Last year we told you about Polaris and Zero Motorcycles joining forces to build electric side-by-sides and UTVs, and some other potential future off-road projects as well, like snowmobiles. The first piece of this electrified off-roader puzzle is the new Ranger XP Kinetic. That’s right, it’s an electric Ranger, but it’s not built by Ford.
You can order your Ranger XP Kinetic in Premium or Ultimate trims right now, the Premium comes with a 14.9 kWh lithium-ion battery and offers up to 45 miles of range, or about as much as remains in my 2011 Nissan Leaf. In Ultimate trim, the Ranger gets a second battery stack to offer a whopping 29.8 kWh of capacity and around 129 km of range. I only recommend the big battery guy if you have a REALLY big ranch in like Montana or whatever. Otherwise, where on earth are you going that is 64 km there and back in a UTV?
According to Polaris the Ranger XP Kinetic offers industry-leading horsepower and torque at 110 horses and 64 kg-ft of torque from the Zero-built electric motor. Apparently this adds up to a UTV with the ability to tow 1,134 kg on a trailer, or haul 567 kg in the bed. Hell, there are a lot of SUVs that can’t tow 1,134 kg! Colour me impressed.
I imagine this thing would be quite useful around the farm. I know for sure that when I was throwing hay bales around as a teen, it would have been way easier to manoeuvre the wagon with an electric UTV than with a 1998 Dodge Ram 2500. Plus the electric powertrain is nice and quiet so you aren’t waking the neighbours when you’re up to do chores before sunrise. That’s especially important if you’re taking your electric side-by-side out to the deer blinds. Stealth, man. It’s all about stealth.
Off-roading in this thing is super simple, as it delivers 14 inches of ground clearance. There are 29-inch Pro Armour X-Terrarin tires at each corner, and 10 inches of suspension travel to confidently get you over any terrain you can throw at it. I’d really like to try ripping one of these around out here in the desert, because I bet it can have a bit of fun once the serious glasses come off. A UTV isn’t just about work, you know?
“RANGER XP Kinetic is built for our hard-working customers who take pride in their work, value accomplishment, and are always looking for ways to maximise their productivity,” said Steve Menneto, President of Polaris Off-Road. “RANGER XP Kinetic unlocks the benefits of electrification to enable these customers to drive efficiency and get more done, giving them the power to do more than ever before.”
“Electrifying an already class-leading product is a very complicated undertaking, but with Polaris we had the advantage of starting with both the best UTV in the industry and a very talented and collaborative team,” said Sam Paschel, CEO of Zero Motorcycles. “The combination of Zero Motorcycles’ technology, our passion for electrification as a powertrain solutions provider, and Polaris’ dedication to consumer-led innovation has created an all-new electric Ranger that delivers an incredible rider experience.”
One of my favourite parts of the electric side-by-side future is that you won’t ever have to haul 19 l cans of gasoline in your truck from the station to home. You can just plug in the Ranger XP Kinetic at home and come out to a full “tank” every morning. Every electric Ranger comes with a standard J1772 plug for either level 1 or level 2 charging. You can get from zero to full in as quick as 5 hours on a standard L2, but can be upgraded to charge even quicker if necessary. Depending on how often you use your Ranger, a standard 110v outlet might be the best bet.
Perhaps the most important thing for most daily-use farmers and commercial operators is “uptime” and electric vehicles are great at optimising productivity. There are fewer moving parts and fewer things to maintain or repair, so there are far fewer incidents of the machine holding up a job. It comes with a 1-year warranty on all parts, a 3-year electric powertrain warranty, and an extended 5-year battery warranty. Polaris says scheduled maintenance costs are expected to be 70 per cent less than similar gas-powered machines.
OK, brass tacks time. How much is this thing going to cost you? Well, it isn’t cheap, with the Premium starting at $US24,999 (A$35,231) and the Ultimate coming in at $US29,999 (A$42,278). Consider that the gasoline-powered Ranger XP 1000 starts at $US18,799 (A$26,493) and it doesn’t seem too far-fetched. Sure it’s a serious premium, but the convenience, reduced maintenance, improved power and torque, and impressive towing/hauling capacities, the electric one might be worth the extra cash.