Published on October 9th, 2020 |
by Zachary Shahan
October 9th, 2020 by Zachary Shahan
As electric vehicle technology has matured, it’s been possible to cost-competitively electrify more and more types of vehicles. Continuing the “rEVolution,” Polaris and Zero Motorcycles have formed a 10 year partnership to electrify the full Polaris lineup of powersports vehicles using Zero’s electric powertrain expertise. The first electric vehicles in this new “rEV’d” initiative will be debuted in the coming year.
“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,” Polaris writes.
Zero Motorcycles has long been a (or the) clear leader in the electric motorcycle market. We have a staff writer who also races motorcycles, Susanna Schick, who has been riding Zero models for years and will tell you all about it.
“Zero Motorcycles’ pioneering electrification experience, proven leadership, and electric powertrain technologies are unmatched in the market,” Scott Wine, chairman and CEO of Polaris, says. “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.”
This is Zero’s biggest partnership ever, following 14 years of development since its founding in 2006. One thing that I think is not that well known about Zero Motorcycles is that it is “the only motorcycle company to successfully bring an entire electric product line to market.” Whereas a few other electric motorcycle startups have popped on and off of the scene, Zero is the only one that has rolled out a full lineup and that has stuck around so long.
This is not the first foray into electric vehicles for Polaris. It has had some electric offerings. However, the partnership with the electric tech leaders at Zero will allow it to roll out premium electric vehicles with highly advanced powertrains.
“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,” Wine added.
“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.”
It’s a big partnership, and, despite not knowing much about the individuals leading both companies, I wonder if it won’t end up turning into a merger/acquisition. Partnerships are great, but it seems the companies are mature enough yet small enough that combining forces 100% could make the whole bigger than the parts. We’ll keep our eye out for that. In 2011, Polaris bought Goupil. If you have been following the electric vehicle for a long time, you may recall that Goupil, based in France, was a top electric vehicle seller back then in Europe (particularly France). Polaris also bought GEM back then. In 2015, Polaris bought Brammo Electric Motorcycles, which was one of the other top electric motorcycle companies up till then (possibly #2 behind Zero in many regards). In 2016, Polaris acquired Taylor-Dunn, a producer of commercial and industrial electric vehicles.
I’ll ask Susanna what she thinks of a potential merger/acquisition. Either way, though, a partnership that improves the Polaris lineup further. I’ll give the closing words to Zero’s top dog to share his thoughts on the new deal.
“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.”
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