Polaris, the parent company of Indian Motorcycle, is reportedly working on an electric motorcycle under the Indian Motorcycle brand name. The new electric bike will replace the now discontinued Victory Empulse TT which was scrapped after the Victory brand shut shop earlier this year. Polaris says that the new electric motorcycle will be focussed on riding pleasure rather than commuting or long distance riding, but also added that the bike is still under development and could take four to five years to reach production.
According to a Reuters report, Polaris is targeting a 200-220 km range with a single charge on the new electric motorcycle, almost double the range of the Empulse TT. Steve Menneto, President of Motorcycles at Polaris has said that he wants to attract new riders with "fun" electric motorcycles. "The characteristics of the 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.
The development is significant, because it follows Harley-Davidson's foray into the electric space more than two years ago, in 2014 with the LiveWire prototype electric bike. H-D is still tight-lipped about timelines on the LiveWire project, but from this latest development at Indian, it's certain that future demands on emission regulations and to have more environment friendly products in the two wheel space will see a lot of action in the electric space. Currently, size, weight, range, charging infrastructure as well as competitive pricing are some of the challenges faced by electric motorcycle manufacturers.
Even Harley-Davidson's LiveWire project is nowhere near production and from Indian's statement that production will take at least four to five years, it's unclear when the electric Indian will actually be mass produced, and if at all, such models will make their way to the Indian two-wheeler market. From the way manufacturers are looking at greener technology, most observers agree that it's only a matter of time when two-wheelers will move to greener technology, even though current trends seem to favour the internal combustion engine. But current electric technology has its challenges and it's still some time away for the segment to develop significantly.