Polaris Inc. (PII) signed a 10-year agreement with e-bike manufacturer Zero Motorcycles, a company known to industry insiders as the ‘Tesla of motorcycles’. The move announced last week is part of Polaris’ strategy of adding electric ATVs and snowmobiles to its product series by getting EV technology from Zero. Although motorcycle production is not part of that deal but that could b happened as 10 years period is a long time and CEO of Polaris Scott Wine has already hinted e-bikes as part of company’s future strategy.
The electric motorcycle by Polaris are not out of the question as company’s CEO, just a day after roll out of an electric offering by its Indian motorcycle brand, was thoughtful of the same. He was discussing the idea at Yahoo Finance’s The First Idea. Polaris’ Indian motorcycle brand is an archrival of Harley Davidson in the country.
Zero has a proven expertise in electric motorcycles and certainly Polaris has discussed the same with it. Polaris put e-bike aside for a while and made deal with Zero around ATVs and snowmobiles, Wine said. But the company has just experienced a wide-range dialogue and definitely there was positive dialogue future of electrification in India. And Polaris’ team is excited to be in partnership with a right player at the right time, he added. Polaris teaming up with Zero leverages it to address issues Harley has seen around its electric bike efforts.
Harley introduced its first electric bike dubbed Livewire in October 2019 after going through a development process spanning over 5 years. Initially the company was in plans of releasing 100 new high impact bikes by 2027 to lure new bikers. Many of those were electric bikes and smaller in size to attract millennials in urban areas.
With impressive features of Livewires, Harley tried to set the industry standard. But those features including 150 horsepower failed to achieve the expected target all because of the higher price of $30,000 and limited range. Harley also did not have any clear plans about charging stations to support the long distance riding on those bikes.