Have you been thinking about going electric for your next side by side or utility terrain vehicle (UTV)? Electric side by sides and UTVs have seen surging popularity in recent years as off-roading enthusiasts make the switch from gas to electric.
In this comprehensive guide, we’ll cover everything you need to know before buying an electric side by side or UTV. You’ll learn how they work, pros and cons, key specs to compare, and our top picks on the market. We’ll also look at maintenance, performance, pricing and more so you can make an informed purchase decision.
Table of Contents
How Do Electric Side by Sides and UTVs Work?
Electric side by sides are all-terrain vehicles powered by an electric battery pack and motor instead of an internal combustion gas engine. The high-voltage battery sends power to an electric motor that propels the wheels of the vehicle.
UTV stands for “utility terrain vehicle”. They are 4-wheeled vehicles designed for off-road use with side-by-side seating for a driver and passenger. UTVs can have either gas or electric powertrains.
Here are the main components of an electric UTV:
- Battery pack – Provides power by storing chemical energy. Lithium-ion batteries are most common due to their high energy density.
- Electric motor – Converts electrical energy from the battery into mechanical energy to turn the wheels. Common types are AC and DC motors.
- Controller – Regulates power between the battery and motor. Allows acceleration and regen braking.
- Charger – Recharges the battery pack when plugged into an electrical source. Onboard or external options.
Many electric UTVs also have a small gas engine range extender option to increase range. This charges the battery while driving.
Top Electric Side by Side and UTV Models
The electric side by side and UTV market has expanded in recent years as major manufacturers launch new models. Here are some of the top electric models available today:
Polaris Ranger EV
The Polaris Ranger EV is one of the best selling and most popular electric UTVs. Key specs:
- Range: 50 mile
- Motor: 45 hp
- Towing Capacity: 1,500 lb
- Seats: 2
- Price: Starts around $11,699
Can-Am Ryker EV
The sporty Can-Am Ryker EV side by side stands out for its unique three-wheel design.
- Range: 80 mile
- Motor: 110 hp
- Max Speed: 65 mph
- Seats: 3
- Price: Starts at $24,999
Kubota’s RTV-X1140 packs impressive performance and over 100 miles of range.
- Range: 110 mile
- Motor: 40 hp
- Cargo Capacity: 1,200 lb
- Seats: 3
- Price: MSRP $20,499
The all-electric NZT UTV from Nikola offers high-end luxury combined with zero emissions off-roading.
- Range: 150 mile
- Motor: Up to 590 hp
- Seats: Leather heated seats
- Price: $28,000 to $61,000
Torque Amped Motors Raptor
This fully customized electric UTV conversion cranks out 180 hp for incredible speed and power.
- Battery: Custom lithium battery
- Motor: 180 hp AC motor
- Acceleration: 0-60 mph in 4.5 seconds
- Price: $38,000+
Key Buying Considerations for Electric UTVs
If you’ve decided to go electric for your next side by side, here are some of the most important factors to consider when choosing a model:
Range is a key consideration since it determines how far you can travel between charges. Entry-level electric UTVs may only get 50-60 miles per charge. Higher-end models can now reach 150+ miles on a single charge. Consider your average trip length when selecting range.
2. Power and Performance
Electric motors provide instant torque and rapid acceleration. However, power output varies widely by model from 20 hp in basic UTVs up to 180+ hp in high-performance electric side by sides. Make sure to choose adequate power for your needs.
3. Charging Time
Most electric UTVs take 8-12 hours to fully recharge on Level 1 charging. Some models offer faster Level 2 charging that can fully recharge in 3-4 hours. Rapid charging capabilities are limited but improving.
4. Passenger and Cargo Capacity
Standard side by sides fit 2 passengers, while some seat up to 6 people. Cargo beds carry 500-1,500 lbs typically. Match capacity to the number of people and gear/cargo you plan to haul.
Electric UTV prices currently range from around $10,000 for entry-level models up to $40,000+ for luxury high-performance models. Gas-powered UTVs still offer a lower upfront cost.
6. Availability of Parts/Service
Since electric UTVs are newer, it may be harder to find replacement parts and qualified service. Brands like Polaris have good part availability. Do research before buying.
Electric vs Gas UTV: How Do They Compare?
Electric and gas-powered UTVs have distinct advantages and disadvantages in certain areas. Here’s an overview of how they compare:
One major perk of electric UTVs is dramatically lower maintenance needs. Electric motors have far fewer moving parts and fluids than gas engines, so there’s no need for oil changes, air filters, belt replacements, tune ups, etc.
Electric UTVs run very quietly with their electric motors versus the loud roar of gas engines. This makes them ideal for hunting or any setting where reduced noise is preferred.
Electric UTVs have zero tailpipe emissions making them more eco-friendly than gas models which pollute the air. However, manufacturing batteries has its own environmental impacts.
Electric motors provide instant and abundant torque from 0 rpm. This delivers excellent acceleration and hill climbing ability. However, gas UTVs offer longer range and quick refueling.
Cost of Ownership
Electric UTVs are generally more expensive to purchase upfront, but save on fuel and maintenance costs long-term leading to lower total ownership costs.
As technology continues improving, electric UTVs will reach cost parity and exceed gas models in performance. But for now, there are still some limitations to consider if choosing electric.
Pros of Electric Side by Sides and UTVs
Here are some of the biggest advantages of choosing an electric side by side or UTV:
- Ultra-quiet operation – Great for hunting or noise-sensitive areas.
- Instant torque – Electric motors have full torque at 0 rpm for quick acceleration.
- Lower maintenance – No oil changes, tune ups, belt replacements, etc. Reduces costs.
- Zero emissions – No tailpipe emissions for reduced environmental impact.
- Charging at home – Conveniently charge your UTV at home overnight on 110V.
- Performance – Rapid acceleration and precise throttle control from electric motors.
Cons of Electric UTVs
There are also some downsides to consider before choosing electric:
- Limited range – Most models only get 50-100 miles per charge. Constraints longer trips.
- Long recharge times – Fully recharging often takes 8+ hours on Level 1.
- Fewer model options – The gas UTV market is much larger currently.
- Expensive – Electric UTVs carry a price premium over gas models.
- Parts availability – Since electric models are newer, replacement parts can be harder to source.
- No long-term reliability data – Gas UTVs have a long, proven performance history so far.
Keep in mind the limitations are steadily improving with better batteries and longer ranges coming to market. As more models launch, electric UTVs will continue getting better in areas they currently lag.
Electric Side by Side and UTV Specs
To help compare the key stats and capabilities of different electric UTV models, here is a specifications table for some top options:
|Polaris Ranger EV
|Starts around $11,699
|Can-Am Ryker EV
|Starts at $24,999
|Up to 590 hp
|$28,000 to $61,000
|Torque Amped Raptor (Model not found)
This covers some of the most important specs like seating capacity, motor power, range, tow rating, top speed, and price. Use this to find a model aligned with your needs.
Pricing of Electric vs Gas UTVs
One barrier to electric UTV adoption is their higher upfront purchase price compared to gas models:
Gas UTV Pricing
- Entry-level: $8,000 – $12,000
- Mid-range: $12,000 – $18,000
- High-end: $18,000+
Electric UTV Pricing
- Entry-level: $12,000 – $18,000
- Mid-range: $18,000 – $25,000
- High-end: $25,000+
However, electric UTVs can pay off their price premium over time through much lower fuel and maintenance costs compared to gas models.
More affordable electric options are hitting the market, helping make them more cost competitive with gas. But for now, the higher initial purchase price remains an obstacle for some buyers.
Top Speed and Acceleration
One advantage of electric side by sides is lightning-fast acceleration thanks to the instant torque of electric motors. Here’s a look at top speed and 0-60 mph acceleration times for some models:
- Polaris Ranger EV: 25 mph top speed, 8.5 seconds 0-60 mph
- Can-Am Ryker EV: 65 mph top speed, 4.5 seconds 0-60 mph
- Kubota RTV-X1140: 25 mph top speed, 12 seconds 0-60 mph
- Nikola NZT: 50 mph top speed, 6 seconds 0-60 mph
- Torque Amped Raptor: 75 mph top speed, 4.5 seconds 0-60 mph
While base electric UTV models have similar speeds to gas, high-performance versions like the Raptor demonstrate the potential for much greater speed and acceleration long-term as technology keeps improving.
Major Problems and How to Fix Them
Since electric UTVs have far fewer parts than gas models, they tend to be very reliable with minimal issues. But here are some potential problems and how to address them:
- Battery not charging – First check charge connections. Try different outlet. May need battery replacement.
- Motor problems – Motor repair or replacement needed. Contact authorized service center.
- Controller failure – Causes power delivery issues. Controller will need replacement.
- Overheating – Clean debris from radiator intake, keep fan clear. Don’t overload vehicle.
- Loose electrical connections – Inspect wires and connectors. Replace damaged ones.
- Error codes – Refer to owner’s manual for each code meaning. Reset computer if needed.
Follow scheduled maintenance and promptly address any issues to keep your electric UTV running smoothly for years. Most problems can be resolved by an authorized service technician.
What Owners Are Saying – Electric UTV Reviews
Current electric side by side owners have mostly positive things to say after using their vehicles. Here are some example customer reviews and reactions:
“The quiet ride and instant acceleration of the Ranger EV are so impressive. I don’t miss the noise and smell of a gas engine at all.”
“The Ryker EV is an absolute blast to drive with its sporty handling and insane torque off the line. Range could be better but it works for my needs”.
“I recouped the higher cost of my UTV within 2 years from the gas and maintenance savings. Very economical to own long term.”
“Kubota’s electric UTV has worked flawlessly for over 200 hours of use so far on our property. Very reliable and powerful.”
“Electric power just makes sense for UTVs. I don’t need to haul gas cans or change oil, just charge it overnight and go.”
In general, owners praise the performance, low noise, and lack of maintenance. Range and charging time remain common complaints. But the consensus is electric technology works very well and will only get better.
Top Electric UTV Alternatives
While Polaris, Can-Am, Kubota and others lead the electric UTV market, here are some other great zero emission UTV options:
- Volcon Grunt – All-electric UTV with 100 mile range and 124 hp. Ultra-quiet for hunting. $24,000 starting MSRP.
- Rivian R1T – This electric pickup will come in a 3-passenger off-road edition for 2023. Over 300 miles of range.
- Vanderhall Edison 2 – Fun 2-seat side by side with 200 hp and over 200 mile range. $34,950 MSRP.
- Zero FX – Popular electric dirt bike also comes in a dual sport UTV version. 46 hp motor and customizable battery.
- Custom Conversions – Third parties like Torque Amped offer UTV battery conversions for DIY builders.
The electric off-road segment keeps expanding. Expect many more capable and affordable options in coming years as the technology evolves.
Are Electric UTVs Right for You?
Electric side by sides and UTVs offer many benefits over gas models, but also have some limitations to factor in. Here are a few key questions to help decide if electric is right for your needs:
- How long are your rides? Range may be a concern if over 50-60 miles.
- Is fast charging necessary? Long 12 hour charge times can be inconvenient for rapid recharging needs.
- Is upfront cost a factor? Gas UTVs are cheaper to purchase initially.
- Is low maintenance appealing? Electric reduces costs and hassle long-term.
- Do you value quiet operation? Electric UTVs are ultra-quiet for hunting and similar uses.
If you can work within the range constraints and afford the higher initial cost, electric can be an excellent choice to reap benefits like lower noise, zero emissions, and minimal maintenance.
The Future of Electric Side by Sides and UTVs
The electric side by side and UTV segment is still in its infancy, but growth and innovation are accelerating at a rapid pace. What can we expect down the road?
- More affordable models hitting the market, closing the price gap with gas vehicles.
- Significant advances in battery range, power, and charging speed thanks to newer lithium technologies.
- More high-performance electric options rivaling the best gas models in speed and power.
- Additional global players launching electric UTVs and side by sides.
- Improved charging networks for longer trips, camping, etc.
The future is very bright for electric off-road vehicles as they mature and surpass gas technology across key metrics. Exciting innovations lie ahead in this rapidly growing category.
Final Thoughts on Buying an Electric UTV
We hope this comprehensive guide provided you all the information you need to make an informed electric side by side or UTV purchase. Test drive the models matching your needs to experience their impressive performance and minimal noise.
While early electric UTVs had limitations, the technology is advancing quickly to expand range, power and overall capability. The environmental and maintenance benefits are undeniable. The future points to electrification that will transform the off-roading experience for the better.