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Polaris’ heritage brand looks to step into the future with electric bikes

Electric vehicles were, up until a few years ago, not something that most people could live with on a day to day basis. But, since companies Tesla have been pouring money into things like battery design and manufacture, electric cars are now a common sight in many areas of the country. Perhaps then, the next logical step is for motorcycle manufacturers to get on board and start introducing more electric motorcycles. The manufacturer Zero has been doing this with varying levels of success over the last few years but they’re a relatively small company still and as such, getting their costs down will be a challenge.

Enter Indian Motorcycles, now owned by the Polaris group. Indian has been the beneficiary of a recent rebirth and are now producing critically lauded cruiser-style bikes but there is something more adventurous on the horizon for the brand: electricity. You see, Polaris also managed to acquire the electric motorcycle startup Brammo and have been spending time and money developing their Empulse bike. Originally this new motorcycle would have been released under Polaris’ more forward-looking brand, Victory but that branch of the tree has since been shut down.

According to the news service Reuters, the new electric Indian would have a range of between 120 and 140 miles. This is a marked improvement over the somewhat impractical 75-mile range of the Empulse that Victory produced. One of the challenges with electric vehicles and mileage claims is that the numbers are often achieved under unrealistic circumstances and as such, riders real mileage may vary though in the Indian’s case, apparently the 120-140 mile range is possible even with aggressive riding.

In the spirit of our newest Harley Vs Indian exhibition, the folks from Milwaukee aren’t content to rest on their laurels. They have production electric bike fever too and based on their interesting Livewire concept, they should be once again ready to give Indian a run for its money.

Photos courtesy of Polaris and Harley-Davidson