5 Best Electric 4×4 Utility Vehicles


The world is growing and with it so are people’s awareness of themselves. People are becoming much more conscious of their carbon footprint. People want more economically friendly ways for their daily commute as well as for their off-roading vehicles and some of the top UTV brands have answered the call, as well as one newcomer to the Powersports game.

While gas-powered engines have long dominated the UTV market, electric vehicles are starting to make a stand. Electric vehicles have been around for quite a while, with some of the earlier releases in 2009, however, it isn’t until rather recently that they have been making more of a splash in the market.

These vehicles have really been coming to fruition mainly because technology has improved enough now for them to be more reliable and more versatile than they once were.

Because of their various achievements, hunters and eco-friendly consumers alike are starting to invest their money more and more with electronic side-by-sides.

Join me now, as we look at the five best electric utility vehicles on the market, what we can expect from them, as well as some other tidbits of information that one would be wise to know before purchasing an electronic utility vehicle.

Top 5 Electric UTVs

2018 Polaris Ranger EV $11,299

Specifications:2018 Polaris Ranger EV
Motor Type:Single AC Induction
Battery Voltage48
Battery Amp hoursNot stated
Horsepower30
TorqueNot stated
Max SpeedNot Stated
Estimated Range45 Miles
Charge Time 
On Board ChargingYes
DrivetrainSelectable 4WD
Transmission:Fully Auto CVT
Suspension Front:McPherson Strut W/9”
Suspension Rear:Dual A-arms W/9”
Brakes Front:Dual hydraulic discs
Brakes Rear:Dual hydraulic discs
Tires Front:25X9-12
Tires Rear:25×10-12
Overall length width height:110”X58”x73”
Maximum Ground Clearance:10”
Wheelbase:72”
Cargo Capacity:500lbs
Towing Capacity:1500lbs
Curb Weight:Not Stated
Entry Weight1350lbs
Seats2
Warranty:3 Years
ColorsGray, camo
Price:$11,299

Engine & Battery:

The Polaris Ranger EV, like almost all of the electronic utility vehicles that will be listed here, comes with a single AC induction motor. Now some people might not really know what a single AC induction motor is.

So here is a brief overview of this motor type, and what that means for our electric vehicles and their performance.

When it comes to AC motors there are two types of them, induction (asynchronous) and synchronous motors.

An induction motor relies on a small difference in speed between the stator rotating magnetic field and the rotor shaft speed called slip to induce rotor current in the rotor AC winding.

The AC power supplied to the stator of the motor produces a magnetic field that in turns rotates within the motor.

The rotation of the magnetic field will then rotate the rotor shaft within the motor. This helps produces the energy needed to power the engine.

The rotor shaft, however, will never be able to rotate synchronously, or at the same speed as, the magnetic field produced by the stator. This difference in speed is what causes the “slip” mentioned above.

There is another type of AC motor as well, however, it isn’t really used in UTVs, it is a synchronous motor.

This synchronous motor doesn’t rely on slip-induction in order to operate. It uses permanent magnets that help to produce torque at exactly the same speed as the magnetic field, therefore, making synchronous speed.

To better understand your UTVs induction motor however you can check out this video that describes in better detail, how a induction motor works.

So with all that being said, the Polaris Ranger EV comes with an AC induction motor that produces right around 30 horsepower.

The battery is a 48 Volt battery so it is a pretty average sized battery itself. I will say though if you are looking at buying an older version of this vehicle, particularly around the years of 2010-2011 to beware of the batteries.

There are many different reports of batteries having issues with these particular years’ models.

Looking at the engine numbers you might be wondering why anyone would pay $11,299 for that small of an engine. Especially when they could get a gas powered ranger that comes with more power like with the Ranger 570 which is actually cheaper than the EV.

Well, a lot of the people using these electric powered UTVs like them because they are quiet. They are great to take out when you are hunting, in order to sneak up on your prey without alerting them.

The quietness of the vehicle is really its main sell point to hunters, as well as the money you can save on gas.

Suspension:

Other than the difference in specs for the engine, the Polaris Ranger EV is actually quite well rounded. While 10″ ground clearance isn’t the best we’ve seen it certainly is not the worst and is actually consistent with the Ranger 500 and 570 models.

It has a very solid suspension, using the Macpherson Strut suspension. This suspension is great because it uses the top of a telescopic damper as the upper steering pivot.

This helps to really cushion the blows from any type of rough terrain, rocks, or whatever else your vehicle might traverse. With the standard Dual A-arm suspension in the back, the Ranger EV is a pretty smooth ride.

Drive-train:

Another really cool aspect about this vehicle that I personally like is that you can pick from three different drive trains it has two-wheel drive, All-wheel-drive, as well as a turf mode.

The turf mode is what I like best because the worst thing about UTVs is that they can be so hard on your grass.

So with the Ranger EV, you can let the kids ride around the yard on turf mode and not have to worry about them putting track marks everywhere and tearing up your yard. It really gives you that peace of mind option.

Range/Ride Time:

The one thing that I dislike about this vehicle, and most electric UTVs, is the range time on the vehicle. With a gas-powered vehicle, you can fill up the tank and then bring some extra gasoline along just in case and basically be out on the trails all day.

With the Polaris Ranger EV, however, you only get around 45 miles of range, per charge. Not too mention that many of the various forums I have read about this particular model say that you really don’t even get the full 45 miles.

So while it may be quiet, smooth, and turf friendly you really can’t expect to get anywhere far from home without having to go back and charge the vehicle back up.

That kind of inconvenience really does hurt the vehicles selling point in my eyes. Primarily because I’m the typical kind of rider who likes to go out with my side-by-side and ride it all afternoon and even into the evening, and you just can’t really do that with a 45-mile limit.

Towing/Cargo Capacity:

Another thing that rubs me wrong here is the cargo and towing capacity of the vehicle. While the Ranger EV does have a cargo bed that can carry 500 lbs, which is actually average, the towing capacity is only around 1500 lbs.

So if you are looking for a vehicle to do some heavy yard work around the farm or ranch, or need to tow anything, this really wouldn’t be the best vehicle to go for.

Take those low towing specs and then add it to the low range time for the vehicle and you can easily see this vehicle and many of its electric comrades are not built for hard, intensive labor.

Warranty:

Those are really the only negative things I have to say about the vehicle though.

I do like the 3-year warranty that Polaris is giving on this vehicle. That is really nice especially with all the extra working parts for the electrical side of things here.

All in all, if you are just looking for a quiet, vehicle to go hunting in that will save you on your gas expense then this would be a viable way to go.

2018 Polaris Ranger EV LI-ION $22,999

Specifications:2018 Polaris Ranger EV LI-ION
Motor Type:Single AC Induction
Battery Voltage48
Battery Amp hoursNot stated
Horsepower30
Torque220
Max SpeedNot Stated
Estimated RangeNot Stated
Charge Time6-8 hours
On Board ChargingYes
DrivetrainSelectable 4WD
Transmission:Fully Auto CVT
Suspension Front:McPherson Strut w/9”
Suspension Rear:Dual A-arms w/9”
Brakes Front:Dual hydraulic discs
Brakes Rear:Dual hydraulic discs
Tires Front:25X9-12
Tires Rear:25×10-12
Overall length width height:110”X58”x73”
Maximum Ground Clearance:10”
Wheelbase:72.”
Cargo Capacity:100lbs
Towing Capacity:1500lbs
Curb Weight:2831lbs
Empty Weight1328lbs
Seats2
Warranty:3 Years
ColorsCamo
Price:$22,999

Battery:

While at first glance this UTV seems to be the same as the previously mentioned Ranger EV, the big difference is in the battery.

The Polaris Ranger EV uses a lead-acid battery while the Polaris Ranger EV LI-ION uses a lithium-ion battery. Because of that special battery, this vehicle is almost double that of the Polaris Ranger EV.

Allow me to explain just why this lithium-ion battery is so much more expensive, and why it really is the better choice between the two models.

While lead-acid batteries, like the one used in the Ranger EV, are efficient and work just fine, they are usually quite cheaper to make and install.

The average price and installation of a lithium-ion battery can range from anywhere from $5000-15,000 depending on the size and system of the battery.

Lead-acid batteries also have a much shorter life-span than their lithium-ion counterparts. Batteries tend to live their lives in “cycles.” They degrade over time and become less effective as they grow older.

Discharging your battery to power your side-by-side, home, or almost any other appliance and then recharging it whether that is through means of solar power, or your typical charger from the grid will count as one “cycle.”

While studies vary as to how many cycles each battery has, they are all conclusive to the fact that lithium-ion batteries last much longer than lead-acid batteries do.

Not to mention that lithium-ion batteries are practically maintenance free, while lead-acid batteries need to be constantly checked up on and maintained to ensure good and lasting health.

Lithium Batteries are also much more effective than lead-acid batteries are. Lithium batteries are 95% effective or more, meaning that 95% or more of the battery’s energy can actually be used.

Compare that to the 80-85% effectiveness of lead-acid batteries and you begin to see the big difference between these to batteries. Those rates of effectiveness also correlate directly to the batteries capacity.

So not only are lithium-ion batteries more effective but they also have a higher capacity compared to lead-acid batteries.

There is also something called depth of charge with batteries. The depth of charge is basically how much you can drain a battery without damaging the battery.

Have you ever had a friend tell you that letting your phone get all the way down to 0% isn’t healthy for the battery? Well, they are correct.

A lithium-ion battery typically uses 85% or more of its charge in a single cycle, and that is fine. However, you shouldn’t allow a lead-acid battery to discharge past 50% because doing so will negatively affect the batteries life-span.

So those are the biggest differences between lithium-ion batteries and lead-acid batteries. As you can tell lithium-ion batteries are superior to lead-acid batteries in every way except for the price.

That being said, with a lithium-ion powered electric UTV such as the Ranger EV LI-ION you will be able to get more power, more charge, and a maintenance-free battery with this vehicle.

All those things are really shown by the specifications chart as well.

Range/Ride Time:

The Polaris Ranger EV LI-ION has a 50 mile range limit which is five miles more when compared to the Ranger EV model.

While it does not seem like much, five miles could mean the difference between getting the vehicle back home, and you having to walk five miles back home just to return with the truck to haul your vehicle back to a charging port.

Engine:

The engine on these two vehicles is the exact same. They both produce 30 horsepower and have 48-volt batteries. This model does give some stats as to the torque with 229 ft-lb of torque for the vehicle.

Suspension:

The suspension is also the same as the Ranger EV with its MacPherson strut suspension, so you can expect to have just as a smooth ride with this model as you would with the Ranger EV.

The ground clearance is also the standard Ranger clearance of 10″.

Transmission:

The transmission on the Ranger EV LI-ION as well as the Ranger EV is a fully automated CVT. Which tells me there is still a CVT belt to be looked after here.

I have stated my distaste for CVT belt transmissions in the past, just because of their constant need to be replaced once they wear out, which can be often when riding UTVs hard off-road.

While I don’t think they will need to be replaced as often with the electric UTVs as with the gas powered ones, they are still present, not bad, just not my personal favorite type of transmission is all.

Warranty:

It is nice to see that once again Polaris offers a 3-year warranty on this vehicle, that is especially nice when dealing with a battery as expensive as the lithium-ion ones that this vehicle utilizes.

2018 Nikola Zero

Next, we have one of my absolute favorite UTVs that is electrically powered. I might actually prefer this UTV to most of the gas-powered UTVs out on the market currently as well, but in the electric UTV category, this one takes the cake for me.

The Nikola company has only been around for a short while. It is a fairly new start-up company based out of Salt-Lake City Utah and let me tell you they have redefined what it is to own a UTV.

Specifications:2018 Nikola Zero
Motor Type:(4 )AC Induction
Battery Voltage12V
Horsepower555hp
Torque490
Max SpeedNot Stated
Estimated Range100-200 Miles
Charge Time2 Hours or 7 Hours
Charging240V J1772
DrivetrainSelectable 4WD
Transmission:Direct Drive
Suspension Front:Dual A-arms w/20”
Suspension Rear:Dual A-arms w/20”
Brakes Front:Dual hydraulic discs
Brakes Rear:Dual hydraulic discs
Tires Front:32X9-15
Tires Rear:32×10-15
Overall width height:62”x74”
Maximum Ground Clearance:14”
Wheelbase:118”
Cargo Capacity:100lbs
Towing Capacity:3000lbs
Curb Weight:Not Stated
Empty Weight3500lbs
Seats4
Warranty:2 Years
ColorsWhite
Price:$35,000

Engine:

Picture if you will…an engine like no other. One that is designed to produce peak power at a thrilling and extremely fast rate.

If you were to take the power and speed of a dodge challenger SRT and put it into an electric UTV you would come out with the Nikola Zero.

This is the typical AC induction engine, yet there are two different engine types for this vehicle. The baseline model produces 415-horsepower and 368 ft-lb of torque. While the more expensive model produces 555 horsepower and 490 ft-lb of torque.

Let me explain to you just how insane that is. The top tier model can go 0-60 mph in 3.9 seconds. Close your eyes, count to four, and open your eyes to see yourself being jetted out over a dune going 60 miles per hour. That is insane!

To put the engine power into perspective for your, the Polaris RZR XP Turbo S has somewhere around 168-horsepower and the Maverick X3 MAX Turbo R has 173-horsepower.

Those are the top two racing/sport side-by-sides on the market from the top two brands on the market, and this Utah startup has blown their numbers out of the water.

Plus both of those two models cost around $30,000 so for an extra five grand you are getting almost double the power. I won’t lie to you when I found this UTV I geeked out for a solid half an hour to my friends about this vehicle.

Oh, and how are that torque and power so quick? Well, the Nikola Zero has four independent motors that are over each wheel, so you are getting all of that power instantly straight to your wheels!

Battery:

The battery on this vehicle is also something that is an amazing feat for this vehicle, and honestly for electric vehicles ever. If you are a nerd for electronics and the like you will absolutely love what this Nikola Zero has to offer in the battery area.

So I will just come right out and say it, this battery surpasses even the mighty Tesla, when it comes to strength and output.

Now you’re probably thinking “Matt, there’s no way somebody beat Elon Musk and Tesla.” Well, let me just say thank you capitalism and innovation because yes there is and we have it here.

Nikola Zero’s come with a lithium-ion battery maxing out at 125 kWh. 125 kWh! Now you are not big into electronics, batteries, and whatever that Tesla company is allowing me to explain in yet another slight tangent.

Tesla makes electric cars, and practically runs the electric car industry, they’re the top innovative dogs when it comes to going green. One of their top tier cars the P100D’s lithium-ion battery maxes out at 125 kWh.

Now I’m sure that they will make something with a bigger battery in the future, but to think that a startup from Salt-Lake-City Utah produced something on a Tesla level is just outstanding.

Now that 125 kWh lithium-ion battery only comes in the performance package, for those who do not want, or feel that they don’t need it, can get a 75 kWh or 100 kWh battery package.

So as we can see the batteries in these machines whether it is the 75 kWh or the 125 kWh really just steal the show when it comes to power and efficiency here on the electrical UTV list.

Also, it is important to add, I believe, that if you spring for the fast charger for this vehicle you can charge your Nikola Zero in 2 hours, or if you go for the normal charger it takes 7 hours.

Remember my issue above of not being able to be out all day because of having to charge your vehicle? Two hours is basically an extended lunch break, then you can be back on the trails!

Suspension:

The suspension on this beast of a machine is pretty cool itself. They use standard Dual A-arm suspension on the front and back, but the suspension is 20″ which is significantly larger than the 9″ suspension we’ve seen for both of the Polaris models.

The tires on this thing are massive as well, 32″ on deadlock wheels, add that to a 4X4 vectoring option and you have yourself one heck of a machine that will dominate on and off the trail.

Range/Ride Time:

The Range on this machine is incredible. 100-200 miles per charge depending upon how you ride the machine. If you switch into 4X4 you are estimated to get the full 200 miles out of the Zero.

You don’t have to worry about this side-by-side dying out in the woods before you get home, I know people with diesel trucks that get fewer miles than this UTV does.

Cargo Capacity & Towing:

So the cargo capacity is the only thing I dislike about this machine. It only has 100 lb cargo limit in the back, however, the towing is phenomenal coming it at a 3,000 lb limit.

This vehicle isn’t really meant for work, so I can understand the wimpy cargo capacity, however, if you want or need to tow something with this vehicle then you shouldn’t shy away from it.

All in all this is a fantastic machine and one of my absolute favorites.

Warranty:

The Nikola Zero does come with a 2-year warranty which is great for a big complicated vehicle like this.

2018 Hisun Sector E1 $9,999

Coming back down to earth for a bit, we have the Hisun Sector E1.

Specifications:2018 Hisun Sector E1
Motor Type:Single AC Induction
Battery Voltage48
Battery Amp hours2080
Horsepower38
Torque220
Max Speed25MPH
Estimated Range45 Miles
Charge Time6-8 hours
On Board ChargingYes
DrivetrainSelectable 4WD
Transmission:Fully Auto CVT
Suspension Front:Dual A-arms w/7”
Suspension Rear:Dual A-arms w/7”
Brakes Front:Dual hydraulic discs
Brakes Rear:Dual hydraulic discs
Tires Front:26X9-12
Tires Rear:26×10-12
Overall length width height:110”X61.75”x73”
Maximum Ground Clearance:10”
Wheelbase:72.5”
Cargo Capacity:500lbs
Towing Capacity:1500lbs
Curb Weight:2831lbs
Entry Weight1831lbs
Seats2
Warranty:2 Years
ColorsGreen, camo

Engine:

With the Hisun Sector E1 we have the same AC induction engine as with the rest of the electric UTVs. It produces a bit more horsepower than the Polaris EV and the Polaris Ranger EV LI-ION.

We do have a max speed given here though at 25 mph. Needless to say, this vehicle isn’t the fastest amongst its peers. But like I stated before a lot of these electric UTVs are used for hunting or short rides around the farm/ranch.

Suspension:

The suspension on the Hisun is one of the smallest on this list with 7″ Dual A-arm suspension in the front and back of the vehicle. As with the Polaris models, this UTV has a ground clearance of 10″

Cargo and Towing Capacity:

I do like the cargo and towing capacity, I think that for a company like Hisun they do a good job keeping up with the competition.

The Sector E1 has a cargo capacity of 500 lbs and a towing capacity of 1500 lbs similar to the Polaris EV LI-ION.

Range/Ride Time:

This is the same as the other UTVs we’ve seen besides the Nikola Zero with a Range of 45 miles. Unlike the Polaris Ranger EV, I haven’t heard any reports of getting anything less than 45 miles on a full charge from this vehicle.

Warranty:

The Hisun comes with a 2-year warranty which is standard for most of their vehicles.

2018 Textron Prowler EV IS $13,499

Specifications:2018 Textron Prowler EV IS
Motor Type:(2) AC Induction
Battery Voltage72
Horsepower38
TorqueNot stated
Max Speed24.5MPH
Estimated RangeNot stated
Charge Time8-12 hours
On Board ChargingNo
DrivetrainFull time 4WD
Transmission:Direct drive
Suspension Front:McPherson Strut w/5”
Suspension Rear:McPherson Strut w/5”
Brakes Front:Hydraulic discs
Brakes Rear:Hydraulic discs
Tires Front:25X8-12
Tires Rear:25×10-12
Overall length width height:111.8”X53”x76.8”
Maximum Ground Clearance:9.5”
Wheelbase:70”
Total Capacity:840lbs
Towing Capacity:1000lbs
Curb Weight:1710lbs
Seats4
Warranty:1 Year
ColorsCamo
Price:$13,499

Last but not least we have the Textron Prowler EV IS. This is one of two electric Prowler that Textron offers, but this is the superior one between the two.

Engine:

The engine here is much the same as we have seen elsewhere. The horsepower is much the same as with the vehicles from Polaris and Hisun respectively.

Battery:

It is interesting to note that this battery is a bit different from its competitors using a 72-volt battery compared to a 48-volt one. It is also a Lithium-ion battery and not a lead-acid.

Transmission:

Another thing different on this vehicle compared to the others is that the transmission on this Prowler is direct drive and not CVT.

The direct drive allows for better shifting because. There are fewer gears that are connecting which means this vehicle will excel at its higher speed that being 24.5 mph.

Suspension:

The suspension on this Prowler is the lowest of the five vehicles listed here. The suspension is MacPherson Strut suspension but only a 5″ suspension compared to the 9″ of both Polaris vehicles, 7″ of Hisun, and 20″ of Nikola.

Towing Capacity:

The specification chart doesn’t give the cargo bed capacity, but the towing capacity for this vehicle is 1,000 lbs 500 less than the average towing capacity for the listed electric vehicles.

Warranty:

The warranty on this vehicle is also shorter than the other vehicles only having a 1-year warranty.

I wouldn’t say this is a bad vehicle by any means, in fact, Textron was one of the first manufacturers to use electric UTVs, however, when comparing the specifications it seems to be the most lacking.

Geoff Southworth

I am a California native and I enjoy all the outdoors has to offer. My latest adventures have been taking the family camping, hiking and surfing.

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