Polaris to build full-size off-road electric RANGER UTV with Zero Motorcycles powertrain

Polaris to build full-size off-road electric RANGER UTV with Zero Motorcycles powertrain – Mar. 1st 2021 5:00 am ET @MicahToll Polaris revealed plans this morning for its upcoming all-new 2022 RANGER EV. The vehicle will be a full-size electric side-by-side utility vehicle featuring an electric powertrain from Zero Motorcycles. The new 2022 RANGER EV will […]

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Polaris to build full-size off-road electric RANGER UTV with Zero Motorcycles powertrain

– Mar. 1st 2021 5:00 am ET

@MicahToll

Polaris revealed plans this morning for its upcoming all-new 2022 RANGER EV. The vehicle will be a full-size electric side-by-side utility vehicle featuring an electric powertrain from Zero Motorcycles.

The new 2022 RANGER EV will be the first electric vehicle developed as part of the new rEV’d up partnership with Zero Motorcycles announced last year.

The exclusive partnership will see Zero’s electric powertrain technology employed in four-wheeled, off-road electric vehicles developed by Polaris.

The company will officially unveil the 2022 RANGER EV in late December of this year.

Models are expected to reach dealerships by early 2022. With that timing, Polaris may be competing with new electric UTVs from Texas-based startup Volcon, which intends to release a two-seater and four-seater model in late 2021 and mid-2022, respectively.

Interim CEO of Polaris Mike Speetzen provided further context on the 2022 RANGER EV plans in a statement provided to Electrek:

“Our rEV’d up strategy positions Polaris to help define yet another chapter in powersports innovation. With the rising interest in electrified vehicles, we are investing in electrification in order to meet the needs of current customers as well as appeal to tomorrow’s powersports riders. The all-new electric RANGER is our latest effort aimed at leading the industry forward in electrified powersports vehicles.”

While we haven’t gotten a good look yet at the upcoming 2022 RANGER EV, Polaris did provide a teaser image.

2022 RANGER EV teaser image

The image doesn’t show much, but we do see an all new front fascia and headlight setup.

And yes, I tried lightening the image.

That old trick usually works, but the graphics team at Polaris did a good job of removing pretty much all of the data out of the shadows in the image.

All I get by playing with the levels is a blinding headache from the headlights.

Lightening the teaser image doesn’t reveal much

For now, this is all the info we have on the upcoming 2022 RANGER EV.

Despite my prying, a Polaris representative informed me that we can expect to see technical specifications at a later date.

Until then, though, let me put on my engineer’s hat and try to speculate. Meet me in the Take below.

Electrek’s Take

Zero’s most powerful motor is the ZF75-10, a motor that was unveiled along with the Zero SR/F electric streetfighter motorcycle in 2019.

With a peak power rating of 82 kW (110 hp), that motor probably won’t make it into the 2022 RANGER EV.

Instead, I’d expect the 2022 RANGER EV to sport zero’s lightweight ZF 75-5 motor, which puts out closer to 35 kW (46 hp) when paired with Zero’s 7.2 kWh battery pack. Zero’s SF75-7 motor would be another option, but its 52 kW (70 hp) is likely higher than this UTV needs.

Polaris actually offers a RANGER EV model already, and the 2021 version uses a 15 kW (20 hp) motor. That would mean that Zero’s smallest ZF75-5 motor would still be a significant power boost for the new electric side-by-side utility vehicle.

There’s also a chance that the company will use a single 3.6 kWh Zero battery, which would limit the ZF75-5 motor to 20 kW (27 hp) of power output. However, I don’t think such a small battery pack would be used on the UTV.

Here’s how the current 2021 Polaris RANGER EV looks

The current RANGER EV uses old wet cell lead acid batteries with a capacity of around 14.9 kWh. That would align nicely with Zero’s 14.4 kWh battery pack, though such a large battery would be quite expensive.

Instead, Polaris may try to get away with Zero’s mid-range 7.2 kWh battery pack to split the difference with pricing. The Li-ion battery can handle deep discharge much better than lead acid batteries and thus a smaller capacity can provide comparable performance to a larger capacity lead acid battery.

At this point , this is all speculation, but I think a 35 kW motor and 7.2 kWh battery pack are likely. There’s also a small chance that Polaris will simply use Zero’s motor and stick with those cheap lead acid batteries to keep the price down, but I doubt that will happen.

Speaking of pricing, the current 2021 RANGER EV is priced at just under $12K. But that vehicle uses EV technology that is, well… “dated” might be the kindest terminology to use.

A Zero motorcycle with a 35 kW motor and 7.2 kWh battery is priced at around $11K. I’m not sure how to value the non-powertrain bits of a motorcycle versus a UTV, but you’ve got a lot more suspension, steering and frame componentry to deal with when you add two more wheels. So will Polaris be able to maintain the current 2021 RANGER EV pricing of around $12,000?

I’m not so sure, but I’ll be fascinated to find out once the company is ready to share more details.

Until then, let’s hear what you think of a new Polaris RANGER EV based on a Zero Motorcycles powertrain. Share your thoughts in the comment section below!

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About the Author

Micah Toll

@MicahToll

Micah Toll is a personal electric vehicle enthusiast, battery nerd and author of the Amazon #1 bestselling books DIY Lithium Batteries, DIY Solar Power and the Ultimate DIY Ebike Guide.

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