SAN DIEGO — Zero Motorcycles is expanding production lines to meet the demand for its vehicles, signaling the continued growth of the electric vehicle market, Chief Executive Sam Paschel told attendees during the fireside chat at PowerSports Finance Summit 2019.
“This past year, we had upside that we couldn’t capture,” Paschel explained. “It’s a phenomenal problem to have, but it’s still a problem. We’re adding production lines; we’re expanding facilities; we’ve been expediting parts and bikes. We just had a board meeting where we spent the vast majority of the time talking about the operation and how we get to where we need to be.”
Zero released its latest model, the SR/F, in February and has been “scrambling” to keep up with the production, Paschel added.
The increased demand for the product signals to Zero that the electric powersports vehicle market continues to grow — even as the gas-powered motorcycle market shrinks. “There are the dynamics of the motorcycle market, which is continuing to recover but at a slower pace than everybody would like,” Paschel said. “There is single-digit growth, and it’s fairly saturated. The consumer, especially in North America, is getting older. And then there are the dynamics of the electric vehicle market, and our business has been on track.”
Additionally, there’s been a surge of competition in the space, with OEMs launching their own EV models, such as Harley-Davidson with its LiveWire or the entrance of Ubco into the U.S. market. Others, such as BRP, have released concepts for planned electric vehicles.
“Those signs, plus inbound dealer interests and continued growth in infrastructure, is like the positive canary in a coal mine,” Paschel said. “It’s a clear indicator of the fact that people believe enough [in the electric market] that they’re investing in infrastructure, which is a sign of expected future growth.”
Based in Scotts Valley, Calif., Zero Motorcycles works with 85 dealers in the U.S.