Polaris and Zero Motorcycles have announced a partnership to build a new generation of rugged off-road EVs. The pair signed a 10-year exclusive deal to build an all-electric off-road vehicle and snowmobile, with the first models available by the end of next year. The hope is to have an electric model for “each of [Polaris’] core product segments by 2025.”
If you’re unfamiliar, Polaris makes a wide variety of craft, from snowmobiles and ATVs to military vehicles and boats. It also owns sub-brands like Indian Motorcycle, GEM and Aixam, as well as the Slingshot three-wheeled car. Zero, meanwhile, produces a range of electric bikes including the SR/F, which we described as an excellent bike for commuters, although its traveling range was a little too short for a weekend ride.
Polaris has a history in electric vehicles, since it bought Global Electric Motorcars in 2011, a Minnesota maker of low-speed “neighborhood electric vehicles” (think: gussied-up golf carts). That same year, it bought Goupil, a French maker of electric flatbed trucks, while in 2015 it bought Brammo, an electric motor company that made the Arial Atom for the US market and built its own range of electric motorcycles.
And it’s clear that, between moves like this and Tesla’s own project to build an electric quad-bike, there’s a market for rugged EVs. After all, who says that crunching mud, or snow, needs to be the preserve of gasoline lovers?