After five years of slow sales and no new models, electric motorcycle maker Brammo has been bought out by Michigan-based Polaris. So what’s that mean for the Brammo brand, and the nascessent electric motorcycle industry as a whole?
It depends entirely on your outlook, because as Jalopnik notes Polaris has been funding one successful venture after the next, including a revived Indian brand and the much-talked-about Polaris Slingshot three-wheeled mad machine. Polaris initially invested about $28 million into Brammo, which has seen comparatively little sales success of their aging Enertia and Empulse motorcycles. A few municipalities have signed on to use Brammo’s bikes as police patrol vehicles, but competitor Zero seems to have had a lot more success penetrating the consumer market.
Brammo had been planning a stock offering and IPO, and just this summer it slashed the prices of older electric motorcylce models. But neither move has given the company enough cash to carry on alone, and so Polaris has decided to step in and buy it up, gaining access to its proprietary electric motor and battery technology. But what about the Brammo brand itself? In the announcement of the Brammo acquisition, Polaris said this;
Polaris is acting as a leading investor in a recapitalization of Brammo that enables the company to focus exclusively on the design, development and integration of electric vehicle powertrains.
Sounds to me like Brammo as an electric motorcycle cycle company may be kaput, and its operations in Oregon may be moved to Iowa where Polaris can be begin building electric motorcycles again. But will those electric motorcycles be branded as Brammo, or something else? Has the once-ambitious motorcycle maker gone out not with a bang, but a whimper? It sure looks that way.