Polaris Industries and Zero Motorcycles have inked a 10-year deal that will see the two American companies partnering on electric ATVs, side-by-sides, and snowmobiles (but not motorcycles).
While the 10-year duration might be an ambitious commitment, we do expect to see the fruits of this partnership to debut in just a year’s time, with the first model from this partnership expected to come in 2021.
The plan is for Polaris to develop, manufacturer, and sell electric powersport products that use Zero’s drivetrain hardware and software components.
This gives Polaris a jump on electrifying its fleet of vehicles, while it gives Zero some much needed cash from selling drivetrain systems.
“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,” Wine concluded in the company’s press release.
The news is a critical one for both brands, as Polaris hopes to be a global leader in the powersport transition from gasoline powered vehicles to electrics, and thus partnering with Zero speeds up their ability to make this transition, as otherwise they would be starting from close to scratch.
For Zero, the partnership is perhaps even more critical, as there have been rumors of the company’s primary investor, Invus, shopping the electric motorcycle maker around for sale, as the financial burden of propping up the struggling motorcycle brand has seemingly finally caught up to the investment group.
So far, Invus has invested over a quarter-billion dollars into Zero Motorcycles over the past decade, with only a paltry sum of bike sales to show for it.
“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.”
It will be interesting to see how these two brands work together on this endeavor, and whether the full 10 years of their proposed friendship will work out.