Here's what's next for the 'Tesla of Motorcycles'
Sam Paschel, CEO of Zero Motorcycles, has some ideas as to why his 14 year old electric motorcycle is considered by many in the industry as the "Tesla of Motorcycles".
And not just because Zero makes high-end electric bikes for cool city dwellers (like Tesla does with its cars).
"We were a brand that helped define the category and be the protagonist for electrification, just like Tesla is doing with all-wheel drive," said Paschel, an avid motorcyclist and manager of the outdoor sports industry who serves as CEO Zero came in 2017, Yahoo Finance told The First Trade. "Look at the performance gap between companies trying to enter the room. I think those are the factors."
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Paschel adds: “We love the comparison [with Tesla]. It's awesome."
It's hard to argue that Zero - a privately held company that has raised more than $ 250 million in funding thanks to advances in design and battery technology - has a strong competitive position in an electric motorcycle industry that is, at best, nascent.
CHICAGO, ILLINOIS - JUNE 27: An electric null motorcycle sits in the showroom at the Motoworks dealership on June 27, 2019 in Chicago, Illinois. Zero motorcycles were built in California and are the top selling electric motorcycle brand on the market. Harley-Davidson is slated to enter the electronics market later this year when LiveWre hits showrooms. BMW also has an electric motorcycle in the works. This week the company unveiled its Vision DC Roadster electric concept motorcycle. (Photo by Scott Olson / Getty Images)
Just check out the specs on the Zero SR / S for $ 21,000.
Zero's chic bike has a top speed of 124 mph, a curb weight of 505 pounds, a total range of 200 miles (161 cities), 110 horsepower and an optimal charging time of 80 minutes. The Harley-Davidson Livewire, which has stumbled out of the gate since its release in 2019, weighs 549 pounds, has 146 miles of range, has 105 horsepower, and costs nearly $ 30,000.
Paschel brushes off a question about Harley's early stumbling blocks, but makes it clear why he's training his bigger motorcycle rivals.
"I'll tell you that making a world-class electric motorcycle isn't as simple as taking an existing internal combustion engine bike and adding a drivetrain," says Paschel. Zero declined to sell Yahoo Finance 2020 but said it is currently the top-selling electric motorcycle manufacturer in the country.
And all of that caught the attention of outdoor leisure giant Polaris.
Under a new 10-year exclusive deal with Zero announced earlier this month, Polaris will be working on releasing electric ATVs and snowmobiles. The first product is expected to hit the market in 2021. Polaris hopes to have an electrical option in each of its core product lines by 2025.
"Zero has proven they know how to do this," Polaris CEO Scott Wine told The First Trade.
What's next for Zero? Think of further improvements in battery technology and find out why electric motorcycles are the future. Paschel is not ruling out an IPO, but is not his driving force at the moment.
“As we see the success of the Polaris deal and the market, we will have many options. What we do next and what happens really depends on the needs of the company and not on the ready-made ideas for going public, ”explains Paschel.
Brian Sozzi is the editor-in-chief and co-host of The First Trade at Yahoo Finance. Follow Sozzi on Twitter @BrianSozzi and on LinkedIn.
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