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Electric UTVs – All Your Questions Answered

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Electric Polaris UTV
Polaris Ranger EV | Photo from Polaris

Electric UTVs

Electric vehicle logo

Pros

  • Environmentally conscious (no pollution/no emissions)
  • Savings at the pump
  • Very quiet (excellent for hunting)
  • Less maintenance expenses (about 35% less – no oil changes, no spark plugs, no fuel filters)
  • Fewer moving parts = less parts that can break down

Cons

  • Higher initial cost
  • Weight (batteries can add 200 – 300 extra lbs)
  • Can’t travel long distances (you can’t just pack extra gas)
  • Inability to easily charge ( when camping, traveling, multi day trips)
  • Less powerful
  • Potential for “travel anxiety” / worry about running out of juice

How Much Does An Electric UTV Cost?

There’s no getting around the fact that electric UTVs cost more than traditional gas models.

Expect to pay upwards of $3,000+ more for an electric model over a traditional gas model.


Electric John Deere UTV
John Deere TS 4×2 | Photo From John Deere

Price Comparison Of Similar Gas / Electric UTVs

Polaris Ranger 500 Gas  $9,500 / Polaris Ranger EV Electric  $12,500

John Deere TE 4×2 Gas  $7,400 / John Deer TS 4×2 Electric  $12,400


Does Using Electricity Vs Gas Save Money?

Electric UTV vs gas UTV

Yes, on average, using electricity is generally 25% – 50% less expensive than gas.


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Cost To Run An UTV On Electricity Vs Gas

Obviously it’s very exciting to consider the prospect of never having to pay gas again. It’s one of the major expenses that off roaders have to pay in order to enjoy the sport.

But it’s not like electricity is free.

So, how much cheaper is electricity over gas? 

Calculations For Electric vs Gas Expenses

An enthusiastic ATV user may ride 300 miles a month for 7 months a year for a total of 2100 yearly miles.

For this calculation, I’ll use .12 cents per kilowatt-hour which is the average price of electricity in the US.

The Polaris Ranger EV has has a 11.7 kw battery pack that has a range of 50 miles. (For the sake of argument, we’re going to assume you get the full 50 miles even though this is unlikely)

Electric Costs

*Electric = $1.44 per 50 miles

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(12kw battery x .12 kw hour (rounded up from 11.7kw) to fully charge = $1.44)


Gas Costs

Most UTV riders report abut 15 mpg for average UTV trail riding.

*Gas = $7.83 per 50 miles

(50 miles / 15mpg = 3.33 gallons of gas. 3.33 x $2.35 (gas price) = $7.83


Electric Vs Gas

*50 miles = $1.44 Electric / $7.83 Gas  (Gas is $6.39 more expensive)

*2100 miles = $60.50 Electric / $328.90 Gas  (Gas is $268.40 more expensive)

So, at current gas prices, using gas is approximately 5.4 times more expensive than electricity.

A Few Considerations

  • This is based on the Polaris achieving a range of 50 miles which is definitely on the high side. This is what the manufacturer lists as the high end range, but it’s more likely that with average use you’d achieve a range closer to +- 40 miles.
  • Gas prices are lower than they’ve been over the last 10 years and they’re more than likely going to go up in the future.
  • Electricity costs vary widely by state, so you will need to base your calculations on where you live.
  • For example, electricity in Rhode Island is double the cost of electricity in Kentucky – .22 vs .11. Check your state electricity rates.

Electric Hisun UTV
Hisun Motors Sector E 1 | Photo from Hisun

Are Electric UTVs Worth The Money?

Maybe…..

This is a hard question to quantify.

If a person is environmentally conscious then the dollars and cents part of the equation isn’t what’s most important.

However, most of us are working on a budget, so dollars and cents definitely do matter.

On average, you need to keep an electric UTV for 6+ years in order make up the extra $3,000 in price*.

*We calculated this using the cost difference between electricity and gas while also factoring in the higher yearly maintenance expenses of a gas UTV. Maintenance expenses for a gas UTV are between $300 – $400 a year. (if you DIY, maintenance expenses can be dramatically decreased)


Determining The Costs Of Ownership

  • $268 x 6 years = $1608 gas
  • $195 x 6 years = $1170 maintenance for a gas UTV
  • $2778 = 6 year ownership costs of a gas UTV

An electric UTV costs $3,000+ more than a gas UTV, so you would need to own an electric UTV for just under 6 years in order to recoup these initial expenses.

For this calculation we assumed that an electric UTV will have maintenance expenses about 35% less than a similar gas model. We also used the low end of maintenance, so $300 x 65% = $195 yearly maintenance expenses for a gas UTV.

This is a quick view that can be impacted by other factors including increases/decreases in the price of electricity and gas, how well you maintain your vehicle, how hard you drive, vehicle/battery quality and ambient temperatures where you live.


Is An Electric UTV Right For You?

When deciding if an electric UTV is a good fit for you, a lot depends on how you use your vehicles.

If you’re buying a UTV for working around the yard, homestead or ranch then range and charging would present minimal problems.

You get your work done, head home and plug in. For this type of use, the cons of an electric UTV probably wouldn’t pose too many problems.

Also, since electric UTVs are quiet, they’re a good fit for hunters who don’t need to worry about range.

But, if you’re the type of user who enjoys camping, multi day trips or ATV vacations, then an electric UTV may not be ideal fit.

You would need to consider how you would charge while “on the go”. If you’re staying at a campground with hookups, obviously it’s not an issue.

But if you’re staying at an ATV resort or hotel, how are you going to charge?

As electric cars become more popular, eventually we’ll see more and more charging stations popping up. I imagine even small, remote towns will eventually have charging stations, but currently we’re a long way from that reality.


How Will I Know When My Battery Is Low?

All electric UTVs have an easy to read battery gauge that shows you how much battery power you have left.

One thing to keep in mind, not all battery power is created equal. You can’t just head out on the trail and turn around when the battery gauge is at 50%.

Some driving conditions use a lot more battery power than other. Fast driving and traveling up hills will eat up battery power a lot faster than slow travel on an even surface.

So, you will need to factor in a “margin of error” to stray on the side of caution. This doesn’t have to be difficult. You can easily factor in 20% emergency battery use. Instead of heading home when your batteries are at 50%, just start heading back when they’re at 30%.

For some people this can create a sort of low level anxiety and make it seem like you’re always worrying about running out of juice out on the trail. But, other people are OK with this limitation and adjust accordingly.

You have to be honest with yourself and decide if this is going to cause you stress.


How Far Can An Electric UTV Go?

Electric UTV

For a “mid price range” UTV, you can expect to get about 35 – 40 miles on a single charge.

If money is no object, a high end model like the Nikola NZT can get up to 150 miles.

Hisun Motors Sector E 1

  • Starts @ $11,300
  • Range: +- 45 miles  
  • Charge Time: 6 – 10 hours

Polaris Ranger EV

  • Starts @ 11,900
  • Range: +- 50 miles
  • Run Time: 3 – 4.3 hours at 10 -15 mph
  • Charge Time: 8 – 12 hours

Nikola NZT

  • Starts @ $80,000
  • Range: +- 150 miles
  • Charge Time: DC fast charge 2 hours / Regular 240v charge 15 hours

How Long Does It Take To Charge An Electric UTV?

It takes 6 – 12 Hours to fully charge an electric battery.

electric vehicle charging station

There are a few factors that can influence how fast your battery charges including temperature, existing charge, type of battery and quality of charger.

Using a standard home based 110 volt compatible charger, it would take 6 – 12 hours to fully charge your battery. Plan on charging overnight.

240 volt chargers can charge up to 5-8 times faster than a 110 volt charger. Unless you’re very handy, you’ll probably need to have an electrician install this type of charger as it requires an upgrade to most home electrical systems.


Electric Battery Facts

  • 12v batteries (Polaris) last 6 years
  • After 5 – 6 years, batteries still maintain 80% of their capacity
  • To optimize battery use, don’t discharge batteries more than 80%
  • Temperatures impact electric batteries
  • The lower the temperature the shorter the range/mileage
  • Low temperatures can decrease range by up to 30%
  • When not in regular use, electric batteries will slowly lose their charge
  • Batteries will lose their charge faster in warmer temperatures
  • You should always charge your battery after use
  • A charged battery can withstand colder temperatures and resist freezing better than a partially depleted or fully depleted battery
  • New electric batteries will not be able to hold 100% capacity initially
  • A new battery will operate at about 80%
  • It takes between 50-125 charging cycles for a battery to operate at 100%
  • Electric batteries can freeze
  • If an electric battery’s internal temperature gets below 14 F, it won’t turn on
  • In freezing conditions you will need to plug in the battery charger in order to heat up the batteries
  • In cold weather, charging increases the battery temperature 17 – 27 F degrees per hour
  • Property battery maintenance can increase battery life up to 4 years

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