Electric Snowmobiles? Polaris Partners With Zero Motorcycles To Bring EV Tech To Their Many Toys

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Big news in the recreational and utility vehicle world today as snowmobile, side-by-side and Slingshot maker Polaris has inked a 10-year partnership with the Zero Motorcycles, a worldwide leader in electric motorcycle design and production.

To be clear, Polaris is not going to start selling Zero motorcycles at Polaris dealerships. The partnership will initially be focused on bringing electrification to other products in the Polaris lineup, including their market-leading side-by-side four-wheelers and, yes, snowmobiles. But never say never.

Electric vehicles are not new to Minnesota-based Polaris. A decade ago, Polaris invested in the upstart Oregon company Brammo as they tried to achieve the ambitious goal of bringing a full-blooded, full-size and feature-packed EV to market: the Empulse electric motorcycle. At the time, Polaris already offered an EV entry in the utility category with their electric Ranger side-by-side four-wheeler. The model costs $11,899, makes 30 horsepower and remains in the lineup.

But in the end, the Empulse did not sell well enough to make continued production financially feasible, and Polaris absorbed Brammo’s motorcycle division (it became the Victory Empulse for a short time) while the rest of the company’s battery tech and IP was eventually bought by Cummins. Polaris is also the parent company of the popular Indian Motorcycle brand and the now defunct Victory Motorcycles, which Polaris folded up in 2017 due to poor market performance.

But 2011 may as well be 1911 when it comes to the pace of change in the electric vehicle market. Today, Zero’s electric motorcycles, including the new SR/S and the DSR Black