The Brammo Empulse electric motorcycle has long been the “other” mainstream electric motorcycle—but its days now appear to be officially numbered.
Polaris Industries bought the electric motorcycle business assets of Brammo in January 2015, and added the Empulse to its Victory lineup.
This was big news for people who follow electric motorcycles.
DON'T MISS: Brammo Electric Motorcycle Company Bought Out By Polaris (Jan 2015)
Hopes ran high that a mainstream motorcycle manufacturer would put some much needed capital and engineering into electric motorcycles to bring the price down and simplify the transmission.
For 2016, little more than rebranding was done; electric motorcycle enthusiasts awaited 2017 with cautious optimism.
By the end of 2016, Victory had not updated its website with any information on a 2017 Empulse, even as every other bike in its lineup had been given another year.
2016 Victory Empulse TT
This caused speculation that the Empulse would be dropped from the lineup—but in fact, it is the entire lineup that is being dropped.
Polaris announced on January 9 that it will “immediately begin winding down its Victory Motorcycles Brand and related operations."
The history of the Empulse began with Brammo. The bike went into production in 2013 after several years of delays, followed by minimal upgrades for 2014.
The company sold a few dozen, and riders began to post photos on social media and write about fun rides and offer positive reviews.
Just before selling the motorcycle business to Victory, Brammo had a “fire sale” and sold its remaining bikes for thousands of dollars off the original price.
But without significant changes for 2016, the 2016 Victory Empulse remained fundamentally the same bike as the original 2013 Brammo Empulse—but with a higher price of nearly $20,000.
huge discount on 2016 Victory Empulse electric motorcycles
Victory has had a difficult time selling electric motorcycles because it offers 2013 technology and features for $20,000, while its competition has made significant improvements every year and those bikes cost less.
At the time of writing, Victory is offering $10,000 customer cash to move its remaining stock of the Empulse TT.
Polaris said it will make parts and honor warranties for 10 years after Victory is dismantled.
CHECK OUT: 2016 Electric Motorcycle Buyers Guide
This was all rather disappointing after the Victory race team earned 2nd place overall at Pike’s Peak this year.
Victory ran a “Thunder vs Lightning” promotion to garner excitement about its gas bike racing against its electric bike up the mountain.
It was a tight race, but the lightning (i.e. the electric motorcycle) won that contest.
2016 Victory Empulse TT
Despite Victory going belly-up, electric motorcycle options in the U.S. have expanded during the past year. Zero Motorcycles continues to offer a solid lineup, and both Alta Motors and Energica Motorcycles are now making deliveries
However, Victory's death may not necessarily mean the end of the road for the Empulse electric motorcycle.
Steve Menneto, the Polaris VP of Motorcycles, told Motorcycle.com in an interview, “We’re going to continue the electric part of the business."
“Future products and markets will develop, both on-road and off-road," he said. "What will change are those efforts will transfer over time to Indian in the two-wheel space and Slingshot in the three-wheel space.”
Pressed to say that we will see an Indian powered by an electric motor, he responded, “I think that’s a fair assessment.”
It doesn't sound like we'll see an electric Indian motorcycle this year, but there may be one in the near future.
With Harley Davidson committed to a 2020 deadline to come up with its own electric motorcycle, perhaps Indian will produce one first.
NOTE: An earlier version of this article suggested that the Empulse was gone for good, but the author has altered the conclusion of the article to indicate that Polaris expects to continue with electric motorcycles in the near future.