The Problem With Electric UTVs

riding electric UTVs on a farm

Source: MOTORTREND

Utility Terrain Vehicles (UTVs) have long been a staple for outdoor enthusiasts, farmers, and anyone needing to navigate tough terrain efficiently. While the automotive world has been abuzz with the shift toward electric vehicles (EVs), the UTV sector is not far behind with the introduction of electric models. 

Electric UTVs are quieter, need less maintenance, and have swift acceleration. However, there are some challenges to consider, such as their limited range, heavier build, and diminished top speeds. 

In this blog post, we're going to dive deep into the problems that come with electric UTVs while also shining a light on their positive aspects.

By the end of this article, you'll have the necessary insights to determine if an electric UTV is the right move for you. Get ready to uncover the details now!

Disadvantages of Electric UTVs

1. Range

The most significant issue with electric UTVs today is their limited range. Unlike traditional gas-powered UTVs, which can travel vast distances on a single tank, an electric UTV may only achieve 25 to 40 miles on a single charge due to battery constraints. This poses a challenge if you need to cover large areas without the constant recharging stops.

Nevertheless, top-of-the-line models with larger battery packs or more efficient drive systems can surpass these numbers. For example, the Ranger XP Kinetic Ultimate, which boasts the longest range among current models, yields 80 miles per charge with its substantial battery. This pales in comparison to the Ranger XP 1000, which achieves an estimated 230 miles on a full tank of fuel.

So, if you are considering buying an electric UTV, it’s crucial to assess your usual driving habits and whether the available range aligns with your needs.

2. Weight

Electric UTVs tend to outweigh their gas-powered rivals due to the substantial weight of their batteries. The increased weight makes them harder to handle and can make it more challenging to get over logs and rocks, climb up steep hills, steer through muddy patches, squeeze through tight spots between trees, or bounce over rocky fields.

3. Speed

While not all UTV users are looking for high speed, it's worth noting that many electric UTVs do not match the top speeds of their gas-powered counterparts. 

The average electric UTVs peak at around 80 mph and a comparable gas-powered UTV can offer top speeds up to 150 mph. For recreational uses, trail riding, dun bashing, and racing, this disparity in speed could diminish the overall experience.

4. Charging Time

Refueling a gas-powered UTV takes minutes, but recharging an electric UTV is a different story. Charging an electric UTV from 0 to 100 percent can take anywhere from 10 to 13 hours.

5. Battery Lifespan

Battery replacement is an expensive part of maintaining an electric UTV, and as batteries age, they hold less charge and further reduce the vehicle's range. This expected extra cost and decrease in performance over time is a significant consideration.

Driving 2023 Ranger XP Kinetic in a wood

Source: MOTORTREND

6. Power and Performance

For high-speed trail riding, rock crawling, mud bogging, towing heavy loads, and traversing bumpy or rough terrain while loading with heavy payloads, electric UTVs haven't been able to match the horsepower and torque ratings of gas-powered models, although electric motors do provide instant torque. 

7. Cold Weather Performance

Electric UTVs’ battery efficiency drops in cold weather, leading to decreased range and less power. This is particularly problematic if you’re planning to use your UTV for work or recreation in a colder region.

8. Towing and Payload Capacity

Often, electric UTVs have lower towing and payload capacities than their gas-powered counterparts. This can be a significant issue for farmers and ranchers, hunters, outdoor event organizers, and those who need their UTVs for heavy-duty work.

Electric UTVs are improving, gas-powered variants often retain an advantage in raw towing and payload capabilities. For example: 

  • The electric 2022 Polaris Ranger EV lists a towing capacity of up to 1,500 pounds and a payload capacity of 1,000 pounds, whereas the gas-powered 2022 Polaris Ranger 1000 has a greater towing capability of 2,500 pounds and a payload capacity of 1,500 pounds. 

  • The electric 2023 Polaris Ranger XP Kinetic has a towing capacity of up to 2,500 pounds and a payload capacity of 1,250 pounds, which is competitive with many gas-powered UTVs. 

In contrast, the gas-powered 2023 Polaris Ranger XP 1000 has a higher towing capacity of 2,500 pounds and a superior payload limit of 1,500 pounds. 

9. Resale Value

The resale market for electric UTVs is still developing, and it's unclear how well these vehicles will retain value. You should also consider potential depreciation. But as the market for electric UTVs grows, the resale value might improve. 

10. Limited Models Available

There are fewer features, styles, and price points to choose from. There simply aren't as many options on the market for electric UTVs as there are for traditional gas-powered ones. 

11. Cost

Finally, the upfront cost of electric UTVs is currently higher than that of gas-powered models. 

On average, electric UTV prices can range from around $10,000 for basic models to over $30,000 for high-end versions with advanced features and larger battery capacities.  

While you might save money on fuel and maintenance in the long run, the initial investment can be prohibitive for some. Below are the costs for various models of electric UTVs:

  • Ranger XP Kinetic Premium: Starts at $24,999 for a 45-mile range, and $25,000–$30,000 depending on the battery size

  • Ultimate: Starts at $29,999 for an 80-mile range

  • EV Pathfinder: Starts at $18,999 and has a 50-mile range

  • New Ranger EVs: Start at $12,299 

Advantages of Electric UTVs 

2024 Ranger XP KINETIC electric UTV

Source: Polaris

Despite the disadvantages, electric UTVs offer some compelling benefits:

Quiet Running

Electric UTVs operate almost silently, which is beneficial for not disturbing wildlife or the peace of the great outdoors. They offer a stealthy ride that’s as silent as it’s smooth, so they are pretty ideal for hunters, photographers, and nature watchers looking to enjoy the surroundings. 

If you're an avid hunter, riding an electric UTV allows you to approach animals much closer without scaring them away!

Cheaper Fuel

Electricity is cheaper than gas, so the ongoing cost of powering an electric UTV can be lower than a gas model. 

Comparing fuel costs for electric and gas UTVs over 10,000 miles: an electric UTV may cost $210 using average electricity prices, while a gas UTV might cost $1,400 at $3.50 per gallon, making electric operation significantly cheaper by $1,190. 

Plus, with the increasing availability of renewable energy sources, charging your electric UTV can be even more cost-effective and environmentally friendly. 

More Torque

Electric motors provide instant torque, which the electric UTVs boast faster acceleration and improved ability to tackle steep inclines with ease, especially when navigating challenging terrains. 

For example, the Ranger XP Kinetic immediately produces an impressive 150 lb.-ft. of torque upon acceleration. In contrast, the Polaris Ranger XP 1000, equipped with a twin-cylinder 999cc engine, generates about 82 horsepower and approximately 62 lb.-ft. of torque.

Similarly, the more modest Polaris Ranger EV, rated at 30 HP, provides a substantial 113 lb.-ft. of torque from the get-go, whereas a comparably powered gas-powered Polaris Ranger 500 delivers around 32 lb.-ft. of torque.

Less Maintenance

With fewer moving parts than combustion engines, electric UTVs require less routine maintenance, which translates to lower operating costs over time. 

You won’t have to worry about changing the oil, replacing fuel filters, swapping out spark plugs, or dealing with belt changes!

Additionally, the absence of exhaust systems, radiators, and various other components associated with gas-powered vehicles means you spend less time worrying about upkeep and more time enjoying your ride.

Will You Go Electric UTVs?

Electric UTVs running on a dusty trail

Source: GearJunkie

Shifting gears to an electric UTV could be your next big outdoor move. s about enjoying a quiet, smooth ride that neither startles wildlife nor disturbs the tranquility of nature.

Sure, the electric UTVs are not perfect—the shorter range, longer charge times, and reduced towing and payload capacities and that initial price tag could give you pause.

Just weigh your needs against what's rolling out in the electric UTV world, and you'll find your answer. Are you ready to ride the electric wave?

Final Thoughts

Guys UTV hunting and the UTV with Kemimoto Logo

We now have a clear understanding of the pros and cons of electric UTVs. The decision to switch depends on your specific needs and how these align with the evolving capabilities of electric UTVs. As the market grows, these vehicles may become increasingly viable for you.

But no matter your preference, Kemimoto has always got your back with an extensive selection of quality aftermarket parts for UTVs. Check out our UTV accessories website to explore more!

FAQs

1. Why Is UTV Not Working?

A UTV not working could stem from a variety of issues, from dead batteries to mechanical failures. 

For gas-powered UTVs, common problems that may impede operation include a drained battery, faulty spark plugs, clogged fuel filters, transmission issues, or electrical system malfunctions. 

To pinpoint the exact cause, you should consult the UTV's owner's manual, conduct a visual inspection for any apparent damage, or seek assistance from a certified mechanic experienced in UTV repairs.

2. Which Manufacturers Produce Electric Side-By-Sides?

Several manufacturers produce electric side-by-side vehicles. Among them are Polaris with their Ranger EV model, Nikola with the NZT, Hisun, Yamaha, and Intimidator. 

As the electric vehicle market expands, you can expect to see more players introducing electric UTV options.

3. Does Can-Am Produce Electric UTVs?

Yes, Can-Am makes electric UTVs, including the Commander Series. For example, the eCommander is an electric version of the Can-Am Commander side-by-side vehicle. This prototype has zero emissions, a 23 kW peak power electric motor, a 21.2 kWh lithium-ion battery, and a fast battery recharging time. 


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