The Victory Empulse never came to Australia. Could a rebadged and restyled model make it here?
Indian will launch an electric bike within four or five years, according to company boss Steve Menneto. Speaking to news agency Reuters, Menneto – who is the president of the motorcycle division of Indian’s parent firm Polaris – confirmed the plan, suggesting the eventual machine might be more like a sportsbike than Indian’s usual cruiser and tourer fare.
“The characteristics of the powertrain are going to be more applicable to be able to ride a bike in pleasure and twisties,” he said, “Kind of how you would use pleasure bikes today.”
The decision to build an electric Indian comes hot on the heels of Polaris’s call to close its other bike brand, Victory, 19 years after it was introduced. With Victory’s closure, it also loses its existing electric bike, the Victory Empulse, less than two years on from its introduction.
The Empulse was, of course, a rebranded version of the Brammo Empulse, created after Victory bought the Brammo business in 2015. As well as appearing in Victory showrooms in America, the Empulse also carried the firm’s name in competition, racing at both the TT Zero and Pikes Peak International Hill Climb in 2016. It finished second in both events.
While the Empulse had a range of about 120km, the forthcoming Indian is expected to achieve closer to 225km on a single charge. While still not enough to create a touring bike, particularly given the long recharging time involved with electric power, that’s plenty when it comes to most riders’ pleasure use.
The timing of the new bike will put Indian head to head against arch-rival Harley-Davidson. The American giant’s own electric bike, the LiveWire, was widely demoed in 2014 but has since been on the backburner. Harley expects to have a production electric bike in around four years, just about the same schedule as the new Indian.