With increasing government regulations on ATV manufacturers and a growing demand for quieter, simpler, and more cost-effective options, electric off-road toys are gaining traction in the market.
In this post, I would like to explore the many advantages of electric, showcasing their transformative impact on outdoor adventures and the desirable features they offer to owners.
Let’s start off when the benefits of one in comparison to gas-powered.
- Better for the environment – Electric produces zero emissions during operation, reducing air and noise pollution. Even if you don’t care about this, it does have benefits towards other features, like being quieter.
- Quieter – They generate significantly less noise, allowing for a more peaceful off-road experience. While guys look for mufflers to make their engines quieter, an electric model is naturally quieter. The best part is when you stop to talk to other riders and there is no engine noise to overcome.
- Lower maintenance costs – Electric have fewer moving parts, reducing the need for regular maintenance and lowering expenses.
- Simpler – Electric have fewer components, making them easier to operate and maintain. Most electric models don’t have a transmission, so no shifting gears or choking it to start the engine.
- More torque – Electric motors are offer more torque than gas-engines. If you do a lot of hauling with your ATV, then an electric is ideal.
- Runs cooler – Electric don’t use combustion to power itself, so no extra heat between your legs making you hot.
- Cheaper to charge – Charging an electric ATV is generally cheaper when in comparison to buying gas.
- Energy efficiency – Electric are more energy-efficient than gas, if the electric ATV is not moving then no energy is being used, unlike gas engines that need to stay on even when stopped.
- Regenerative braking – Electric often feature regenerative braking, which converts kinetic energy back into electrical energy, increasing overall efficiency.
- Customizable power – Electric offer adjustable power modes, allowing riders to tailor their performance to specific terrain or skill levels. Perfect for new riders or people you don’t want going full power on your ATV.
- Enhanced traction control – If an ATV has an electric motor at each wheel or at each driveshaft, you get better control and traction where it’s needed. The onboard computer can make complex decisions within a second and determine if one wheel needs more power than the other.
- Smoother ride – Electric deliver smoother acceleration and deceleration, enhancing overall ride comfort. There is no vibrating gasoline engine under you, it feels odd at first but so nice to not have the extra “noise” when riding or siting.
- Reduced vibration – Electric motors produce fewer vibrations, reducing rider fatigue during long rides.
- More features – With electric you get more and newer tech, often bigger screens and more things the ATV can do.
- Charging – No need to get gas at the gas station, just charge your ATV at your home or cabin you’re staying at. Even if you have to use a gas-powered generator to charge your ATV, that is still less fuel that is needed and easier to handle.
Drawbacks Of Electric ATVs & SXS
We can’t have only the benefits of electric ATVs and side by sides, let’s go over the few drawbacks to owning them.
- Limited range – Electric typically have a shorter range compared to gas-powered models. Depending on the battery capacity and terrain, the distance you can travel on a single charge may be limited. While there are no plugs in the woods, there are also no gas stations either, but carrying extra gas is easier.
- Longer charging time – Charging an electric ATV takes longer than refueling a gas one. Depending on the charger and battery capacity, it can take several hours or even overnight to fully charge an electric ATV.
- Cost more – Electric quads generally have a higher upfront cost compared to gas. With the cost of all ATVs and side by sides going up, it’s harder to get people to buy electric until they start to come down in price.
- Battery degradation – Over time, the performance of electric ATV batteries will get worse, meaning reduced range and power. Replacing the battery can be a costly and time-consuming.
- Weight – Electric tend to be heavier due to the added weight of the battery pack. This can affect the handling and maneuverability of the machine, particularly in rough or challenging terrain.
- Not many options – The range of electric available in the market is much lower compared to gas 4-wheelers, which offer a wider variety of options and features.
- Lack luster – The few electric ones that make it to market are a little lacking. Sure, they solve a problem for many, but there is not one with a stand-out feature or the WOW factor that riders are looking for.
Who Sells Electric ATVs & SXS?
Below is a collection of videos showing off the electric ATVs and side by sides you can get now.
Can-Am did have an electric Commander back in 2013, but stopped making it. With Polaris releasing their own EV, I suspect Can-Am to come back along with other manufacturers.
Top Speed Of Electric
Electric can be made faster, and will happen with time, as we’ve seen with electric cars. There is not much rush for faster quads that are electric because torque and control are more important. Electric motors offer more torque and lower-range power compared to gas-powered machines, so electric make more sense.
Combined, with electric ATVs and UTVs having more weight due to the batteries, they’re more of a workhorse than the gas powered ones. The only thing that limits them is the batteries, which keep getting better.
The 2013 electric Can-Am commander used lead-acid batteries, which are the worst you can use for electric vehicles. Now, you see electric ATVs and side by sides using lithium, which are lighter and offer more power and capacity.
Distance Of Electric
You can get anywhere from 20 miles up to 80 miles on electric ATVs or UTVs. For example, the Polaris RANGER XP Kinetic in the highest trim can get 80 miles on a charge.
Charging Time On Average
Charging times can vary on electric off-road machines, from as little as 3 hours up to 12 or more hours.
The new electric Polaris can charge in 6 hours with the standard battery charger or 3 hours with the better battery charger.