The highly successful manufacturer of conventional off-road vehicles, $2 billion Polaris Industries Inc. (NYSE: PII) has recently launched a pure electric Neighbourhood Electric Vehicle NEV. Now it has added the leader in that sector encompassing closed communities rather than open highways. Global Electric Motorcars LLC (GEM), a wholly owned Fargo, N.D. based subsidiary of Chrysler Group LLC. GEM is a leader within the low-speed vehicle market, with approximately $30 million in sales during the 2010 calendar year. Since the company was established in 1998, it has placed more than 45,000 electric-powered NEVs on the road worldwide.
These ugly duckling vehicles have had their own enthusiastic following but not enough to rival the pure electric golf cars of Textron or Club Car (Ingersoll Rand) that are street legal in some parts of the world or the three and four wheel pure electric scooters and power chairs of Pihsiang in Taiwan going down roads and sidewalks, driven by the obese and disabled. All three companies have been selling more than the GEM cumulative figure every year. Their cumulative sales are in the region of 700,000 each according to analyst IDTechEx in its report, Electric Vehicles 2011-2021 .
Nonetheless, GEM has also developed business-to-business sales expertise within the fleet and government vehicle markets, and has created a competitive advantage with core competencies in make-to-order vehicle fulfilment and mobile service support. So the question arises why Fiat, now closing to full ownership of Chrysler, does not want it. After all, Professor Pietro Perlo of Fiat revealed at a recent IDTechEx electric vehicle event that his company prioritises pure electric microcars in the electric vehicle space not least because they can be both lower cost and simpler than the conventional alternative. We suspect that Fiat is in process of leapfrogging the GEM capability with next generation technology such as lithium-ion batteries, energy harvesting and advanced AC motors. It has described its work on many of these things in IDTechEx conference presentations. However, that does not mean that Polaris is making a mistake.
"GEM provides Polaris with an established position in the low-emission small vehicle market and supports Polaris' strategy of penetrating on-road market segments poised for growth," commented Scott Wine, Polaris chief executive officer. "We are excited about the outlook for growth within this market space, and are looking forward to developing even stronger growth prospects for the GEM business."
"Our vision is to accelerate profitable sales growth for GEM, by combining Polaris' strength in new product innovation with the most-recognized brand in the low speed vehicle market space," revealed Mike Jonikas, vice president of the On-Road Vehicle Division. "These new product efforts for GEM will be supported by an expanded distribution presence within select domestic and international markets."
Polaris designs, engineers, manufactures and markets off-road vehicles (ORVs), including all-terrain vehicles (ATVs) and the Polaris RANGER® Side X Side vehicles, snowmobiles and Victory motorcycles for recreational and utility use and has recently introduced a new on-road electric powered neighborhood vehicle. Off road is a substantial market sector for conventional vehicles and there are many valid reasons for converting them all to electric, from cost over life to technical performance, reliability, relative silence and environmental credentials.
Polaris is a recognized leader in the snowmobile industry; and one of the largest manufacturers of ORVs in the world. Victory motorcycles, established in 1998 and representing the first all-new American-made motorcycle from a major company in nearly 60 years, are making in-roads into the cruiser and touring motorcycle marketplace. Polaris Industries Inc. trades on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol "PII", and the Company is included in the S&P MidCap 400 stock price index.
The booming off-road sector will be covered by speakers Alke of Italy, Bluebird Automotive of the UK, and others at Electric Vehicles Land Sea Air in Stuttgart Germany 28-29 June. Daimler AG Mercedes Benz of Germany explains the development of its all electric van. Analysts IDTechEx will present ten year EV forecasts by industrial, commercial, bus, two wheel and other sector. The radically different Peraves egg shaped motorcycle/ 4 wheel hybrid from Switzerland with its remarkable economy will be presented as will the record breaking eCRP pure electric motorcycle from CRP Group Italy. E-bike designer and trader ekolo.cz from the Czech Republic pulls together the past, present and future of electric bicycles. The German Aerospace Center DLR describes fuel cell powered Airport Ground Support Equipment GSE - another substantial and growing off-road sector. All the next generation of components and subsystems for off road electric vehicles, both hybrid and pure electric are covered in the conference and exhibition. In addition, those from the off-road electric vehicle industry will be benchmarking best practice from other forms of electric vehicle by land, water and air.
For more attend Electric Vehicles Land Sea Air in June in Stuttgart, Germany. Never before has there been an opportunity in Europe for people in land, water and air electric vehicles and their components, infrastructure and test equipment to compare notes in one event. Delegates already signed up vary from Airbus, Hudson Power Sports and Hudson Yachts to Sony, the Bulgarian Electric Vehicle Association and Robert Bosch Venture Capital.