Polaris to launch new electric bike in next five years

Polaris Industries Inc, the parent company of the recently shut down subsidiary Victory motorcycle brand, plans to launch an electric bike under their Indian brand.

The new electric bike will arrive in the next four or five years according to a senior executive. Under Victory, Polaris took a shot at the electric market with the Empulse electric bike, but after Victory reported cumulative losses of more than $100 million in the past 18 years, production of Victory motorcycles was shut down.

Polaris are looking to capitlise on the electric market with with their storied Indian brand, which it bought in 2011, Steve Menneto, president of its motorcycles division, told Reuters.

The company's new electric motorcycle is aiming for longer range, a feature most electric motorcycle manufacturers have been working towards. The new bike is expected to cover 120-140 miles on a single charge when driven aggressively, compared with 75 miles for the Empulse bike.

"The characteristics of the (new) powertrain are going to be more applicable to be able to ride a bike in pleasure and twisties, and kind of how you would use pleasure bikes today," said Menneto.

Polaris and larger rival Harley-Davidson Inc have been facing a slow down in the big bike market in the US, and as a result have begun to shift focus onto this generation's riders. Polaris will be expanding the Indian brand to include bikes with smaller cylinder capacities, Menneto said.

Harley remain top in the US, but revenue from motorcycles and related products has fallen 2.7 per cent cumulatively over the past two years, compared to Polaris's revenue from its motorcycle business which has increased 30 per cent in the same period.

Polaris have forecast revenue from its motorcycle business to grow to $1 billion in the next five years from $708.5 million last year.

Menneto declined to give pricing details about the new electric bike but said that it would be priced competitively. The company's suggested retail price for the Victory Empulse is upward of $19,999, so as to whether it will follow that price point remains to be seen.