Have you been looking for a quieter, greener way to access your favorite remote hunting spots? Electric hunting vehicles allow hunters to get off the grid with zero emissions while remaining undetected.
In this comprehensive guide, we’ll cover everything you need to know about electric ATVs and UTVs for hunting. You’ll learn:
- How electric motors work and their key advantages
- Specs and features that matter most for hunting
- The pros and cons of going electric over gas
- How electric vehicles compare to gas-powered alternatives
- Frequently asked questions hunters have about electric models
- Our top recommendations for best electric hunting vehicles
Plus plenty more details to help you decide if an electric ATV or UTV is right for your needs. Let’s get started!
Table of Contents
An Introduction to Electric Hunting Vehicles
Electric ATVs and UTVs are rapidly gaining popularity among hunters who want an eco-friendly and quiet way to reach remote hunting areas.
These electric vehicles are revolutionizing hunter transportation by providing silent operation deep in the woods or fields. Their instant and quiet torque allow hunters to come and go undetected.
While electric motors have some limitations compared to gas engines, improvements in battery technology are quickly making electric ATVs and UTVs more capable over longer ranges. And they eliminate the headache of engine maintenance.
Many major ATV and UTV makers like Polaris, Honda, and Can-Am now offer electric models designed specifically for hunting applications.
Let’s look at how electric motors provide power and what sets them apart from gas engines when it comes to hunting.
How Do Electric Hunting Vehicles Work?
Electric hunting ATVs and UTVs operate using one or more electric motors powered by a rechargeable lithium-ion battery pack.
Here are the key components and how they work:
- Electric motor(s) – High torque electric motors provide power in place of loud gas engines. The instant and silent torque is ideal for hunting applications. Motors are connected to the wheels via gearbox and drivetrain.
- Lithium-ion battery pack – The large battery pack stores electricity to power the motors. Batteries can be charged by plugging the vehicle into an outlet.
- Motor controller – The controller manages delivery of power from the battery pack to the motor. It can also provide regenerative braking to recharge batteries.
- Throttle – The accelerator pedal controls motor speed by sending signals to the motor controller. More throttle increases vehicle speed.
- Gear selector – Shifts between different gear ratios for optimal power and speed. Some models use single speed transmissions.
- Charger – Converts AC from a wall outlet into DC to recharge the battery pack. Fully recharges batteries in 5-10 hours typically.
- DC-to-DC converter – Provides power for accessories, lights and electronics.
That covers the major components that allow electric vehicles to operate. Next let’s look at why they offer key advantages for hunters compared to gas-powered ATVs and UTVs.
The Benefits of Electric Vehicles for Hunting
Electric motors provide a number of compelling benefits that make ATVs and UTVs excellent choices for hunting:
Ultra Quiet for Stealth
The silent electric motors allow hunters to come and go from an area without disturbing wildlife. Gas engines announce your arrival from a distance.
Electric vehicle sounds are limited to tire noise over leaves and branches. You can get remarkably close to animals before being detected.
Lower Environmental Impact
Electric motors produce zero emissions while operating. Gas engines emit air pollutants and noise pollution which can disturb natural areas.
Electric operation protects the areas hunters cherish for future generations. It aligns with the values of responsible stewardship.
Lower Operating Costs
Electricity is a less expensive fuel than gasoline per mile traveled. And electric vehicles require far less maintenance without fluids, filters, spark plugs, etc.
You’ll save money on fuel and maintenance which helps offset the higher upfront vehicle cost over time.
Instant and Max Torque
Electric motors provide instant and peak torque as soon as you hit the accelerator. Gas engines have a lag before torque kicks in.
This instant power is extremely helpful for climbing hills, pulling cargo, and traversing areas with obstacles.
Compact and Lightweight Design
Electric powertrains are more compact and lightweight than gas systems. This helps create smaller, nimbler electric vehicles that can access tight areas.
The compact design also provides more storage space for your gear and equipment.
Key Specifications and Features for Hunting
When comparing electric and gas vehicles, these are the key specs and features that matter most for hunting applications:
- Noise Level – Measured in decibels, electric motors operate nearly silently. Gas engines are very loud in comparison, easily startling game.
- Range – Electric vehicles have 50-100 mile range per charge currently. Gas models can go 150+ miles on a tank. Range is increasing with battery improvements.
- Speed – Electric ATVs reach 25-50 mph top speeds, while UTVs range from 40-75 mph. Gas models are a bit faster. Speed caps may be applied for stealth.
- Torque – Electric motors offer instant torque, while gas engines have a lag before full torque engages. Important for time-sensitive situations.
- Charging Time – A full recharge takes 5-10 hours typically on Level 2 charger. Quick DC fast charging provides 80% charge in under 2 hours.
- Drivetrain – Important for traversing rugged terrain. Electric models come in 2WD or 4WD options like gas counterparts. Some have locking differentials.
- Ground Clearance – Important for clearing rocks, logs and other obstacles. Electric models offer 10+ inches of clearance.
- Cargo Capacity – Gas models can handle more weight currently. But electrics still offer 200-1000 lb. capacity for gear and game.
- Seating – Electric UTVs seat 2-4 passengers comfortably with additional rear storage. ATVs are single passenger vehicles.
- Battery Heating – Helps maintain range in cold weather. Heated batteries, enclosures and blankets keep batteries insulated.
Those are some of the most useful specs and features to compare between electric and gas hunting vehicles as you evaluate options.
The Pros of Electric Hunting Vehicles
To recap, here are the biggest advantages of choosing an electric over gas-powered ATV or UTV for your hunting needs:
- Ultra quiet for undetected hunting access. Electric motors are nearly silent.
- Lower environmental impact with zero emissions and less noise pollution.
- Lower long-term fuel costs compared to pricier and fluctuating gas. Just recharge at home.
- Provide instant torque for climbing hills, pulling cargo and maneuvering out of predicaments.
- Compact and lightweight design for accessing tight spots and trails gas vehicles can’t.
- Less maintenance without oil changes, engine fluids, filters, belts, and exhaust work.
- Improved hunter safety without exposure to exhaust fumes or risk of gas fires after rollovers.
For hunters who prioritize stealth, sustainability and simplicity, electric motors offer a compelling suite of advantages.
The Cons of Electric Hunting Vehicles
While the pros are plentiful, it’s also important to understand the current limitations of electric vehicles for hunting compared to gas models:
- Shorter range capabilities per charge versus what gas vehicles can go on a tank. Enough for most hunts but not multi-day expeditions.
- Longer recharge times than a quick gas refill. Fully recharging batteries takes hours at home, not minutes at a station.
- Higher initial purchase costs for now over comparable gas models. The total lifetime costs even out over years of use.
- Less torque for towing heavy loads like multiple game animals or gear over long distances. Better suited for lighter duty towing.
- Performance reductions in very cold weather. Battery range declines and power drops in frigid conditions until the pack warms up.
- Access to charging infrastructure like outlets at remote cabins to recharge. Generators can be used as a charging source when off-grid.
While downsides exist today, expanding charging networks and advancing battery tech will continue minimizing the tradeoffs of electric vehicles.
Next let’s see how today’s electric models stack up against popular gas-powered alternatives.
How Electric Vehicles Compare to Gas ATVs and UTVs
Gas-powered ATVs and UTVs currently lead electric models when it comes to capabilities like range, speed, power and load capacity. But electrics win when stealth and sustainability are the priorities.
Here is a more detailed comparison:
- More range – 150+ miles possible per tank
- Faster top speeds – Up to 70+ mph
- More power – For heavy loads, jumps and trail demands
- Quick refueling – Fill the tank in 2-5 minutes
- Proven technology – Gas has decades of field testing and refinement
- Loud engines – Easily disturb wildlife and nature
- Carry more gear/game – 1000+ lb. cargo capacity
- Seat more hunters – Up to 6 passengers
- Quicker acceleration – Powerful gas engines rocket out
- Tow heavy loads – 5,000+ lb. tow ratings
- Modifiable – Aftermarket parts are widely available
- Noisy operation – Gas engines shatter silence
- Ultra quiet – Near silent electric motor operation
- Lower environmental impact – Zero emissions vehicles
- Some gas capabilities – Top speeds of 45+ mph
- Lower operating costs – Less expensive electricity vs. gas
- Instant acceleration – Electric torque for hunting needs
- Shorter range – About 50-100 miles per charge currently
- Very quiet operation – Hardly make a sound
- Seat 2-4 hunters – Provide space for gear and game
- Clean running – Zero emissions vehicles
- Comfort features – Heated and cooled seats on some models
- Limited range/power – evolving as battery tech improves
- Higher upfront cost – Worth it long term for some hunters
As you can see, electrics have compelling benefits but also definite limitations compared to proven gas vehicle capabilities. Tradeoffs exist today between the two technologies.
Key Factors to Consider When Choosing Electric
Determining if an electric hunting vehicle meets your needs depends on several factors:
- Your hunting style – If you hunt large fields or make quick stalks near access points, electric can work very well. If you haul lots of gear into the deep backcountry, gas may still fit best.
- Your budget – Electric models come at a higher upfront cost but save long-term on fuel and maintenance. Weigh your budget and planned years of use.
- Your tech comfort – Getting familiar with a new electric vehicle requires an adjustment if you’re used to gas. If you like tech, electrics are easy to embrace.
- Access to charging – Consider your ability to charge at remote camps/cabins or use generators as charging sources when off-grid. More options emerging.
- Cold weather performance – Range takes a hit in freezing temps. But battery insulation technology improves this yearly. Determine your temp needs.
- Future-proofing – Gas models may become outdated sooner as countries/states begin banning gas vehicle sales. Electrics will increase in capability.
Evaluating these factors will help you decide what best suits your current and future needs.
Next let’s dive into the specs, pros, cons and key considerations for both electric ATVs and UTVs specifically.
Choosing an Electric ATV for Hunting
For solo hunters who want a nimble, quiet vehicle, electric ATVs are easy to maneuver trail bikes ideal for quick hunting trips.
Here are the details on electric ATV specs, features and how they compare to gas models:
Electric ATV Specs
- Seating: Designed for single rider only
- Motor: 30-50 hp equivalent electric motor
- Range: 50-100 miles on single charge
- Top Speed: 45-50 mph speed capped models
- Charging: Level 2 (240V) full recharge in 5-10 hours
Pros of Electric ATVs
- Ultra quiet operation from silent electric motor
- Compact size for tight access
- Maneuverable for quick stalks
- Lower maintenance than gas models
- Zero emissions green operation
Cons of Electric ATVs
- Range limitations compared to gas
- Longer recharge times
- Less power than gas for heavy loads
- Performance reductions in cold weather
- High upfront cost over gas equivalents
Key Buying Considerations
- Intended range needs – consider battery range vs gas tank capacity
- Charging access for remote use
- Capability tradeoffs versus gas models
- Budget – short term cost vs long term savings
Electric ATVs make excellent hunting companions for hunters prioritizing stealth and sustainability in a smaller package.
Next let’s examine the electric UTV landscape for hunters needing to haul more gear and game.
Choosing an Electric UTV for Hunting
Electric UTVs allow multiple hunters (or guides) to quietly access hunting areas together with cargo/gear capacity exceeding ATVs.
Here what you need to know about specs, pros, cons and buying considerations:
Electric UTV Specs
- Seating: 2-4 passengers
- Motor: 60-110 hp equivalent electric motor(s)
- Range: 60-120 miles on single charge
- Top Speed: 50-75 mph max speed versions
- Charging: Level 2 full recharge in 8-12 hours
Pros of Electric UTVs
- Very quiet operation from electric motor(s)
- Seat 2-4 hunters with gear/game storage
- Instant torque for off-road terrain
- Lower environmental impact than gas
- Comfort features like heated seats
Cons of Electric UTVs
- Expensive initial purchase cost
- Shorter range capabilities than gas UTVs
- Long recharge times compared to gas fill ups
- Not intended for extreme heavy towing/hauling
Key Buying Considerations
- Cabin space needed for hunters and gear
- Range required for remote access
- Charging logistics at camp sites/cabins
- Budget – short and long term cost considerations
For small groups needing capacity, comfort and quiet, today’s electric UTVs are compelling zero emission options.
Now that we’ve covered the key specs, pros, cons and buying considerations for electric ATVs and UTVs, let’s look at some top models on the market currently.
Best Electric Hunting Vehicles
Here are 5 of our top picks for electric hunting vehicles:
1. Polaris Ranger XP Kinetic
The Polaris Ranger XP Kinetic hunting edition provides a roomy, ultra quiet ride thanks to its all-electric powertrain.
- Seating for 3
- 110 hp output electric motor
- 80 mile range
- 2,500 lb. towing capacity
- 14 in. ground clearance
- Polaris Pro Shield cab options
2. Can-Am Renegade X Mr 1000R
The Can-Am Renegade X mr 1000R offers high output silence for hunters wanting a more rugged solo machine.
- 62HP, Rotax 650 cc V-twin, liquid cooled engine
- Selectable 2WD / 4WD with Visco-Lok auto-locking front differential
- 12 in. ground clearance
- Heavy duty battery protection
3. Honda FourTrax Recon ES
The Honda FourTrax Recon ES offers a trusted ATV platform for hunters needing a more budget-friendly option.
- 229cc air-cooled OHV longitudinally mounted single-cylinder four-stroke engine
- Front and rear cargo racks
- Electric shift program for easy speed control
- Relaxed rider ergonomics
4. Volcon Grunt
The Volcon Grunt provides ultra-quiet electric power in a lightweight package built for navigating off-road terrain.
- 60 mile battery range
- Top speed of 40 mph
- 9 inches of ground clearance
- 1,500 lb. tow rating
- Fat tire ready
- 750 lb. payload capacity
5. Polaris RANGER XP Kinetic UTV
The Polaris RANGER XP Kinetic offers multi-passenger electric adventure with ample cargo room for gear, game, and accessories.
- Seating for 4
- Bed capacity of 1,250 lbs.
- 14 in. ground clearance
- 2,500 lb. towing
- 110 hp electric motor
- Stealth quiet operation
Those are the top options to consider across electric ATVs and UTVs. Test driving models can help assess power and handling.
Now let’s cover some other key questions buyers have around electric vehicle ownership.
Key Questions About Electric Hunting Vehicles
Before making a choice on vehicles, here are the answers to some of the most common questions hunters have about electric models:
What Is The Range On A Fully Charged Battery?
It varies by model, but some electric models are rated for a range of over 500 miles per charge. Specific models like Renault Zoe, Hyundai IONIQ, Nissan Leaf e+, Kia e Niro, BMW i3 120Ah, Tesla Model 3 SR+, and Tesla Model 3 LR have ranges between 182 miles and 348 miles.
How Long Does It Take To Recharge The Batteries?
The slowest chargers, known as level 1 chargers, can recharge an electric vehicle battery in 40 to 50 hours. Some of the fastest chargers can charge a battery up to 80 percent in 20 minutes to an hour.
How Quiet Are Electric Motors Compared To Gas Engines?
Electric motors operate with virtually no sound. However, the sound quality coming from them can be very high-pitch and tonal. Many consumers often report a “whining” noise with electric motors.
Can Electric Vehicles Handle Rugged Off-Road Conditions?
Yes, they are designed for off-road use with 4WD. Electric UTVs can easily tackle challenging terrain and offer thrilling off-road experiences. They have excellent torque for climbing hills with gear and game.
Do Electric Motors Provide Enough Power For Hunting Needs?
An electric motor of X kW is comparable to a gas or diesel engine with HP 1.3-3 times higher.
How Do Batteries Perform In Cold Weather?
Range declines in cold temperatures until the battery pack warms up. However, design improvements like insulated batteries and battery heating now minimize losses.
Can Electric Vehicles Be Charged Remotely Off-Grid?
Yes, generators can be used as a charging source when outlet access is limited. Some public land sites also have EV charging stations now.
What Kind Of Maintenance Do Electric Vehicles Require?
Electric vehicles generally require less maintenance than their internal-combustion counterparts. They have fewer moving parts and fluids to change.
How Long Do Electric Vehicle Batteries Last?
The lithium-ion batteries in electric hunt vehicles are built to last 5-10 years or around 500 charging cycles before degrading significantly. However, some estimates range as high as 200,000 miles.
How Much Do Electric Hunting Vehicles Cost?
The cost varies widely based on vehicle type and features. For example, the Beast 48 2WD ranges from $10,995 to $12,695.
Can You Upgrade Electric Vehicle Batteries?
Currently batteries are not considered user-replaceable. But upgrades to newer battery technology can be performed by the manufacturer as they become available to improve range and performance.
Are Electric Vehicles Street Legal?
It varies by state regulations, but most electric ATVs and UTVs are designed for off-road use only. Some models offer on-road packages and meet safety requirements for street legality. Always check your local laws.
How Do You Insure Electric Hunting Vehicles?
ATV and UTV insurance providers are starting to offer policies for electric models. Coverage for liability, collision, theft and accessories is important. Charging systems may need homeowners or renters policy riders. Always clarify with your provider.
Can I Charge My EV At A State Park?
Some parks are starting to install electric vehicle charging stations as demand grows. Charging off-grid will require a portable generator. Always check parks for policies on EV charging access during your stay.
Hopefully those additional insights help address some of the unique aspects around electric vehicle ownership.
Now let’s recap the key takeaways on how electric ATVs and UTVs can potentially transform your hunts.
The Takeaway on Electric Hunting Vehicles
Here are the key points we’ve covered on how electric hunting vehicles compare and what they offer the modern hunter:
- Provide ultra quiet operation for undetected insertion to remote areas
- Offer zero emissions for lower environmental impact compared to gas
- Deliver instant torque from standstill for excellent handling and hill climbing
- Reduce lifetime fuel and maintenance costs compared to gas models
- Come in agile ATV models or multi-passenger UTVs to match needs
- Have limitations on range, towing, and cold weather performance currently
- Allow charging remotely with generators as off-grid charging improves
- Represent an investment in future-proof green technology as capabilities expand
For hunters who want a silent, sustainable way to access the wilderness, electric motors present a compelling option. And continual improvements to battery range, power and charging infrastructure make them more viable every season.
Electric or not, we wish you many safe and successful hunts ahead!