Polaris is traditionally known as a powersports manufacturer, selling a range of ATVs and snowmobiles. Lately, however, the North Star brand has begun to move into the electric vehicle space. They now own neighborhood electric vehicle maker GEM, and have also made a significant investment in Brammo. And now, its extended its empire into the realm of electric bicycles.

Leveraging technology developed by EVantage, the company recently launched a range of bicycles with great looks and quality construction. With a couple of examples of the Vector model making an appearance in the paddock at the TTXGP World Championship, we took the opportunity for try it out for ourselves.

After a quick explanation of the simple controls, we were off for a short, but very fun ride. The electric drivetrain springs to life with a simple push of the pedals and it felt as if someone was giving us a slight push as we made our way down past the row of garages, working our way slowly through the gears and picking up steam. Around the back of the building, the spacious parking lot offered lots of space to play around and we enthusiastically began testing out the throttle.

The Polaris/EVantage system is different from most others in that it not only operates as a pedelec – using torque sensors to decide how much assist to dish out – but also offers a stand-alone throttle system that, once you are moving, can take over all the locomotive work from your tired (or lazy) legs.

Had we not been having so much fun making high-speed loops around the parking lot, we might have checked out the various readouts available from the display on the handle bar, such as speed, battery range, and carbon footprint impression. We also might have paid a bit more attention to the regen function, which kicks in – subtly, we think – when you stop pedaling and/or pressing the throttle. It also comes into play when the bikes speed reaches 20 miles per hour.

Sadly, our time in the saddle was all too brief but it did give us hope that someone is working hard at bringing the same electric bicycle experience to America that is proving popular in Europe and Asia. The bicycles are already in some shops, with the company focusing on retailers in urban areas to begin with. You can check out the dealer locator on its website and make friends with them on Facebook. Scroll below for additional information on the official press release from the launch.
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PRESS RELEASE

Polaris® Electric Bicycles to be launched at Interbike 2012
E-Bikes Feature New Patented Technology

MIAMI (09.19.12) – Polaris Industries Inc.®, worldwide leader in powersports, in conjunction with EVantage™, is proud to introduce a new line of electric bicycles. The Polaris brand entering the electric bicycle category is a major move towards making electric bicycles a viable mainstream recreational option in the US. To develop a full and complete line, Polaris & EVantage set out to not only meet, but exceed the standards of performance, design, and materials engineering in the industry. All Polaris e-bikes have been developed from the ground up with the customer's needs in mind first. Every component, from the frame to the EVantage DUODRIVE™ motor and battery system, embodies elements of Polaris standards.

"The Polaris name has always been synonymous with superior design and quality, and these electric bicycles are no exception," says EVantage President Brandon Kaplan. "Each and every detail was crafted with the consumer in mind, which stays true to Polaris' inherent need to provide usable and applicable products to their customers. These electric bikes are an expansion of this brand, with its great history, while also paving a way toward new trends in transportation.

The Polaris e-bikes feature new proprietary technology in their motor, battery and controller systems:

Motor System
DuoDrive™ is the propelling force behind every Polaris electric bicycle. Patent pending, DuoDrive™ technology allows the motor to use both speed and high torque, switching from a SpeedDrive configuration on flat or low intensity terrain to a TorqueDrive configuration on hilly or other high resistance terrain. The Smart Control system automatically manages the drive mode, changing to accommodate the ride
environment.

ARC regenerative braking
The ARC Regen system is an energy recovery system that captures power through both regenerative
braking and when the bike exceeds 20mph, returning power to the battery supply.

IC Dashboard
The onboard display reveals Speed, Trip Distance, Odometer, Battery Range, and a Carbon Footprint Readout. The rider can control the assist levels and integrated LED lighting (on select models) from the IC Dash as well.

Not Just Another E-Bike
Most electric bikes are either throttle controlled or pedal assist. However, Polaris e-bikes feature both poweron demand (through the use of a throttle) and pedal assistance (the motor provides power assistance during the regular pedal motion). The throttle works just like a throttle on a scooter or motorcycle would and there is no need to pedal. The pedal assist mode will match or exceed the rider's pedal power to give them assistance in riding. A rider can choose the type of assistance needed based on the ride.

Vector, Strive and Meridian
With 3 different lines and a total of 7 models, Polaris bikes hit all niches. The Vector line includes all around rugged e-bikes designed to go from the trail to the street and every place in between. The Strive line features touring models, built for comfort and ease. The Meridian line targets the urban commuter with its sleek European styling, fenders and front LED lighting. All models of e-bikes will be distributed throughout the Independent Bicycle Dealer network, as well as select Polaris dealerships nationwide.

Polaris is Serious about Electric Vehicles
Over the past couple of years, Polaris has been strategically working its way into the light electric vehicle (LEV) field. Polaris purchased GEM (Global Electric Motorcars), neighborhood electric vehicle company, and has recently relaunched the line. Polaris additionally acquired Goupil Industrie SA, a commercial light electric vehicle manufacturer and has made a sizeable investment in Brammo electric motorcycles. The introduction of a Polaris branded electric bicycle is a natural extension in brand development.

About POLARIS
Polaris is a recognized leader in the powersports industry with annual 2011 sales of $2.7 billion. Polaris designs, engineers, manufactures and markets innovative, high quality off-road vehicles (ORVs), including all-terrain vehicles (ATVs) and the Polaris RANGER® side-by-side vehicles, snowmobiles, motorcycles and on-road electric/hybrid powered vehicles.
Polaris is among the global sales leaders for both snowmobiles and off-road vehicles and has established a presence in the heavyweight cruiser and touring motorcycle market with the Victory and Indian motorcycle brands. Additionally, Polaris continues to invest in the global on-road small electric/hybrid vehicle industry with Global Electric Motorcars (GEM) and Goupil Industrie SA, and internally developed vehicles. Polaris enhances the riding experience with a complete line of Pure Polaris apparel, accessories and parts, available at Polaris dealerships.

Polaris Industries Inc. trades on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol "PII", and the Company is included in the S&P Mid-Cap 400 stock price index.

About EVantage, LLC
EVantage is a developer of electric drive systems and high performance electric bicycles. Founded in 2009, with offices in Miami Beach, FL, Boston, MA, and Hong Kong, EVantage designs motor systems to include proprietary technology that meet the fast evolving demands of the electric vehicle category. They specialize in providing the whole package: engineering, design and development. Their electric bicycles are designed as a complete system to include not only the electric components, but also the bike design bike itself. The result is a complete and unique electric bike experience, rather than an add-on, off the shelf product. Proprietary technology is the benchmark for any EVantage system, currently driven by their DUODRIVE
motor technology. With facilities in the USA and Hong Kong, EVantage is a developer of full line products as well as an OEM supplier of electric motor systems.