At the beginning of March, 2021, Polaris and Zero Motorcycles announced that the first fruit of their 10-year electric vehicle partnership would roll out by the end of 2021. Zero electric powertrains would be used in the next generation of electric Polaris off-road vehicles and snowmobiles, with the all-new electric Polaris Ranger UTV being first out of the gate.
Ahead of the electric Ranger’s release in December, 2021, Polaris just released this pre-production testing video. In its first announcement about the impending range of EVs it was making, Polaris made a distinction between “off-road vehicles” and “snowmobiles.” They may normally not be the same thing, but this video clearly shows this electric Ranger prototype doing quite well for itself in the snow.
As Ranger program VP Chris Judson says in the video, Polaris wants people to know that this is a powerful, capable utility vehicle—but that all that torque the Zero motor produces means it’s also a whole lot of fun. After all, who doesn’t like to have fun while they’re doing work?
Shot not far from Polaris HQ at Minnesota’s Mille Lacs Lake, the prototype electric Ranger appears to plow snow on the lake with ease. Not only that, but a second test shows the Ranger towing some kind of trailer behind it, though it’s not clear if there’s anything in the trailer, or how much any items in the trailer might weigh, since it’s completely enclosed.
The cold weather factor is also an important thing to demonstrate, since that’s a considerable source of practical trepidation for people considering electric vehicle purchases. Historically speaking, electric vehicles usually tend to do worse in cold weather. This video doesn’t offer any numbers by way of reassurance, but does show short bursts of the electric Ranger prototype pulling strong out in temps as low as –8 degrees Fahrenheit.
We look forward to learning more about this project as it develops, and look forward to seeing more Zero Motorcycles collaborations in various industries out in the wild.