The latest innovation in electric UTVs is hitting the scene later this year, and it’s coming in the form of Polaris’ new full-size electric Ranger.
The announcement was made on March 1, 2021, and few details have been released over the past four months. We don’t have much to go by, saved for one teaser image and a few quotes from Polaris leadership. But even those tiny teasers are enough to get us excited about this release.
According to Polaris President Steve Menneto, “The new electric powertrain will elevate the Ranger to a whole new level of capability, durability, and performance.”
Let’s hash out what we’ve learned so far about the upcoming full-size electric UTV.
A common drawback of electric motors is that they don’t produce nearly as much power as gas motors. The new full-size electric Ranger might be flipping that script, though. The details are still under wraps, but Polaris is advertising it as having the strongest utility drivetrain ever made in a UTV, capable of delivering significantly more horsepower and torque than ever before.
Utility goes beyond power, though. You also need an engine that’s capable of controlling that power to deliver exactly what you need for fast, efficient operation. That’s what’s going to make the new electric Ranger such a beast: massive power paired with precise control. The new electric Ranger motor can achieve peak torque very quickly and maintain it at any speed.
And it’s not all about power. Polaris’ newest member of the EV family is reportedly a blast to drive. All of that power and control is great for utility work, and equally impressive if you’re looking for thrills.
Watch this video to see the new electric Ranger’s pure power and instant acceleration in action:
Another reason we’re excited about the full-size electric Ranger is its noise output—or lack thereof. One of the biggest selling points of electric vehicles, aside from their environmentally-friendly setup, is how quiet they are.
Why would you want a quieter UTV? In short, keeping your engine quiet cuts back on noise pollution and keeps you from annoying your neighbors if you’re riding in a residential area. Quiet machines are also easier on your ears (bye-bye, hearing damage!) and make it easier to hunt and fish without disturbing your prey.
But the new electric Ranger isn’t just quiet—it’s virtually silent. Aside from a nearly indistinguishable whine of the gears, you wouldn’t even know it was powered on. Check out this video to see (but not hear) the full-size electric Ranger in action:
Just imagine how much more power that would give you on the hunt, at the lake, or on the farm. You could drive right up to your tree stand without making a sound, or maintain a conversation on the trails without having to yell.
This isn’t Polaris’ first go-around with electric utility vehicles. The current electric Ranger, which was first released in 2010, is a mid-size two-seater. The 2021 model pushes 30 HP and starts at $12,299 MSRP. How will the new electric Ranger compare?
For starters, the new full-size electric Ranger will have more passenger space—room for three, to be exact. We can also expect more payload and towing capacity.
While the current EV utilizes a lead acid battery system, it’s speculated that the full-size EV will use a lithium-ion battery. This cuts down on charging time and improves your range. You can expect to squeeze in more ride time between charges
Another cool feature of the new electric Ranger is regenerative braking. This feature charges the battery when you take your foot off the throttle. This variable engine braking system precisely controls how much torque is being produced at any given speed, which preserves battery life.
With not much official information released at this point, most details about the new full-size electric Ranger remain shrouded in mystery. That doesn’t mean we can’t speculate, though.
The drivetrain for the new electric Ranger comes from Zero Motorsports (more on that partnership in a bit). We don’t know for sure which of Zero’s motors will be used in the new Polaris EV, but the guys at UTV Driver did enough digging for us to form an educated guess.
Zero’s most powerful motor configuration, the ZF75-7R, can produce up to 70 HP and 116 ft. lb. of torque. As far as power goes, that’s not far off from the Ranger XP 1000’s 999cc engine—but with almost twice the amount of torque.
Even Zero Motorsports’ least powerful motor boasts 78 ft. lb. of torque—still more than the XP 1000’s 62 ft. lb.
So no matter which Zero motor configuration they used (or will it be something totally new?), we expect it to pack a punch.
The partnership between Polaris and Zero Motorcycles was announced in September 2020. Through this union, Polaris will manufacture and sell off-road vehicles and snowmobiles that use Zero’s electric powertrain technology. The agreement gives Polaris access to “more than 14 years of unmatched experience and intellectual property.”
Founded in 2006, Zero Motorcycles has grown to be a global leader in electric powertrains and technology.
“Zero Motorcycles’ pioneering electrification experience, proven leadership, and electric powertrain technologies are unmatched in the market,” says Scott Wine, CEO of Polaris. “Leveraging the strengths of our teams and a shared culture of innovation and passion for this industry, Polaris and Zero will collaborate to shape the future of powersports.”
The partnership with Zero Motorcycles is a big part of Polaris’ rEV’d up electrification strategy. The goal of this initiative is to launch a new electric option to customers across each of their core business segments by 2025.
According to Wine, “rEV’d up is about more than just having a presence in the electric vehicle space. This is about leveraging the next generation of technology to develop industry-leading electric offerings within the right vehicle segments for our riders and our business.”
It sounds like Polaris is killing two birds with one stone by releasing this new full-size electric Ranger. They’re responding to consumer demand for both electric vehicles and more high-performance utility models. And based on the little that we know so far, we won’t be disappointed when it’s time for the big reveal.
“The new electric powertrain will elevate the Ranger platform to a whole new level of capability, durability, and performance,” says Steve Menneto, President of Polaris. “There is significant demand for even higher levels of performance and capability … and our new electric full-size Ranger will effectively address [that demand], unlocking a truly enhanced off-road experience.”
Design and development is already underway at the Polaris facility in Wyoming, MN. Manufacturing for North American vehicles will take place at their location in Huntsville, AL. The new full-size electric Ranger is set to launch in December 2021, with delivery to dealerships starting in early 2022.