Brammo Empulse R electric motorcycleEnlarge Photo
There's a major shakeup taking place in the world of electric motorcycles. Polaris has acquired the electric motorcycle business of Brammo, maker of the Empulse and Enertia bikes. For those unfamiliar with Polaris, it's an American firm that makes everything from ATVs to airless tires to Indian and Victory motorcycles, and even the three-wheeled Slingshot, but it's new to the electric motorcycle market.
From here on out, Polaris will take over manufacturing of electric motorcycles, while Brammo refocuses on marketing powertrains to other companies. While its Empulse has won several awards, Brammo has had a rough time lately. Slow sales led to major discounts of $4,000 to $7,000 on 2013 and 2014 model year motorcycles recently.
So far, Polaris says it will move electric bike production to the same Spirit Lake, Iowa, facility that manufactures certain Indian and Victory models. However, Polaris hasn't dicussed its plans any further, so it is unclear whether it will continue building bikes based on the existing Brammo designs, or adapt the powertrain technology to new models.
With its Indian and Victory cruisers already gunning for conventional Harley-Davidson models, it's not implausible to think of Polaris concocting an electric bike to counter Harley's own LiveWire electric bike prototype.
While Brammo motorcycles get integrated into the Polaris fold, it appears another firm, Zero, will soldier on as the only volume maker of electric motorcycles until Polaris' plans become clear.