In an early morning announcement that, to some, was more shocking than a loud alarm clock, Polaris announced it was partnering with Zero Motorcycles to develop electric powered off-road vehicles and snowmobiles. Yes, snowmobiles! The partnership will result in a co-developed electric vehicle of some sort by the end of 2021, the press release said.
People have speculated in recent years about the viability of electric snowmobiles — and Canada-based Taiga Motorsports has started marketing some — but concerns about battery life in cold weather and the resulting limited range have always been a concern.
In Zero, Polaris has a partner that has a long history dating to 2006 with electric vehicles, and a company with which it has shared some executives in the past. Polaris has dabbled in electric powered UTVs for some time, so the concept isn’t new to the corporation in that segment. BRP, meanwhile, has announced plans for electric vehicles in most of its segments but, notably, not snowmobiles yet. It did, though, in February announced a hydrogen cell snowmobile project.
The early-morning announcement was likely timed as such due to the impact the announcement may have on stock prices. Here’s the full press release from Polaris and Zero.
POLARIS ANNOUNCES PARTNERSHIP WITH ZERO MOTORCYCLES TO CO-DEVELOP ELECTRIC VEHICLES AS A CORNERSTONE OF REV’D UP—POLARIS’ NEW ELECTRIFICATION STRATEGY
- Polaris and Zero Motorcycles have signed a 10-year exclusive partnership agreement in off-road vehicles and snowmobiles
- Transformative partnership combines Polaris’ industry leadership with Zero’s proven technology in electric powertrains
- Co-development is underway with the first of several electric vehicles to debut by the end of 2021
- rEV’d up aims to position Polaris as the powersports EV leader and offer customers an electric vehicle option within each of its core product segments by 2025
MINNEAPOLIS–(BUSINESS WIRE)– Polaris Inc. (NYSE: PII) 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.
This press release features multimedia. View the full release here: https://www.businesswire.com/news/home/20200929005416/en/
“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.
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.