Powersports powerhouse Polaris announced it signed a 10-year partnership with Zero Motorcycles as part of its rEV’d up program, the name given Polaris' long-term strategy to become a leader in powersports electrification. The partnership is in Polaris’ lucrative off-road vehicles (ORV) and snowmobile divisions with the first Zero-Polaris vehicle claimed to debut by the end of 2021.

It is not Polaris' first foray into the world of electric vehicles. In 2015 it acquired electric motorcycle maker Brammo. Even though the partnership never resulted in a production electric motorcycle, the technology was used in Polaris RANGER EV, one of the first electric vehicles in the off-road industry and according to Polaris the No. 1 selling electric off-road vehicle in North America to date.

“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,” said Scott Wine, chairman and CEO of Polari, in the official announcement.

Polaris said initially it will develop, manufacture and sell electrified ORVs and snowmobiles using Zero’s powertrain technology, hardware, and software. In its goal to be the powersports EV leader, Polaris aims to have electric vehicle options to market within each of its core product segments by 2025.

“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,” said Zero Motorcycles CEO Sam Paschel.

Polaris ventures into the electric vehicle domain go back as far as 2011 when it acquired Goupil, a French manufacturer of on-road, commercial light duty electric vehicles. That same year it also acquired GEM, producer of street-legal passenger and utility electric vehicles. In 2015, it bought Brammo, and the following year it added Taylor-Dunn, maker of electric commercial and industrial vehicles.

Indian launched the eFTR yesterday, and parent company Polaris announced its 10-year partnership with Zero Motorcycles today as it aims to expedite its presence in the electric vehicle domain. 

Just yesterday, Polaris unveiled the eFTR Jr, an electric mini-bike for kids based on its championship-winning FTR750 flat tracker. With its well-established Indian Motorcycle manufacturing facilities and dealership network already in place, it will be interesting to see how the motorcycle end of the relationship pans out between the two entities.