Polaris Expanding Electric Drivetrain Technologies, EV Offerings

Oct. 28, 2011
ATV builder is taking a minority stake in electric motorcycle builder Brammo

ATV builder Polaris Industries Inc. is investing in a manufacturer of electric vehicles with an eye toward adopting some of its electric drivetrain technology for its power-sports vehicles, which also includes snowmobiles, motorcycles, and on-road electric vehicles. The value and percentage of the transaction were not announced, though Polaris called it a minority stake.

Brammo, of Ashland, Ore., designs and develops the Encite, Enertia, Empulse, and Engage electric motorcycles. Polaris cited “exposure to the rapidly growing electric motorcycle market” as another factor driving its investment. It also supplies its Brammo Digital Drivetrain system, including trademarked battery pack and vehicle management systems, to other OEMs, and it has vehicle distribution operations in North America, Europe, and Asia.

“We are excited to advance our electric vehicle capability by establishing Polaris as a business partner and part owner of Brammo, one of the most innovative and aggressive companies we have found in the electric motorcycle space,” Polaris CEO Scott Wine stated.

In April Polaris acquired Global Electric Motorcars LLC from Chrysler Corp. for an unreported price. GEM designs and manufacturers electric vehicles, in particular smaller EVs known as “neighborhood electric vehicles” that have top speeds of 25 mph but drive on public roads, and have a single-charge range of about 30 miles. Typically these cars are used by government agencies, resorts, planned communities, universities, medical and corporate campuses, sports teams, and taxi-shuttle services, as well as individuals. GEM reportedly has over 45,000 battery-electric vehicles on the road worldwide.

Brammo began developing EV technology for motorcycles in 2002, and it offers the Enertia motorcycle line with top speeds over 60 mph and a single-charge range of 80 miles. Polaris said Brammo plans to expand its range to include high-performance sport motorcycles with a single-charge range of 100 miles. It also hopes to introduce a line of entry- to high-performance dirt and dual-sport motorcycles.

“Our companies share a passion for performance,” Wine continued, “and we look forward to exploiting the numerous opportunities created by pairing Brammo’s industry-leading electric drivetrain technology with Polaris’ vast array of market-leading powersports products. This is a small, but important, investment for Polaris in an electric vehicle market that we feel is poised for significant growth.”

Polaris also bought Indian Motorcycle earlier this year.

About the Author

Robert Brooks | Content Director

Robert Brooks has been a business-to-business reporter, writer, editor, and columnist for more than 20 years, specializing in the primary metal and basic manufacturing industries. His work has covered a wide range of topics, including process technology, resource development, material selection, product design, workforce development, and industrial market strategies, among others. Currently, he specializes in subjects related to metal component and product design, development, and manufacturing — including castings, forgings, machined parts, and fabrications.

Brooks is a graduate of Kenyon College (B.A. English, Political Science) and Emory University (M.A. English.)

Latest from Beyond The Cutting Zone