Highlighting some of the many applications for Small, Task-Oriented Vehicles
Chef Greg Steel and his Philly Greens food truck built on a GEM LSV.
In Philadelphia Chef Greg Steele is using a solar-powered Polaris GEM EL XD LSV as the basis for his Philly Greens food truck. With a top speed of 25 mph and range of up to 30 miles, the electric powered food truck suits his needs for urban/suburban mobility. The electric power plant cannot provide enough power for cooking as well, so he also uses a small gas generator.The Philly Greens truck started out as flatbed and then a metal frame was added followed by what looks like a stainless steel or aluminum skin. Custom paint and graphics made the truck complete.
The metal framework that provides the foundation for the custom food service area.
The GEM customized and ready for paint and graphics.
The vehicle is an integral part to Chef Steele’s goal of creating a sustainable food truck business. He offers a seasonal menu made with non-GMO, high quality, healthy food and sources ingredients locally. The menu changes frequently and includes what is referred to as a Jawn, which his website describes as “A word used by Philly cats to describe anything and everything. It fills in for another word, handy in a brain-freeze moment, or comes out as an expression of enthusiasm.” It also seems to include leafy greens and other ingredients of the moment. Other menu items include chili, nachos and recently sweet potato, coconut soup with sunflower chili, topped off with spiral cut turnip. Learn more: Phillygreens.com
Comment: Whether it is taxi services, tourist rentals or now food trucks, electric powered LSVs appear to be slowly carving out a niche in urban environments. The slower speeds, shorter distances, and limited parking space in these areas make these vehicles an ideal choice. The drive for sustainability by many local governments and citizens makes these electric powered vehicles appealing as well.
A recent story from KATV in Arkansas illustrates a potential issue when purchasing a used utility vehicle or side-by-side, fraudulent odometer rollbacks. The story follows the trail of a UTV that changed hands three times, losing a significant amount of mileage in the process. A private owner first sold the 2014 Yamaha Viking to a dealer for $9,250, but not before taking a picture of the odometer displaying 1,722 miles. The UTV was then sold as part of a group of vehicles to Gibson Auto Sales for $12,500, which turned around and sold the UTV to another private buyer fro $17,900. However, when the final private buyer bought the vehicle the odometer only showed 44 miles. Since UTVs are not licensed for road use they do not fall under the same laws as cars and trucks in the state. Therefore, when the title changes hands the mileage does not have to be recorded. In this case, no one has taken responsibility for changing the mileage, but the buyer was able to get their money refunded. The process of rolling back the mileage on a UTV can be accomplished relatively easily by purchasing a new speedometer and switching it out. They only cost one to two hundred dollars online. Learn more: KATV.com
Comment: With UTVs frequently selling for over $10,000 and even $20,000 the issue of odometer rollbacks is likely to become more prevalent not less. The majority of used UTV sales are also between private buyers, which makes it more difficult to determine if you are dealing with a reputable seller, and recoup your money if something fraudulent is perpetrated. If you are spending thousands of dollar on a used UTV, particularly one with low mileage, it is best to purchase the vehicle from someone you know, thoroughly inspect the vehicle for signs of significant use, or have a mechanic do it for you.
A wireless recharging system from Momentum Dynamics.
Recent documents filed with the Federal Communications Commission indicate that Google is testing two wireless charging systems with their self-driving low speed vehicles. The systems were developed by Momentum Dynamics and Hevo Power and transfer power via a manhole size disk on the ground that the vehicle parks over. According to Momentum their 25,000W charging throughput is much larger than the standard 3,300W rate and the system works in any kind of weather. By avoiding the need to physically connect a charger to the car, the technology has the potential to make self-driving cars even more autonomous. Learn more: NBCnews.com
Comment: The cost of the charging system could be a major factor for LSV or golf cars, but there could be a lot of potential in the golf car fleet market. It would simplify the process and the faster throughput would help recharge and turnaround fleets faster at very busy courses. Even in the personal transportation market, the technology would simplify the process and help alleviate the problem of people forgetting to charge their golf cars and LSVs.
The new 2017 Prowler 500 from Arctic Cat begins shipping this month.
The new Arctic Cat HDX 700 Crew XT for model year 2017 also ships this month.
Arctic Cat recently reported their financial results for the fiscal year 2016 third quarter. For the quarter net sales declined 14.3%, in part driven by currency headwinds and the timing of vehicle shipments compared to the prior year’s third quarter.
The following are highlights of the earnings call as it relates to the UTV/side-by-side market.
Sales of ATVs and ROV side-by-sides decreased 28.5% to $60 million from $83.9 million in the year ago quarter, in part driven by shipment timing
Softening of the overall ATV/ROV(side-by-side) retail market is a contributing factor in management’s lowering of fiscal year 2016 guidance
Management continues to emphasize improving their dealer network with additional training, marketing programs and performance metrics
Arctic Cat is planning to add 75 dealers in the next 12 months after adding 10 in the last three months
This month the company begins shipment of their new 2017 HDX 700 Crew and Prowler 500
Compared to the prior year third quarter, total ATV, ROV unit retail sales in the fiscal 2016 third quarter rose mid-single-digits versus an industry that was flat to slightly down
Management has decided to create a world-class research and development center in St. Cloud, and one focus will be to improve their engine technology
Management admitted that Wildcat vehicle sales have been hurt by their comparatively lower horsepower but that the 2017 models will “correct” that problem
Despite a good start for the new General crossover utility vehicle, Polaris had a tough fourth quarter in 2015 as the UTV/side-by-side market showed weakness.
Polaris reported their worst year-over-year quarterly performance since 2009 with their recent Q4 2015 results. Fourth quarter sales were down 13% to $1.1 billion with net income of $110.7 million, down 18% as all businesses except Indian motorcycles and Slingshot fell short of expectations. Management expects a slowdown in the UTV/side-by-side market faces tough macroeconomic conditions in North American and abroad, as well as currency headwinds. The following are highlights of the earnings call as they relate to the UTV/side-by-side market.
Despite solid demand for the new GENERAL and improving interest in the RZR Turbo, Polaris lost side by side market share in the fourth quarter.
To keep dealer inventory low the company cut shipments of higher margin RZRs and Rangers.
Off-road vehicle dealer inventory including ATVs was down year-over-year for the first time in six years
Side-by-side dealer inventory was up slightly for the year
Management reported a “more cautious” consumer in the ORV channel
Polaris side-by-side revenue for 2015 grew “modestly”
4th quarter side-by-side retail sales in North America declined mid-single digits as the industry grew slightly
The new GENERAL vehicles began shipping in December, and initial consumer and dealer response was positive
ORV sales in oil producing states declined 10% while other areas of the market increased mid-single digits
For the full year 2015, Polaris again grew side-by-side market share.
Side-by-side retail sales increased mid-single digits in a side-by-side industry that grew slightly slower
Camp RZR in Glamis, California had an all-time record attendance, over 17,000 strong, which was up 45%
Q4 North American work and transportation revenue decreased low 20s percent as difficult comparables included the Ariens partners launch
GEM sales declined due to the transition to a completely redesigned GEM product platform during the quarter
Initial GEM orders are solid and a strong 2016 is expected
Q4 European Work and Transportation revenue declined low single-digits percent due primarily to currency weakness and some softness in Goupil and Mega
Aixam sales grew high single digits and the European quadricycle industry grew in both fourth quarter and for full year 2015, up low single-digits with Aixam retail up slightly more increasing their leading market share
Vehicles sales in Q4 and 2015 to Department of Defense and GSA related accounts were hurt by stop gap funding measures, but 2016 backlog is “healthy”
The European ORV industry grew mid-single digits in the fourth quarter and for the year.
Polaris gained share in the fourth quarter, as retail was up mid-teens percent and for the full year retail increased mid-single digits.
Multix, the three-in-one personal transportation vehicle from the Polaris-Eicher joint venture in India is retailing vehicles.
Multix customers are satisfied although currently the retail ramp remains well below management expectations, but they expect to accelerate retail in 2016 with key product improvements and further distribution expansion.
Huntsville plant will start production in Q2 and will initially produce RANGER side-by-sides
Huntsville incorporates the company’s most advanced Lean flow and state of the art manufacturing technologies and improves throughput times by approximately 80% compared to existing facilities
Management expects continued macroeconomic headwinds with ongoing currency issues overseas, a slight slowdown in global economies and a low growth economy in North America
Total company sales are expected to be in the range of down 2% to up 3%
ORV market share is expected to be maintained while gains are expected in global adjacent markets
ORV/snowmobiles revenue is anticipated to be flat to down mid-single digits and global adjacent markets up mid-single digits
Management continues to forecast strong competition in the side-by-side market
Q1 for 2016 side-by-side revenues is expected to be down because of Canadian currency issues, a weaker retail environment and tough prior comparables
The new Revolution LSV from Evolution Electric Vehicles.
A view from the front of the Revolution LSV.
The perspective from the rear shows the Revolution’s LED taillights, brake lights and turn signals, as well as the rear bumper.
A side view of the 4-seat LSV.
Evolution Electric Vehicles launched their Revolution vehicle, a 4-seater LSV powered by a 72V AC system. The 4.0kw AC motor is paired with a 300 amp Curtis programmable controller and features regenerative braking. The Revolution also features an independent front and rear suspension, powder coated chassis, TPO injection moulded body, 12 inch aluminum wheels and four wheel hydraulic brakes. The model includes LSV features such as 3-point seat belts, laminated windshield, LED headlights, brake lights and turn signals, rear view mirrors and DOT tires. Additional features include:
Adjustable bucket seats
Windshield wiper and washer
On board charger
Front and rear bumpers
Electric powered door windows
Company management stated that these additional Revolution variants will be launched later this year.
The vehicle is currently available at authorized dealer. Later in the year the company will be launching several variations including a 2-seater with a long pick-up bed, a 2-seater with a short pick-up bed and 2-seater with an enclosed cargo box. The company produces several other product lines of people movers, utility vehicles and golf cars. Learn more: Evolution Electric Vehicles
Display for one of Nivel’s wheels from their GTW brand.
In-store product display for Nivel’s recent brand acquisition, Madjax.
At the recent PGA Show, leading golf car parts supplier Nivel revealed plans to emphasize and leverage branded product lines. After a string of acquisitions over the last several years, Nivel’s management believes they had built a stable of well-known branded products, but had not fully realized the value of those brands. To that end the company is making an effort under their “House of Brands” initiative to build brand awareness and take advantage of the brand equity in some key product lines now under the Nivel umbrella. Key brands on display at the PGA Show include:
Jake’s – lift kits
Madjax – seating and lighting
Red Dot Enclosures – vehicle enclosures
Blue Dot – windshields and tops
GTW – wheels, lift kits and flipseats
Genesis 250/350 – seating
Reliance Power Parts
MJFX Innovative – lift kits and bumpers
Part of their strategy involves placing dedicated store displays for specific brands in dealerships. Nivel is the largest supplier of aftermarket parts and accessories for golf cars in North America.
The spartan and aggressive looking Torq Suppressor VLE utility vehicle features a low-slung design, which results in a low center of gravity.
A frontal view of the Torq Suppressor VLE Side X Side with racing-style four-point harnesses and seating for two.
A view of the vehicle’s instrument panel and quick-release steering wheel.
The Torq Suppressor VLE’s AC powertrain.
Torq Off-Road Electric Vehicles used the 2016 PGA Show to showcase their Suppressor VLE Side X Side, an electric powered hunting and recreational vehicle. The company also has a single seat version, the Solo. VLE stands for Very Light Electric, and the models have a curb weight of about 1,020 lbs. Both models are powered by a 48-volt AC brushless powertrain with a 450 amp Curtis controller which produces 18 hp and a top speed of 25 mph. The battery pack consists of eight Crown 6-volt AGM batteries with an estimated run time of 3 to 3.5 hours. Other features include:
12.49:1 Team Industries Slip Disc Differential
Width of only 58.5″
10″ of ground clearance
Dual A-Arm front suspension with coil over, multi-position, pre-load adjusted shocks
A-Arm rear suspension with coil over shocks
All-wheel disc brakes
Four-point racing-style harness
Quick-release steering wheel
MSRPL Suppressor VLE Side X Side – $15,500; Suppressor VLE Solo – $14,500;
While hunting is a key application for the Torq vehicles, it is certainly not the only one as the company is also marketing the vehicle as a recreational vehicle as well. Compared to other electric hunting vehicles, Torq’s design and look will likely have more appeal to off-road recreational riders. This dual application design is also a good idea from a marketing standpoint. Research SVR has done in the market indicates that the electric hunting vehicle market is limited to only certain areas of the country where geography and the type of hunting lend itself to the use and expense of a dedicated hunting vehicle. The design of the Torq models should appeal to a wider potential market, although versions with a higher top speed would probably broaden the appeal in the recreational market. The company has started to build out their dealer network.
The updated E-Z-GO RXV includes a redesigned front with integrated bumper.
The two main products E-Z-GO showcased at the PGA Show is their RXV with an updated design and a new refresher vehicle. The RXV update involves style and comfort features rather than the underlying structure and driving performance of the vehicle. Key changes include a redesigned front with integrated bumper, more ergonomic seats, a larger dash with deeper cupholders and two USB ports and what E-Z-GO claims is the largest bagwell in the industry. The redesign is intended to improve golfers on-course experience. The RXV is available with an electric AC drivetrain or a 13.5 hp gas engine. Both models provide rack-and-pinion steering and independent front suspension.
More ergonomic seats were added to the RXV as part of the update.
The RXV’s larger dash includes USB ports and deeper cupholders.
The RXV’s bagwell is now the largest in the industry according to E-Z-GO.
For the third year in a row E-Z-GO has added to their refresher product line. This year’s model, the Cushman Refresher Oasis, features four beverage compartments which can fit up to 500 cans, a 12.1 square-foot wrap-around counter and a 6.7 cubic-foot dry goods cabinet. Optional airpots are available for serving morning or afternoon beverages. While previous refreshers, the F2 and F4, focused on modularity and flexibility the Oasis is focused on providing volume. A key target market is golf courses with higher volume which can use the Oasis to reduce their need to return from the course to replenish their food and beverage supply during the course of the day.
The new Cushman Refresher Oasis.
Some of the 500-can storage capacity under the wrap-around counter.
The merchandise/dry goods cabinet with adjustable shelves to facilitate a flexible approach to point-of-sale efforts.
Other features of the Oasis include:
13.5 hp, 401 cc, single cylinder, air-cooled Kawasaki gas engine
Dual rear drum brakes
5000 Series Aluminum, Super Durable TGIC Polyester Powder Coating
Sunright International introduced two new utility vehicles at the PGA Show, the HJS Big Horn 200VX priced at $4,199 and the HJS Big Horn 200GVX priced at $4,699. Sunright International operates as an importer, distributor and developer of motor vehicles and motorsports products from China and is the authorized importer of Jiangsu Linhai ATVs, UTVs and Scooters in North and South America.
The new HJS Big Horn UTV from Sunright International.
A view of the cockpit for the new HJS utility vehicle.
The Big Horn 200VX features include:
A CARB and EPA approved 4 Stroke Overhead Cam, Air/Oil Cooled 177cc Engine
Rear wheel drive
Four wheel hydraulic disc brakes
McPherson Strut Front Suspension
Double A-Arm Fully Independent Rear Suspension
10 in. of ground clearance
220 lb. cargo box capacity
Hydraulic assist Dump Bed and Under seat Storage
450 lb. towing capacity
Headlights, taillights and brake lights
The Big Horn GVX has a rear-facing bench seat instead of a dump bed and features:
Seating for four
A CARB and EPA approved 4 Stroke Overhead Cam, Air/Oil Cooled 177cc Engine