Polaris can do in a short time to bring competitive and appealing EV products to market, given those current constraints of the relatively new technology.

– MS

 

For more information on the Polaris and Zero Motorcycles partnership, see the full press release below:


Polaris-V2-Polaris-+-Zero-Landscapes

Minneapolis, MN (September 29, 2020) – Polaris Inc. today announced it has signed a 10-year partnership with Zero Motorcycles, a global leader in electric motorcycle powertrains and technology. This exclusive partnership in off-road vehicles (ORV) and snowmobiles is a cornerstone component of rEV’d up, Polaris’ long-term strategy to position the Company as the leader in powersports electrification. Through rEV’d up, Polaris aims to offer customers an electric vehicle option within each of its core product segments by 2025, with the first vehicle from the Zero-Polaris partnership debuting by the end of 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,” said Scott Wine, chairman and CEO of Polaris. “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.”

“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,” said Zero Motorcycles CEO Sam Paschel. “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.”

With Polaris’ scale and broad product lineup, this strategic partnership will be the largest in Zero Motorcycles’ history. Under this 10-year exclusive agreement, Polaris will develop, manufacture and sell electrified ORVs and snowmobiles using Zero’s powertrain technology, hardware and software. Zero Motorcycles has been designing, manufacturing and advancing electric motorcycles since 2006, and this partnership gives Polaris access to more than 14 years of unmatched experience and intellectual property. Zero Motorcycles is the only motorcycle company to successfully bring an entire electric product line to market and is regarded as the leader in motorcycle EV technologies, subsystems, components, and designs.

Polaris – Leading Powersports Electrification

As the global leader in powersports with nearly a decade in the electric vehicle space, Polaris is well positioned to accelerate the development of its premium electric vehicle offering across its product lines and to lead the powersports industry in electrification. Building on Polaris’ past experience in electric, rEV’d up will accelerate Polaris’ positioning within the industry by launching a new electric option to customers across each of its core business segments by 2025.

rEV’d up is about more than just having a presence in the electric vehicle space; this is about leveraging the next generation of technology to develop industry-leading electric offerings within the right vehicle segments for our riders and our business. This is about taking a bold step to do big things,” said Wine. “With over $1 billion in electric vehicle sales over the past decade, we have built a valuable foundation in both the commercial and passenger vehicle markets. By leveraging capable partners, like Zero, we will expand on that groundwork to profitably deliver electric vehicles with the range, value and performance characteristics that both existing and prospective customers want.”

Polaris’ past and current product portfolio includes several electric options. In 2011, Polaris acquired both Goupil, a French manufacturer of on-road, commercial light duty electric vehicles for the European market, and GEM, the street-legal passenger and utility electric vehicles. Four years later, the Company acquired Brammo Electric Motorcycles whose technology was leveraged in the RANGER EV. The RANGER EV was one of the first electric vehicles in the off-road industry and is the No. 1 selling electric off-road vehicle in North America to date. With its broad range of electric commercial and industrial vehicles, Taylor-Dunn was acquired by Polaris in 2016.

About Polaris

As the global leader in powersports, Polaris Inc. (NYSE: PII) pioneers product breakthroughs and enriching experiences and services that have invited people to discover the joy of being outdoors since our founding in 1954. With annual 2019 sales of $6.8 billion, Polaris’ high-quality product line-up includes the Polaris RANGER, RZR and GENERAL side-by-side off-road vehicles; Sportsman all-terrain off-road vehicles; Indian Motorcycle mid-size and heavyweight motorcycles; Slingshot moto-roadsters; snowmobiles; and deck, cruiser and pontoon boats, including industry-leading Bennington pontoons. Polaris enhances the riding experience with parts, garments and accessories, along with a growing aftermarket portfolio, including Transamerican Auto Parts. Polaris’ presence in adjacent markets includes military and commercial off-road vehicles, quadricycles, and electric vehicles. Proudly headquartered in Minnesota, Polaris serves more than 100 countries across the globe. www.polaris.com

About Zero Motorcycles

Zero Motorcycles is the global leader in electric motorcycles and powertrains. Designed and crafted by hand in California, Zero Motorcycles combines Silicon Valley tech with traditional motorcycle soul to elevate the motorcycling experience for intelligent, innovative riders around the world. www.zeromotorcycles.com