E-Z-GO Launches ELiTE Lithium Powered Fleet Golf Cars

Marc Cesare, Smallvehicleresource.com

E-Z-GO RXV

The E-Z-GO RXV fleet golf car is one of models that will be offered with the lithium battery pack.

E-Z-GO has announced their EliTE series of golf cars, a lithium battery powered offering for the fleet market. The ELiTE vehicles will use Samsung’s SDI lithium technology and provide zero maintenance batteries with a five-year unlimited amp-hour warranty and increased energy efficiency. The technology will be offered in the RXV® ELiTE, Freedom® RXV ELiTE, Freedom RXV 2+2 ELiTE, TXT® ELiTE, Freedom TXT ELiTE and Freedom TXT 2+2 ELiTE. According to E-Z-GO some of the advantages of these lithium powered vehicles include:

  • Zero-maintenance batteries that don’t require watering, terminal post checkups and cleaning like traditional lead acid batteries
  • 59% more efficient than the Club Car Precedent and 52% more than the Yamaha Drive AC
  • Reduced charging time allows for short “opportunity charging” between rounds
  • Reduced energy costs
  • Longer run times
  • Lighter weight can reduce turf damage and soil compaction

These advantages are similar to what SVR heard from LiV Golf Cars, a start-up golf car manufacturer that tried to break into the fleet golf car market with lithium powered golf cars not to long ago. While the technology sounded promising, the company had trouble trying to muscle in on the big boys turf. However, the technology has the potential to be quite disruptive as golf car leases are typically tied to the life of the vehicle’s battery pack.

Economically it makes more sense for a golf course to changeover a fleet than just replace the battery packs. A golf course will typically turn over their fleet when the battery pack needs to be replaced, 3-4 years depending on use. Why spend $600-$1,000 per vehicle for a new battery pack when you can lease a whole new set of vehicles for not much more than your current payments? If the lithium battery packs are kept through their warranty period, 5 years, or even longer, you are potentially doubling or almost doubling the changeover time. Obviously, this has implications for fleet golf car sales volume.

How disruptive lithium golf cars will be depends on whether they perform as advertised and how much more they will cost than current fleet golf cars. If the energy cost savings are significant and the pricing not to high the payback time could be relatively short. In the long term the maintenance free aspect of the battery pack may prove to be a significant factor as well, since maintaining lead acid batteries properly continues to be a challenge. This will probably not manifest itself until the vehicles are out in the market and golf course managers better understand how much less maintenance they require.

The full press release from Textron follows:

E-Z-GO® Launches Innovative ELiTE™ Series Vehicles to Industry

Lithium-Powered Golf Fleet Vehicles Developed in Partnership with Samsung SDI

AUGUSTA, Ga. (January 26, 2017) — E-Z-GO, a Textron Specialized Vehicles business, is proud to yet again revolutionize electric golf cars with the introduction of its ELiTE Series lithium golf cars as a fleet offering. Activated by Samsung SDI lithium technology, ELiTE vehicles offer zero-maintenance batteries with a five-year unlimited amp-hour warranty and increased energy efficiency.

E-Z-GO vehicles are designed and manufactured in Augusta, Ga. by Textron Specialized Vehicles Inc., a Textron Inc. (NYSE: TXT) company.

“The E-Z-GO partnership with Samsung SDI resulted in a giant step forward for the industry when it comes to high-efficiency vehicles and zero-maintenance battery power,” said Michael R. Parkhurst, Vice President, Golf for Textron Specialized Vehicles. “ELiTE Series vehicles are the biggest advancement in golf car technology since E-Z-GO introduced the E-Z-GO RXV® golf car, with its groundbreaking AC drive and IntelliBrake™ technology.”

New ELiTE Series vehicles are powered by hundreds of Samsung SDI lithium cells that are loaded into a single battery pack. The battery pack is controlled by an advanced Battery Management System that monitors efficiency, temperature, state of charge and the health of the batteries. These batteries are used to safely and reliably power electric cars, e-scooters, power tools and many other electrically powered vehicles, equipment and appliances.

The revolutionary ELiTE Series vehicles are powered by zero-maintenance lithium batteries that don’t require watering, terminal post checkups and cleaning like traditional lead acid batteries do. This means less time in the shop for maintenance and repairs, and more play time for the vehicles.

ELiTE Series vehicles are 59 percent* more efficient than the Club Car Precedent and 52 percent* more efficient than the Yamaha Drive AC. Charging time is significantly reduced, and ELiTE vehicles allow courses to “opportunity charge,” plugging vehicles in for quick charging sessions between rounds that can rapidly restore significant levels of energy to the battery system, as opposed to the lengthy recharge cycles required by lead-acid batteries.

With less power required to charge ELiTE Series than leading lead-acid competitors, golf course managers can cut energy costs while enjoying the extra revenue that comes from all-day uptime.

The batteries in ELiTE vehicles are also lighter than traditional lead acid batteries. ELiTE Series vehicles batteries are half the size and a fraction of the weight of lead-acid batteries, reducing turf damage and soil compaction due to vehicle weight.

E-Z-GO is confident in the reliable and enduring performance that ELiTE vehicles will bring to courses, which is why the vehicles’ batteries are backed by a five-year, unlimited amp-hour warranty.

E-Z-GO ELiTE Series vehicles were tested at Tijeras Creek Golf Club, in Rancho Santa Margarita, Calif., where last year, 73,000 rounds of golf were played. The award-winning course is known for its challenging hilly, brutal terrain. Tijeras Creek Golf Club regularly rotates vehicles in the current lead-acid golf car fleet in and out of service daily to allow for ample recharge time.

“From day one, the ELiTE Series vehicles have been going around our golf course anywhere from 36 to 54 holes a day, and during that time frame, we aren’t having to recharge them,” said Rob Heslar, Director of Golf at Tijeras Creek Golf Club. “There’s a confidence factor in the ELiTE Series lithium car for me. I’m not concerned about putting my customers in an ELiTE Series golf vehicle because I know they won’t worry about becoming stranded in an uncharged vehicle.”

The exclusive ELiTE lithium technology will be available in the following 2017 models:

RXV® ELiTE, Freedom® RXV ELiTE, Freedom RXV 2+2 ELiTE, TXT® ELiTE, Freedom TXT ELiTE and Freedom TXT 2+2 ELiTE.

ELiTE Series vehicles will be on display during the PGA Merchandise Show in Orlando, Florida. Learn more about ELiTE Series vehicles, by visiting www.ezgo.com/elite.

Contact:
Brandon Haddock
Director, Communications
706. 772.5931
bhaddock@textron.com

– See more at: http://investor.textron.com/news/news-releases/press-release-details/2017/E-Z-GO-Launches-Innovative-ELiTETM-Series-Vehicles-to-Industry/default.aspx#sthash.pK3tx7Dp.dpuf

Nikola Motor Reveals Electric UTV Prototype

Nikola Zero

A prototype of the Nikola Zero all electric UTV from Nikola Motor.

Nikola Zero cockpit

A view of the Nikola Zero cockpit.

In May, Nikola Motor, known more for developing an electric powered long-haul truck, also announced that it was developing an impressive electric powered UTV, the Nikola Zero. Now, in September the company has unveiled a prototype vehicle. According to the company, here are some of the key specifications for the vehicle:

  • 100% electric powered vehicle
  • Range up to 200 miles
  • 400 volts
  • Up to 520 hp
  • Up to 467 ft-lbs of torque
  • 72kWh Battery
  • All-wheel Drive
  • Instant torque in < 1 sec
  • 0-60 mph in 3 seconds
  • 20″ suspension
  • 32″ tires
  • 14.5″ of ground clearance
  • Optional 10 degree rear steering box
  • Waterproof motor and gearbox
  • Two 7″ displays or one optional 15″ display
  • Seats 4

A 2-seat version will also be offered according to management. The vehicle will be priced at $37,000 and the target date for deliveries is Q3 2017. A model can be reserved with a $750 deposit. Learn more:  Electrek.co

Comment:  From the pictures, the Nikola Zero appears to also have solar panels on the roof. At 72kWh the battery pack for the Nikola Zero is very large. By comparison the Ranger EV Li-Ion battery pack features a 30v 8.3 kWh battery and a 15v 4.1 kWh battery. The price point also seems to be on the low side given the size of the battery pack. The Ranger EV Li-Ion with a much smaller battery pack sell for a $11,700 premium over their standard  Ranger EV. Given that high performance UTVs sell for $25,000  or more, the price premium of a similar vehicle with a large lithium ion battery pack should place the Nikola Zero at a price point well above $37,000. It will be interesting to see if the vehicle can make it to market. In any case, the vehicle is another indication of a continuing trend of electric UTVs being purposefully built for more demanding applications and uses other than hunting.

2016 PGA Show: Flow-Rite Battery Steward

Continuing the focus on battery maintenance at the PGA Show, the Flow-Rite booth featured their Battery Steward product, which combines a mobile app with scannable labels to help operators manage battery maintenance. While Flow-Rite has been using the technology in the industrial space where the batteries for forklifts are very expensive and so can be the maintenance mistakes, they are just starting to introduce the technology to the golf car market.

A partial screenshot from Flow-Rites Battery Steward app.

A partial screenshot from Flow-Rite’s Battery Steward app.

The company’s website describes four easy steps for using the Battery Steward.

  1. Use your mobile device and identifying labels to create easy-to-follow battery care task lists.
  2. Check off batteries by scanning the Battery Steward identifying label that has been attached to your battery.
  3. Record and analyze important battery maintenance data through the online portal.
  4. Identify neglected, misused, or abused batteries.

The company generates revenue by selling the scannable labels. While the product is clearly aimed at the fleet owner, I wonder if a dealer might be able to use the technology to manage a “fleet” of disparate customer vehicles.  Learn more:  Batterysteward.com

2016 PGA Show: Battery Watering Technologies i-Lite Sensor

Last week I attended the PGA Show down in Orlando, FL, so this week I’ll be posting about some brand new and relatively new developments from the show that relate to the small, task-oriented vehicle markets. I’m going to kick it off with a relatively new product from Battery Watering Technologies, their i-Lite Sensor. The i-Lite Sensor uses an LED light to provide a visual indication when it is time to water the batteries. According to company, if the indication is ignored, the sensor is so smart, it can tell the operator how long the battery went without water.

The LED indicator and wiring is shown sitting on top of the battery. The indicator can be wired into the dash or other area of the vehicle for easy viewing. Green means the electrolyte level is sufficient and red indicates water is needed.

The LED indicator and wiring is shown sitting on top of the battery. The indicator can be wired into the dash or other area of the vehicle for easy viewing. Green means the electrolyte level is sufficient and red indicates water is needed.

A battery from US Battery using the i-Lite Sensor showing the black valve that is inserted into the battery and connected to the watering system.

A battery from US Battery using the i-Lite Sensor showing the black valve that is inserted into the battery and connected to the watering system.

Currently, the product is only available for US Battery products but the company is developing a variant for other brands as well. Some variance with the height of the lead plates in Trojan batteries is an issue. Although, the product may work with some of the Trojan batteries, they cannot guaranty that it will work with all.

The sensor takes a reading from one cell and uses it as a proxy for the whole battery bank. According to US Battery, this method has been effective in the industrial battery market for forklifts. This approach assumes all the batteries in the pack are the same brand and type and were installed at the same time as a complete set.

The sensor is trying to address an ongoing problem with electric STOV vehicles – getting owners and operators to properly take care of their batteries. I consistently hear from dealers, battery manufacturers and watering technology companies that owners/operators are not properly taking care of batteries. This leads to a shortened battery life, an expensive consequence which makes customers angry, can reflect poorly on the battery brand and probably doesn’t endear the dealer to the customer. What is fascinating is how this problem persists despite decades of golf cars using essentially the same battery technology. The i-Lite sensor and single-point watering systems are both steps in the evolution of simplifying the whole process of battery maintenance. In effect they are an attempt to put a layer of user-friendly technology between the operator and the battery pack to improve battery performance.

 

LEO Motors Introduces Electric Vehicles with “Swappable” Batteries

Newly launched electric vehicle from Leo Motors.

Newly launched electric vehicle from LEO Motors. 

Leo Motors  of South Korea, launched a line of electric vehicles with “swappable” batteries. The vehicles include an electric cargo one-seater car, a delivery truck and a garbage truck. The company also introduced two electric fishing boats.

A key differentiator for the vehicles is that customers rent charged batteries from the company’s Battery Swap Centers, thereby reducing their costs. The vehicle lineup includes:

  • E-Dot, a 100% electric cargo one-seater with a cargo space of 7 cubic feet. Its maximum weight capacity is 220 pounds and the cargo space can be replaced with a second passenger seat.
  • LC-1 –  a light delivery truck with low decks and wide ramps for easy loading, and a maximum carrying capacity of 1,100 pounds.
  • LC-2 – Similar to an LC-1 but with an 1,100 pound capacity garbage collection container.

Batteries at Leo’s battery swap stations are owned by the station operators and rented to the electric vehicle owners. This not only significantly reduces the price of the vehicle but also eliminates concerns about battery life span. Leo’s battery swapping machines are carts which replace battery cartridges eliminating the need for expensive large robot arms to handle massive battery packs. Using this shopping cart sized device, a typical 20 cartridge replacement takes 5 minutes. Learn more:  Baystreet.ca

Comment:  It will be interesting to see if the rental battery concept will work. Advanced batteries, such as lithium ion, can be very expensive, especially for LSVs and lower priced utility vehicles where the cost of the lithium batteries compared to the overall cost of the vehicle is very high. A battery rental approach could lower the up front costs of the battery pack.

 

GEM Director John Stockman Talks About the New Model Year

The new GEMs for model year 2016.

The new GEMs for model year 2016.

I recently interviewed GEM Director John Stockman about the changes to the GEM lineup for model year 2016, the vision for the brand and how it fits within the overall small vehicle portfolio of Polaris. Here is an excerpt from the larger article posted in our Buying Guide section:

Polaris has made extensive changes to the GEM lineup for the 2016 e2, e4, e6 and eL XD models. Stylistically the iconic “bubble” design is still noticeable from a side view, but a frontal view reveals significant changes. The new design was in large part based on customer research. According to Stockman, in the neighborhood of 10 different designs were vetted by customers and consumers before a final design was chosen.

Even more important than stylistic changes, were the engineering changes made under the skin in direct response to several phases of customer research, including multiple ride clinics with dozens of customers and consumers, feature and finish related research, as well as feedback from dealers. The research focused the product development process on a number of key areas. One was the comfort of users as they ingress and egress from the vehicles all throughout their day. Towards that end, more legroom and headroom has been created. A past complaint about hot seats was also addressed as well as items as minor as having self-canceling turn signals.

A second issue highlighted by the research was vehicle safety. Stockman states that, “We are hearing more and more from corporate campuses, colleges and universities, hotel and resorts, that they are moving away from the traditional golf carts towards LSVs because of their safety features.” With that in mind the safety features the GEM is known for were kept but also improved. This included better brakes, vehicle handling in evasive situations and seatbelts. “We really focused on making sure that this was the safest LSV you could get”, remarked Stockman.

Another focus… View Full Article

I will be following up this article with some impressions from GEM dealers on the changes for the 2016 model lineup. For detailed vehicle specifications for the 2016 and past GEMs, search the SVR vehicle database.

 

114-Mile Range for Lithium Powered Golf Car

 

Lithium Boost system installed in EZGO by Advantage Golf Cars

Lithium Boost system installed in EZGO by Advantage Golf Cars

Lithium Boost Technologies, working with Advantage Golf Cars of the The Villages in Florida, announced that they were able to get 114 miles from a single charge in an E-Z-GO RXV golf car using the LithiumBoost Ultra battery system. The Lithium Boost Technologies integrated battery system includes 200ah lithium-ion cells, 20a chargers, smart BMS (Battery Management System), and all the required wiring, gauge and accessories. Management states that the core value is in the patented BMS and individual-cell chargers system that was designed to optimize and control charging/discharging in order to yield maximum stored energy and assure long life cycle of the lithium cells. The full press release follows below the comment section.

Comment:  That is an impressive range for a single charge. The issue with lithium battery systems is the cost relative to lead acid battery systems. At this point, the technology appeals mostly to the higher end of the market as a replacement or option for a standard lead acid system. The golf car market is very price sensitive so the price of a Lithium based system will need to decrease significantly for widespread use to occur. Besides the advantages of more range and less weight, there is also need for a battery pack that is less maintenance intensive then lead acid batteries. If you talk to dealers or battery companies, they frequently point to poorly maintained batteries as an issue. It can impact the sales of electric powered golf cars or LSVs because a poorly maintained battery pack can result in a premature and expensive replacement of batteries. This can reflect poorly on the vehicle manufacturer, battery manufacturer and dealer, even though the fault often resides with the owner not properly maintaining the batteries. In turn, this can lead consumers to a switch to a gas powered vehicle. 

Advantage Golf Cars Achieved 114-Mile Range Deploying Lithium-ion Battery System from Lithium Boost Technologies 

Smart Battery Management System (BMS) and innovative chargers allow enhancing the performance of lithium-powered golf carts

San Diego, CA, and The Villages, FL, September 29, 2015 – Lithium Boost Technologies Inc., the leading provider of innovative Lithium-ion battery systems to power low speed electric vehicles (LSEV) today announced a record of 114 miles per charge achieved by its customer Advantage Golf Cars (The Villages, Florida).

LithiumBoost Ultra battery system with 200ah lithium cells and 20a chargers, was installed by Advantage Golf Cars in an E-Z-GO RXV golf cart, replacing existing lead-acid batteries. After performing comprehensive tests and working closely with the Lithium Boost engineering team to enhance the battery system features, Advantage Golf Cars mechanics drove 114 miles per charge at an average speed of 17 miles per hour. This record was accomplished in one day, utilizing multiple drivers taking turns in driving each one hour shift.

“At Advantage Golf Cars in Florida, we aim at best serving our customers and providing them with advanced solutions to satisfy their needs” Said Jason Martin, General Manager North at Advantage Golf Cars. “We searched for a lithium-ion battery solution that could relieve our customers from the lead-acid maintenance and leakage hassle while allowing them to gain longer drive range and significantly reduce their cart weight. Our goal was to achieve 100 miles per charge and we are glad that choosing Lithium Boost’s solution allowed us to exceed our expectations.”

The Lithium Boost Technologies integrated battery system includes lithium-ion cells, chargers, smart BMS (Battery Management System), and all the required wiring, gauge and accessories for powering low speed electric vehicles. Its core value is in the patented BMS and individual-cell chargers system that was designed to optimize and control charging/discharging in order to yield maximum stored energy and assure long life cycle of the lithium cells.

“We are delighted to have Advantage Golf Cars install our lithium battery system and run comprehensive field tests that led us to enhance our system performance and features based on their feedback and requirements, said John Wade, Chief Engineer at Lithium Boost Technologies. “At Lithium Boost we’re confident that the time has come for lithium-ion batteries to replace the existing lead-acid technology for low speed electric vehicles. However, we’re aware that changes take time and require innovation-seeking pioneers such as the team at Advantage Golf Cars,” added Sam Lev, Lithium Boost Technologies CEO. “We look forward to the day when customers can purchase golf cars with ‘lithium inside’ rather than have to go through the costly hassle of replacing the old lead-acid batteries in order to benefit from the advantages of the more advanced lithium-ion technology.”

About Lithium Boost Technologies

Based in San Diego, California, Lithium Boost Technologies Inc. provides innovative integrated Lithium-ion battery systems deploying high-quality LiFePO4 cells to power low-speed electric vehicles (LSEVs) and emerging applications.

Based on its proprietary technology, Lithium Boost has built a complete performance-optimized lithium-ion system with smart BMS (Battery Management System) and chargers that allow to best harness the power of lithium-ion technology.

Privately held, the company was founded in 2011 to lead the development of green energy system that can replace existing lead acid batteries in golf carts, Neighborhood Electric Vehicles (NEV), off-road, hunting, and similar low speed vehicles, while eliminating the maintenance hassle, and providing higher performance and longer life cycle at competitive cost. www.lithiumboost.com

About Advantage Golf Cars

Advantage Golf Cars is dedicated to serving the needs of their customers. The company has been in business since 1991 and has ten locations throughout Florida. Advantage Golf Cars offers the largest selection of New and Pre-Owned E-Z-GO, Cushman, Bad Boy, Club Car and XRT vehicles. Advantage Golf Cars has been a Factory Authorized Dealer for over 20 years, and in that time they have earned multiple Dealer of the Year awards.

Advantage Golf Cars also rents and leases golf cars. Advantage Golf Cars has contracts in place for golf car maintenance repair, lease, or rentals with special event coordinators, production companies, convention centers, clubs, marinas and professional sport entities like the Miami Heat and the Miami Marlins.

Advantage Golf Cars has fully stocked parts departments in most locations, as well as providing mobile service within a targeted two-business day turnaround, including battery and tire service if needed. Advantage Golf Cars service centers provide full repair and rebuild capabilities. www.AdvantageGolfCars.com

PR Contact:
Tsipi Landen
Lithium Boost Technologies,
San Diego CA, 92130
info@lithiumBoost.com
1-800-280-0943

* * *

Lithium Boost Technologies Announces New Smart Lithium-Ion Battery Chargers

The new smart charger from Lithium Boost Technologies

The new smart charger from Lithium Boost Technologies

Lithium Boost Technologies Inc., the leading provider of innovative Lithium-ion battery systems to power low speed electric vehicles (LSEV) has introduced enhanced and redesigned chargers to assure high performance and reliability.

Lithium Boost has developed the smart chargers in conjunction with innovative Battery Management System (BMS), based on its proprietary technology, in order to optimize the performance of lithium-ion cells targeted for use in low speed electric vehicles. The smart charging system consists of individual chargers, one for each lithium cell to assure balanced charging and completed-charge monitoring per cell. The BMS monitors the cell voltages through communication with the chargers and disables vehicle operations when any cell voltage remains too low for an extended period of time. When switched on, the BMS has an output wire that can provide up to 5Amps of power at the pack voltage for accessories, such as a DC to DC converter used for 12 volt lighting.

Lithium Boost smart chargers are now available in two sizes: 10Amps and 20Amps. Each individual charger delivers full current during most of the charge cycle, and tapers off to a trickle charge near the end of charge. The charger module accepts AC power in the range of 100-240 Volts, 50-60Hz. The 10Amp chargers set con¬sumes approximately 6.5Amps at 115Volts, and 3.2Amps at 230Volts, and the 20Amp set consumes 13Amps at 115Volts and 6.5Amps at 230Volts.

Learn more:  PRurgent.com

Comment:  While lithium-ion batteries are still pricey compared to lead-acid batteries, they are slowly making in-roads into the STOV market. One example is the new lithium powered 2016 Ranger EV from Polaris. However, the price differential is still substantial and the price for lithium batteries needs to decrease substantially before they are more widely used in the STOV market. An additional obstacle is that the weight differential between lead-acid and lithium battery packs of similar power output is substantial. Therefore, the packs cannot be simply swapped out but the vehicles need to be re-engineered to accommodate the change in weight distribution and vehicle performance.

Polaris Announces New Side-By-Side Models For 2016

The new 2016 Polaris RZR XP Turbo EPS

The new 2016 Polaris RZR XP Turbo EPS

Polaris has announced their model year 2016 line-up including a new turbocharged RZR, the RZR XP Turbo EPS. The RZR XP Turbo EPS is powered by a turbocharged Prostar engine that produces 144 hp. Additional key features of the vehicle include:

  • Fox Podium Internal Bypass Shocks
  • Lighter-weight progressive rate upper spring and stiffer main spring
  • New front swaybar and re-tuned rear swaybar
  • Bolstered seats
  • Tilt steering
  • Factory installed quarter doors
  • MSRP $24,999
The new 2016 Polaris RZR S 1000 EPS

The new 2016 Polaris RZR S 1000 EPS

An additional new model is the 60 inch wide RZR S 1000 EPS featuring a 100 hp Prostar engine, Dual A-Arm rear suspension, Fox 2.0 Podium X shocks, True All-Wheel Drive, bolstered seats and factory installed quarter doors. The MSRP is $17,999. The 2016 RZR line also includes some comfort and ergonomic improvements including:

  • New seat angle that brings the driver’s elbows closer to the body providing less arm fatigue and a more natural driving position for the RZR 1000 EPS, RZR 900 EPS, RZR S 900 EPS, RZR XC 900 EPS, RZR 4 900 EPS, RZR XP 1000 EPS, RZR XP Turbo EPS, RZR XP 4 1000 EPS and non-EPS vehicles.
  • Adjustable seatbelt sliders for the RZR XP 1000
The value priced 2016 Polaris Ranger 570 Full-Size

The value priced 2016 Polaris Ranger 570 Full-Size

The new 2016 Polaris Ranger XP 900 EPS High Lifter Stealth Black for mud riding.

The new 2016 Polaris Ranger XP 900 EPS High Lifter Stealth Black for mud riding.

In the Ranger lineup Polaris is adding the Ranger 570 Full-Size with a 60 inch three seat chassis, tubular ROPS, 44 hp Prostar 570 engine, 1,500 lb. towing capacity, 800 lb. cargo bed capacity and value targeted MSRP of $9,999. They are also adding a three-seat mud riding model, the Ranger XP 900 EPS High Lifter Edition Stealth Black. This model features reduced gearing for more mud-specific torque with an added a heavy-duty reverse chain, high engine air and clutch intakes and outlet, arched lower A-Arms, 28 in/71.12 cm High Lifter Outlaw II tires and an improved drainage skid plate. The vehicle also features a Pro-Lock™ On-Demand All-Wheel Drive for quicker four-wheel drive engagement in the mud, electronic power stering, 4,500 lb. winch with integrated in-dash switches, specially designed front bumper to allow winch access, rear bumper, half doors and special graphics kit.

Another Ranger addition for 2016 is the pure electric Ranger EV Li-Ion Polaris Pursuit Camo. This model includes:

  • 48-volt Ac-induction motor
  • Battery management controller to more accurately represent battery life
  • Vehicle Control Module with new digital gauge and better accessory integration
  • On-vehicle diagnostics
  • MSRP $22,999

A Ranger 570 EPS Hunter Edition Polaris Pursuit Camo is new for model year 2016. This model includes Active Descent Control for more control in mountainous terrain, Pro-Lock On-Demand All-Wheel Drive, 3,500 lb. winch, and dual Lock & Ride Scabbards.

Other Ranger models will get a power boost in 2016 with the addition of high output Prostar engines for the Ranger Crew 900-5 and Ranger Crew 900-6 (68 hp) as well as the Ranger XP 570 and Ranger Crew 570-6 (46 hp). Other Enhancements to the Ranger line include an updated hood design with an aggressive new look for the Ranger XP 900 and Ranger XP 570 and Crew vehicles. For maximum power delivery to the ground, the Ranger XP 900 EPS and Crew 900 painted models are now equipped with Pro-Lock On-Demand All-Wheel Drive.

The 2016 Polaris Ace 900 SP adds power and high performance features.

The 2016 Polaris Ace 900 SP adds power and high performance features.

There is also a new Polaris ACE model for 2016, the ACE 900 SP, which features a 60 hp Prostar 900 engine with electronic fuel injection and electronic throttle control. Notable features include:

  • Front stabilizer bar
  • New dual rate springs in the independent rear suspension
  • 25 inch tires
  • Polaris’ High Performance Close Ratio On-Demand All-Wheel Drive (AWD)
  • MSRP $11,499

Learn more:  UTVguide.net

Comment:  Polaris continues to add to their armada of vehicles. The turbocharged model is a response to Can Ams turbocharged offering. Their other new models demonstrate how they pursue market niches with very specific models such as those for hunting or mud riding. They also make a number of tweaks to the rest of their lineup, many of which focus on comfort or ergonomics. Combined, the niche marketing and tweaking, I believe demonstrate the level of customer research that they put into their product development. Many of these changes are quite specific which I don’t believe they would be making without customer research to justify them.

The new value priced Ranger is most likely a response to the increased competition in this segment of the market where promotions from established brands and offerings from companies like Kymco and CFMoto may be impacting sales. The new electric Ranger injects some of the Brammo acquired expertise in lithium ion technology into their side-by-side product line. It will be interesting to see how the vehicle sells with an MSRP that’s over $10,000 more than their lead-acid battery based EV Rangers. The pricing makes it a niche vehicle and its wise that it is essentially a high-end, electric hunting vehicle where the extra battery range can make a difference and possibly open up new markets, where electric hunting vehicles previously may have struggled to gain traction because of range issues. The new ACE model indicates a demand for and expansion into higher performance riding for the one-seater market.

Sichuan China To Loosen Low-Speed Electric Vehicle Restrictions

Reports from Sichuan China point to the government loosening restrictions on low-speed electric vehicles. The new regulations are expected in August for the province. Lead acid battery manufacturers that supply the market expect it to grow 15% in 2015. In related news, Shandong province, a major producing area of low speed EVs in China reports production of the vehicles is up almost 70% to 69,200 vehicles in the first quarter.  Learn more:  Metal.com

Comment:  When it comes to low speed vehicles the market size in China far outpaces the US. However a direct comparison is hard to make because low speed vehicles in China have a much higher top speed, about 48 mph. A more basic difference though is that there is simply more market demand. With comparatively low vehicle penetration, there is a sizable demand for vehicles that are more affordable than highway capable vehicles but can still get you around town locally.