Indian Files EFTR Trademark for an Electric Motorcycle UPDATE
UPDATE (June 12, 2020): An Indian Motorcycle PR representative reached out to comment on this story, explaining that the EFTR will NOT be an electric version of the FTR, but rather a “youth-oriented product” that will be announced later this year. Here’s the full statement from the Indian Motorcycle PR team:
“The trademark application upon which Motorcycle.com based a recent story written by Dennis Chung on June 10, is related to a new youth-oriented product that will be unveiled later this year, and is not related to a new electric version of the FTR 1200.”
We’re leaving our original story below, but here’s our take on the clarification. The term “youth-oriented product” can mean a lot of things, from children’s balance bikes to mini-bikes like the Honda Monkey to an entry-level motorcycle. We know from the trademark filing that the term was being registered explicitly for “electric motorcycles and structural parts therefor,” confirming an electric power train.
Could the EFTR be a balance bike like Harley-Davidson’s IRONe? That would fit Indian’s clarification, and an EFTR balance bike would have as little in common with the FTR 1200 as the IRONe does with the Harley-Davidson Iron 883. But calling a balance bike a “motorcycle” in the trademark filing would be a stretch (and potentially open up safety regulatory issues that wouldn’t otherwise apply to balance bikes).
An electric flat tracker-styled mini-bike would be interesting, as would a larger but still entry-level model. Perhaps the part of the clarification we should focus on is the “not related to a new electric version of the FTR 1200” aspect. That seems fairly specific, while offering a bit of wiggle room. The “EFTR” name does suggest some kind of tie to the FTR name, but the statement may mean it won’t share the chassis or other elements as we had guessed. It may also mean the EFTR won’t offer a similar level of performance to the FTR 1200.
No matter what, we likely won’t have to wait too long to find out, as Indian’s statement is clear the EFTR will be unveiled later this year.
Our original report is as follows:
The application, filed with both the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, the European Union Intellectual Property Office and IP Australia, specifies the EFTR name is intended for “Electric motorcycles and structural parts therefor”, leaving little doubt that Indian is working on an electric version of the FTR 1200.
An EFTR would be the first electric motorcycle from Indian, but also the first from Polaris Industries since the 2016 Victory Empulse TT. The Empulse was shelved alongside the Victory brand in 2017, leaving the future of Polaris’ electric two-wheelers (and the technology it acquired from Brammo) in doubt. The new trademark suggests Polaris is preparing for an electric Indian, but it’s not clear whether it will share any technology with the Empulse TT.
Four years is a long time in the electric vehicle space, and the specs for the Empulse (which claimed 54 hp, 61 lb-ft. and a range of 140 miles) do not stand up against the competition today. The LiveWire claims an output of 105 hp and 86 lb-ft. with a range of 146 miles of city riding while the Zero SR/F claims 110 hp, 140 lb-ft. and 161 miles. Polaris must surely have made progress in the last four years, but the EFTR will need to claim comparable numbers to be competitive.
Unlike most electric motorcycles, the Empulse TT used a six-speed manual transmission. It’ll be interesting to see if the Indian EFTR will have a manual transmission as well.
We know from patent filings that the FTR was designed to be modular, and the new EFTR trademark suggests it will share some elements with the flat track-inspired roadster, though it will likely be more complicated than plopping an electric motor in the FTR 1200’s frame.
As with most trademark applications, there’s no indication on when we might expect to see the Indian EFTR. We’ll have more information here on Motorcycle.com as it becomes available.