Polaris and Zero Motorcycles on Tuesday announced plans to co-develop multiple electric vehicles, including ATVs and snowmobiles. The first of these vehicles will debut by the end of 2021, a Polaris press release said.
California-based Zero was founded in 2006 to manufacture electric motorcycles, and currently has nine bikes in its lineup. Polaris has a sprawling catalog of vehicles, including conventional and side-by-side ATVs, snowmobiles, the Slingshot 3-wheeler, and Indian motorcycles.
The 10-year agreement will combine Zero's electric-powertrain expertise with Polaris' experience manufacturing off-road vehicles. Polaris will develop and sell the vehicles, using Zero powertrain hardware and software.
The partnership is part of Polaris' "rEV'd up" business plan, which calls for at least one electric option across each of its core product categories by 2025.
Polaris already has some experience with electric vehicles. In 2011, the company bought Global Electric Motorcars (GEM), a maker of low-speed neighborhood EVs. Four years later, Polaris bought electric-motorcycle firm Brammo, and used that company's powertrain tech to develop the Ranger EV ATV. In 2016, Polaris bought Taylor-Dunn, a manufacturer of small electric vehicles for industrial and commercial applications.
It's unclear what, if any, competition Polaris and Zero will have. Nikola Motors teased an electric UTV in 2018, but little has been heard of that project since. Tesla unveiled its Cyberquad as part of the Cybertruck reveal event last year, but that appeared to be a one-off made from a gasoline Yamaha Raptor, with a Zero electric motor. Perhaps the best match will be an electric UTV called the Navarro coming soon from Vanderhall.