Top 5 Myths About Electric ATVs
Off-roading is a terrific way to see the outdoors in its glory. A popular choice among nature lovers is an all-terrain vehicle (ATV) because of its versatility and ruggedness. Thinking about ATVs may conjure pictures of gas-powered machines, but the off-road world is rapidly changing.
Electric ATVs are coming onto the scene, so it’s worth looking at what these vehicles offer. Here’s a guide on electric ATVs, explaining how they work, and their pros and cons.
What Are Electric ATVs?
Electric ATVs are off-road vehicles operating on electricity instead of gasoline. These machines work similarly to gas-powered ATVs but have only been around for a few decades. Companies like Barefoot Motors unveiled electric ATVs in the mid-2000s, but outdoor customers have slowly adopted this technology.
Electrification has started to heat up in the 2020s as more manufacturers turn to battery-operated off-roaders instead of gas powered. In recent years, businesses like Eco Charger, DRR and Daymak have unveiled electric ATVs for off-road enthusiasts worldwide. These machines are new to the market, but their potential is sky high for riders.
What Makes Electric ATVs Different?
First, it’s essential to understand what’s inside an electric ATV to help them function. Electric ATVs are similar to gas-powered ATVs in their looks and basic functions. However, a few internal parts make a big difference between the rigs.
The most significant difference between the two vehicles is the motor. Electric ATVs don’t have combustion chambers or pistons like a typical engine. Instead, they have a motor that creates mechanical energy.
An electric ATV’s motor takes up less space inside the off-roader, making the ATV lighter and easier to maneuver for anyone driving. The motors are relatively small, so they’re easy to transport if you need to carry them around.
Electric ATV motors run on battery power. Both gas and electric ATVs have batteries, but each off-roader operates from different devices. Your gas-powered ATVs typically contain lead-acid batteries, whereas the electric ones will have lithium-ion batteries.
You can get a lead-acid battery for your electric ATV. However, getting a lithium-ion battery is generally better. Lead-acid batteries are cheaper, but lithium-ion devices are typically lighter, more powerful and longer lasting for ATVs.
Every electric vehicle (EV) on and off the pavement has a controller. This device is integral for your electric ATVs because it monitors the energy flow between your battery and motor. Your controllers ensure the motor, throttle and brakes work correctly throughout your rides.
The controller helps electric ATVs with regenerative braking — a unique characteristic only found inside battery-electric off-roaders. Imagine you hit the brakes to stop your ATV. Typically, you’d lose energy because of the friction in the braking system. However, the controller uses regenerative braking to recapture lost energy and restore it to your ATV. Regenerative braking is essential for electric ATVs to extend their range and stay on the trail longer.
How Do Electric ATVs Drive Off-Road?
Electric ATVs have advantages and disadvantages when taking them off-road. First, you get a decreased risk of stalling. Electric ATVs excel with torque, reaching their maximum amount even at low speeds. The powerful torque is advantageous when you get stuck in the mud or sand because you’ll have a better chance of getting your electric ATV out than your gas-powered machine.
Electric ATVs are suitable for the same terrain as gas-powered ATVs because of their excellent power delivery. The lack of an air filter helps electric ATVs because you don’t need to worry about clogged tailpipes or other vessels.
The primary downfall of taking electric ATVs off-road is their range. Driving uphill or through difficult terrain strains the motor more than flat environments, thus reducing your time off-road before needing a charge.
Pros of Electric ATVs
Driving electric ATVs provides some of the most fun you’ll have while outdoors. Dive into more of their advantages with these five pros.
The top advantage of electric ATVs is how they affect the environment. Like other off-roaders, electric ATVs have no tailpipe emissions, meaning you’re not sending greenhouse gases into the atmosphere. Trail riding with your electric ATV is much better for the vegetation and wildlife because it won’t release carbon dioxide (CO2) or other harmful gases.
Electric ATVs are also more environmentally friendly in the long term. These vehicles tend to last longer than gas ATVs, meaning you’ll have more time with your machine before replacing it. Producing and buying new ATVs means consuming more resources, so the longevity of electric ATVs is another crucial environmental benefit.
Air pollution is a concern when considering CO2, nitrogen oxide and other pollutants. Another form of pollution off-road riders should think about is noise. Electric ATVs are much quieter than gas ATVs, making them suitable for casual driving around the neighborhood. These electric machines aren’t entirely silent, but they’re less likely to wake up your neighbors if you need to hop on the ATV.
Reduced noise is also handy when hunting in the woods. Loud machines will scare off wildlife — including that 10-point buck you’ve been searching days for. Animals like deer have sensitive hearing, so they may still hear your electric ATV coming. However, these machines are quieter and more maneuverable in the forest with tight spaces. Use an ATV for your next hunting trip and see the difference.
Electric ATVs typically last longer than gas ATVs because they require less maintenance. Gas ATVs have complex engines with numerous moving parts that wear over time. Electric ATV motors wear but don’t require tune-ups as often.
Combustion engines require fluids like oil to keep the parts lubricated and working correctly. Conversely, electric ATVs require no oil, and have no carburetor or spark plugs. Electric off-roaders have fewer moving parts and a reduced chance of part failure.
Summer is an excellent time to take off-roaders to the woods or desert. However, some locations can quickly get too hot, especially when you have an off-roader with an internal combustion engine. Gas-powered ATVs can overheat when temperatures get extreme, leading to engine failure.
Electric ATVs are less vulnerable to overheating because there is no traditional engine. The battery can have reduced effectiveness in hot and cold temperatures but is much less likely to overheat. Additionally, electric ATVs emit less heat and make the ride more comfortable for everyone.
If you have kids, you might teach them how to use the ATV and let them drive the vehicles. Electric ATVs are generally more family friendly and accessible for your young children.
First, electric ATVs are easy to start for children and beginners. The driver simply needs to turn the key and start the motor. Gas ATVs can be challenging for children because most have starter cords that can be too heavy to pull. Electric ATVs also have lower top speeds, making them safer to drive around.
Cons of Electric ATVs
Electric ATVs are awesome off-roaders if you can get your hands on one. However, they aren’t without their drawbacks. Here are five cons of these battery-electric vehicles.
Electric ATVs are terrific off-roaders for those who can afford them. The initial cost of these machines is typically higher compared to gas-powered ATVs. Like regular EVs, electric ATVs can get expensive because of the required technology to assemble them. Batteries and controllers can be pricey for manufacturers to source, so the cost impacts the consumer.
Despite the price, customers have demonstrated a willingness to pay extra and reap the benefits of EVs. Research shows 70% of consumers will pay a premium for renewable energy. These statistics are just one reason off-road manufacturers are moving toward EVs and away from gas-powered rigs.
Another reason for electric ATVs’ high costs is the limited selection. There aren’t many options on the market, so first, you’ll have to find one that suits your needs — then you’ll need to find one fitting your budget.
As more manufacturers enter the market, the competition will decrease prices. Tesla has teased off-roaders with its ATV for the past few years but has yet to release the sleek-looking ride. Will Tesla and off-road fans ever get the coveted Tesla ATV?
Low speed could be a pro when considering your children. However, it can be a liability for you on the road. Gas-powered ATVs are typically faster, with top speeds up to 50 or 60 miles per hour (mph). ATVs with combustion engines generally are more powerful with higher horsepower and top speeds.
Electric ATVs’ top speed typically maxes out around 40 mph. For example, DRR has three electric ATVs and its Safari 4×4 has a top speed of 45 mph. Sometimes, you need high speed to escape unwanted situations — electric ATVs may be unable to provide the horsepower you need.
When riding, you’d love to spend the entire afternoon in the woods or on the sand. Unfortunately, electric ATVs only last so long before you plug them into a charger. Currently, battery-electric off-roaders only last between 35 and 50 miles before you need to charge them again.
You might not ride 35 miles in one day, so short excursions with your electric ATV are fine. However, anything longer could be unsuitable.
Some people use ATVs for towing if they have a farm or other work around the property. You can use an electric ATV for your chores, but the motor will have to work even harder and compromise its already short range.
The reduced range can be inconvenient for those taking their ATVs on the road. Another area for improvement with this ATV is the charging time. Electric ATVs need around six hours to charge fully, so many owners charge their off-roaders overnight.
Imagine you take your electric ATV for a weeklong trip. Your family has fun with the ATV for the first three days, so you must find a charger for the low battery. You can use an EV charging station, but there’s no guarantee one will be nearby. Gas-powered ATVs are more convenient for trips because there are fuel stations everywhere.
This video has been included for its clarification of the topic matter. Credit goes to Br8 Future
Wrapping It Up
EVs are the next big thing for automakers and the trend is starting to influence off-road manufacturers. One of the newcomers to the off-road world is the electric ATV. This machine provides outdoor lovers with a more stealthy and environmentally friendly ride. However, high costs and reduced ranges could shorten your fun on the trail. Electric ATVs have pros and cons but are solid off-roaders worth considering.