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Brammo bought by Polaris

Polaris Industries Inc. said today it has acquired electric motorcycle maker Brammo Inc.

The Minneapolis manufacturer of recreational powersports vehicles is also leading a recapitalization of Brammo, enabling the Talent-based company to focus exclusively on the design, development and integration of electric vehicle powertrains.

Polaris, which had sales of $3.8 billion in 2013, will begin manufacturing Brammo Enertia and Empluse bikes at its Spirit Lake, Iowa, facility the second half of this year. Polaris currently makes its Victory and Indian motorcycles in Spirit Lake.

Polaris has been financially vested in Brammo since 2011. Brammo, which began commercially marketing its Enertia model in 2009, developed and launched a series of models, but struggled to gain mainstream acceptance in the marketplace.

It moved from Ashland to spacious new quarters in the former Talent Walmart at the beginning of 2014.

Late last year, the company laid off several employees and put operations on hold. Founder Craig Bramscher indicated a deal was in the works, but was otherwise mum.

He was not immediately available for comment Thursday.

The two companies will leverage Polaris’ position in the global powersports industry to market a variety of electric vehicles utilizing Brammo’s groundbreaking, lithium-ion electric drivetrain technology, while freeing Brammo to continue developing its innovative electric vehicle powertrains.

A Polaris spokesperson said between 20 and 30 employees likely will remain at work at the Talent powertrain facility.

Brammo presently supplies its Brammo Power battery pack and Brammo Power vehicle management systems globally to a wide range of manufacturers.

“We have enjoyed our involvement with Brammo Motorcycles over the past three years, and our excitement about their industry-leading lithium-ion electric drivetrain technology has increased commensurate with their improvements in cost and performance," Polaris Chairman and CEO Scott Wine said in a statement.

Polaris has been a strategic investor and partner with Brammo since 2011. During that time, the companies have collaborated on a number of projects in motorcycles and off-road and on-road vehicles.

“Today’s announcement strengthens not only Polaris’ commitment to bringing our consumers lithium-ion electric solutions, but also this partnership’s ability to continue innovating and developing leading electric drivetrain technology,” said Wine.

"We anticipate a return on these investments and believe the new alignment brings us that much closer to delivering world-class electric solutions across our products.”

Reach reporter Greg Stiles at 541-776-4463 or business@mailtribune.com. Follow him on Twitter at www.twitter.com/GregMTBusiness, on Facebook at www.facebook.com/greg.stiles.31, and read his blog at www.mailtribune.com/Economic Edge.