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Motorcycles Look Out LiveWire: Here Comes Can-AmThe electric motorcycle battle staging between Canada & America begins in 2024.

In late March, Canadian powersports manufacturer Bombardier Recreational Products, Inc. (BRP) teased its reentry into the motorcycle space after a 35-year absence. Recently, BRP unveiled a few more details about two new models, the Can-Am Origin and Can-Am Pulse, both 100% electric and powered by all-new Rotax E-Power technology.

Cue the ‘cannon-shot-across-the-bow-of-Live-Wire’ sound effect, please. 

LiveWire is part of Harley-Davidson’s brand portfolio, and invested in San Francisco-based Alta Motors in early 2018, only to pull its funding later in the year. Several ex-Alta employees work for LiveWire, with offices in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, and Mountain View, California.

Coincidentally, in February 2019 BRP announced the purchase of select assets of Faster Faster, Inc. (Alta Motors) as part of BRP’s longstanding interest in new technologies and alternate energy sources for the powersports industry. The corporate press release said:

This purchase includes certain intellectual property, patents and some limited physical assets from the former all-electric motorcycle design and manufacturing company. It is an opportunity for BRP to complement its ongoing research and development into this burgeoning area of expertise. BRP has no interest in restarting operations of Alta Motors and assumes no liabilities.

Known for pushing innovation to improve the rider experience, BRP is constantly on the lookout for the next generation of powersports solutions. BRP has already commercialized electric side-by-side vehicles for a number of years, has created electric and hybrid prototypes of Can-Am Spyder vehicles and is currently involved in electric karting with Rotax.

Additionally, Polaris — another BRP and Harley-Davidson competitor which also owns Indian Motorcycle — signed a 10-year agreement with Scotts Valley, California-based Zero Motorcycles in late September 2020 to help the Minnesota-based manufacturer usher in EV platforms across its many categories, many shared with BRP:

With Polaris’ scale and broad product lineup, this strategic partnership will be the largest in Zero Motorcycles’ history. Under this 10-year exclusive agreement, Polaris will develop, manufacture and sell electrified ORVs and snowmobiles using Zero’s powertrain technology, hardware and software. Zero Motorcycles has been designing, manufacturing and advancing electric motorcycles since 2006, and this partnership gives Polaris access to more than 14 years of unmatched experience and intellectual property.

The new electric Can-Am motorcycles are part of the Quebec-based corporation’s grand plans to celebrate the brand’s return 50th anniversary of its original motorcycle production in 2024.

The dual-purpose Can-Am Origin is a tribute to Can-Am’s Track ’n’ Trail off-road racing heritage. The Can-Am Pulse is designed for urban commuting, much like many of the electric road machines coming into the marketplace.

“Today, our story of innovation reaches new heights,” BRP President and CEO José Boisjoli said. “We have set out to reclaim our motorcycle heritage and are very proud to re-enter the market with the introduction of the first two models of our all-electric Can-Am motorcycle family.

“Half a century ago, Can-Am roared to victory on the track and the trail, and today, a legacy is reborn. In true BRP fashion, we are bringing our very own electric powerpack to our motorcycles, and crafting thrilling riding experiences for a whole new generation.”

The original Can-Am motocross and enduro bikes were designed with Rotax engines displacing 125, 175, 248, 366, 500 and 800cc. Gary Jones won the 1974 US 250cc American Motorcyclist Association (AMA) motocross national championship. Nine years later Bombardier licensed the brand and outsourced development and production of Can-Am motorcycles to Armstrong-CCM Motorcycles of Lancashire, England. By 1987, Can-Am motorcycle production ceased.

Moving into EVs

The dual-purpose Can-Am Origin is a tribute to Can-Am’s Track ’n’ Trail off-road racing heritage. The Can-Am Pulse is designed for urban commuting, much like many of the electric road machines coming into the marketplace. 

Both models are powered by the BRP’s proprietary electric powerpack technology, the all-new Rotax E-Power. With instant torque on demand, Can-Am motorcyclists will rely on a powerful on-board charger, with both models offering rapid charging times easy to charge at home or at automotive standard Level 2 charging stations, according to the company.

Moving forward, the Rotax E-Power technology will also be at the heart of all BRP electric models, across all product lines — from water to snow, to dirt and asphalt. BRP also owns Sea-Doo and Ski-Doo, and offers an extensive UTV line.

BRP plans on revealing full specs in August 2023. No retail pricing is currently available.