Cat Introduces Utility Vehicles

Caterpillar CUV102D

The new Cat CUV102D from Caterpillar which partnered with Textron Specialized Vehicles to produce their UTV line.

Caterpillar Cat CUV82

The gas powered Cat CUV82 is the other model in the new product line.

Last month Caterpillar announced that they were partnering with Textron Specialized Vehicles to produce a line of Cat branded utility vehicles. This month two Cat utility vehicles and their specs have been revealed. The CUV82 is a gas powered model and the CUV102D is a diesel powered model.

The CUV82 has a 50 hp, three cylinder engine and a top speed of 45 mph, but can be restricted to 25 mph. The CUV 102D features a 25 hp, 3-cylinder diesel with a top speed of 25 mph. Clearly work vehicles, the CUV82 and CUV102D each have a 1,000 lb. capacity steel cargo bed and a 2,000 lb. towing capacity. The vehicles are designed for all day comfort with ample elbow and legroom and an eye towards reduced vibration and noise. Other key features common to both models include:

  • CVT
  • 2WD/4WD/4WD Lock drive system
  • 10.5″ of ground clearance
  • 25″ tires on steel wheels
  • Four wheel independent suspension with A-Arms front and rear and a front sway bar
  • Dual piston disc brakes
  • Halogen headlights and LED tail lights
  • Electric power assist steering
  • Seating for two
  • ROPS
  • Pre-wiring for accessories
  • Digital instrument gauge
  • Horn

There are already a fair number of accessories available for the vehicles including various bumpers, guards, windshields, roofs, full doors and some lighting options. For work related tasks a front winch, snow plow and electro-hydraulic power dump bed are available.

A quick check of the SVR vehicle database puts these vehicles in the same class as Can Am Defender models, the Cushman Hauler 4×4 Diesel, the Cub Cadet Volunteer and Intimidator Classic models. Learn more: Cat.com

 

Will Electric UTVs Disrupt the Market?

Nikola Zero

A prototype Nikola Zero electric UTV from Nikola Motor on test in Utah.  Photo Credit:  Nikola Motor

Nikola Zero

A shot of the Nikola Zero prototype’s underbelly while rock climbing.  Photo Credit:  Nikola Motor

Fred Lambert of Electrek.co, a news site that focuses on electric vehicles along with solar and wind power, was part of a small group of people that recently had a chance to experience the prototype Nikola Zero electric powered UTV in the challenging terrain around St. George, UT. His experience indicates that the Nikola Zero is not just vaporware with some outstanding specs but an actual UTV moving towards production. More importantly, Lambert’s experience with the Nikola Zero points to the possibility of electric UTVs significantly disrupting the market.

Before further discussing market disruption, lets take a look at the Nikola Zero test drive. The exact specs for the prototype were not provided but Nikola Motor stated that it is fairly close to a production version. Missing from the prototype are body panels. The prototype appeared to meet the the original spec sheet, which promised 555 hp and 4,900 ft-lbs of torque along with 20″ of suspension travel and 14.5″ of ground clearance. The prototype weighed in at around 3,500 lbs, featured 35″ tires, and was outfitted with a 107 kWh battery pack as opposed to the planned high end option of 125 kWh. For comparison, either size provides the UTV with a bigger battery pack than the maximum 100 kWh pack for a Tesla. The prototype’s display screen at the beginning of the test day indicated a 153 mile range at a 92% charge level.

Some highlights from Lambert’s take on the test drive:

  • Roomy 4-passenger vehicle even in the rear seats
  • Top-speed reached was 57 mph limited by terrain but company notes 80 mph is possible
  • Torque of four electric motors and low center of gravity made climbing even up 50% inclines seem effortless
    • One 50% grade was tackled from a standstill where as gas-powered UTVs needed a running start
    • A rock climbing spot was easily conquered by the Nikola Zero while a Can Am UTV and crew were stymied
    • In another difficult spot a Yamaha was easily passed
  • Greatly reduced ride noise compared to a gas UTV
  • Two hours of driving and 1,500 ft. of elevation gain used about one-third of the battery capacity

The company remarked that they are using LG and Samsung batteries in a patented battery pack architecture. They are planning on producing a few hundred units in 2018 and a few thousand in 2019 with a MSRP in the $35,000 range for the 75 kWh battery pack option and $55,000 for the 125 kWh battery pack option. The production version is expected to be launched in December, 2017.

What does this test drive say about how electric UTVs can disrupt the market. One area is performance, especially in the recreational end of the market. The amount of torque and responsiveness of an electric UTV would be very difficult for gas powered vehicles to match. Having motors at each wheel is another advantage as is the lower center of gravity. A gas powered UTV simply cannot be designed this way. Even for the utility segment, while the capability for high speeds would be considered undesirable by many employers, the performance features applied to heavy duty work applications would be welcome.

Performance based disruption is directly tied to expertise in engine design and development. The major UTV manufacturers have invested enormous amounts of money and resources into developing their own engine technology to create more powerful and lighter gas engines as they have engaged in horsepower and torque battles. Electric UTVs have the potential to make that expertise obsolete and demand a focus on batteries, battery pack design and management, and electric motors instead.

Another area of potential disruption, that may be undersold at this point, is the relatively low noise level of electric UTVs. While many riders enjoy the sound of a roaring engine and maybe even consider it integral to the off-road experience, the lower noise levels may prove quite appealing during long hours of riding. The ability to more easily carry on conversations could increase the social aspects of riding. Quieter electric UTVs could potentially open up more areas for riding where noise is a primary land use concern. Again this will be an area that gas powered UTVs will have a hard time competing.

Another potential area of disruption is vehicle reliability. While the chassis, suspension system and many other parts will still be needed for electric UTVs, the electric powertrain eliminates a lot of moving parts and other systems associated with gas engines. A quick perusal of recent UTV recalls indicates that a significant portion of them are related to the gas engine or ancillary system. There is also less maintenance involved with electric powertrains. On the other hand, battery packs will have to demonstrate their reliability.

At this point, a major impediment to this disruptive technology is price. As the anticipated pricing of the Nikola Zero demonstrates, electric UTVs are very expensive machines relative to the current market. A lot of that pricing is tied to the battery pack. Unless battery pricing decreases significantly an electric UTV like the Nikola Zero will only be a niche product targeting the high performance end of the market, not dissimilar to what the original Tesla Roadster was. On the other hand, battery pricing has been dropping significantly, so more affordable but relatively high performance UTVs may not be that far away.

Learn more:  Electrek.co, Nikolamotor.com

Marc Cesare, SmallVehicleResource.com

Mahindra To Build UTVs in the US

The Mahindra mPact XTV 1000 L utility vehicle is one of six models previously developed by the company in partnership with Intimidator, Inc.

Mahindra is planning on launching an off-road utility vehicle targeting farmers and hunters, and will build it in the US. In an interview by Barron’s, Mahindra & Mahindra’s CEO Pawan Goenka covered a range of topics including a new manufacturing plant in Detroit. The first product produced by the plant will be off-road utility vehicles.

In April 2015 Mahindra announced a partnership with Intimidator Inc. based in Arkansas to develop and manufacture Mahindra’s current mPact lineup of six UTVs. This latest interview indicates that moving forward they will be developing and manufacturing their UTVs themselves. According to the CEO Mahindra currently has about 540 dealers in the US who sell Mahindra’s tractors. While the brand is not necessarily a household name, it is not an obscure brand either in the farming market.

Comment:  This marks a more serious commitment to the UTV market. While some companies have developed partnerships to add UTVs to their product lineup, they have not had intentions of moving into manufacturing themselves. These partnerships have been a joining of complementary competencies and assets. Usually one company has the distribution channel while the other has the expertise and resources to develop the UTVs. In Mahindra’s case they likely used their partnership with Intimidator to test the UTV market in the US before making a more substantial commitment. They will offer some more competition for companies like Kubota, John Deere, Polaris and even Can Am which has been targeting the farm/hunting market segment lately as well. The investment shows that the UTV market remains highly competitive, but companies still view it as a growth market.

Marc Cesare, Smallvehicleresource.com

Textron Partners with New Holland on Rustler UTV

New Holland Rustler 850

A partnership between Textron and New Holland bares fruit with the launch of the New Holland Rustler 850.

Textron Specialized Vehicles continues to expand their footprint in the small, task-oriented vehicle market partnering with New Holland to produce the Rustler 850 utility vehicle. New Holland, a leading manufacturer of agricultural machinery, turned to Textron 18 months ago to help them update their Rustler brand of utility vehicles with a new vehicle. The partnership makes sense for both companies. For Textron Specialized Vehicles, the partnership gives them access to New Holland’s well-established distribution channel in the ag market. For New Holland, they can more efficiently use their product development resources by taking advantage of Textron Specialized Vehicle’s expertise in utility vehicles. One challenge for the new vehicle will be the relatively depressed demand in the ag market that has been ongoing for a number of quarters.

The Rustler 850 is based on a Textron chassis but has a number of features and characteristics based on New Holland’s market knowledge and feedback from their dealers. These include:

  • 1,000 lb. capacity cargo bed that can fit a full pallet
  • 1,500 lb. payload capacity
  • 2,000 lb. towing capacity
  • 45 mph top speed for more speed than some other farm focused UTVs
  • Front end design that recalls their T6/T7 tractors
  • Trademark New Holland blue color

Other key features include:

  • 62 hp, OHC, EFI engine
  • All-Wheel Drive with automatic locking front differential and selectable locking rear differential
  • Dual A-arm front and rear suspension with performance shocks
  • 9.3″/10.4″ of front/rear suspension travel
  • 11.25″ of ground clearance
  • Electronic power steering
  • 4-wheel hydraulic disc brakes
  • 26″ Kenda All-Terrain tires
  • ROPS and 3-point seat-belts
  • Front steel brush guard

Current available attachments include a LED light package and winch with a cab with heater, electric dump bed and camo graphics in development. A four-person version is also in the product line plan. The Rustler 850 will be available this spring.

Learn more:  Farmindustrynews.com

Marc Cesare, Smallvehicleresource.com

Star EV Launches Sirius Luxury Golf Car

Marc Cesare, Smallvehicleresource.com

The new Sirius electric vehicle from Star EV

The new Sirius electric vehicle from Star EV at the PGA Show.

At 2017 PGA Merchandise Show electric vehicle manufacturer Star EV revealed their new luxury golf car model, the Sirius. The Sirius has a 4kW AC motor, 350 A Curtis AC controller and has a top speed of 19.5 mph or 25 mph for the LSV version. Other features include:

  • Electronic locking trunk
  • USB port
  • LED illuminated dashboard
  • Self-canceling turn signals
  • Large bagwell
  • Optional golf ball holder inserts
  • Optional 2-in-1 Combo Seat

Star EV showcased the standard Sirius model with the Combo Seat and a customized version showing off the company’s available accessories such as multiple wheel options. While the models at the show were standard 2 and 4-passenger vehicles, the Sirius line will expand to include 6 and 8 passenger models. The Sirius will be available at Star EV dealers later this summer.

It will be interesting to see what the pricing for the vehicle will be compared to other offerings in the market. I don’t believe it will be at the level of a Garia, but where will the Sirius sit in the market, given the features and price, relative to offerings from Club Car, E-Z-GO and Yamaha?. This could be the start of a trend towards offering more “luxury” models if the larger manufacturers follow suit.

For those interested, Sirius is the brightest star in the Earth’s night sky and is derived from the ancient Greek word for “glowing” or “scorcher”, according to Wikipedia.

Learn more:  PRweb.com

Hustler Turf’s New MDV UTV

The new MDV utility vehicle from Hustler with a unique cargo bed technology.

The new MDV utility vehicle from Hustler with a unique cargo bed technology. Photo:  Pinkston’s Inc.

Hustler Level Lift technology

More information on the Level Lift technology used in the Hustler MDV.  Photo:  Pinkston’s Inc.

Hustler MDV utility vehicle

A frontal view of the Hustler MDV. Photo: Pinkston’s Inc.

Hustler Turf Equipment, a manufacturer of zero-turn mowers for residential and commercial customers, has launched a new utility vehicle, the MDV (Maximum Duty Vehicle) with Level Lift technology. Level Lift technology allows the user to move the cargo bed from the vehicle to flat on the ground and vice-versa. At any point during this movement cargo can be lifted, lowered or dumped. The Hustler MDV was recently shown to dealers at a Hustler company event in Nashville and will be on display at the GIE+EXPO in Louisville, KY later this month. Learn more:  Pinkstons

Comment:  This is another example of a power equipment company trying to take advantage of their unique distribution network. The turf and lawn care UTV market is seeing big name UTV brands using partnerships and contract manufacturing deals to reach this market, as well as, outdoor equipment brands develop their own products. It will be interesting to see how the level lift technology does in the market and whether other manufacturers will develop something similar. It could be popular in larger institutional or other settings where there might be interest in trying to limit work place injuries due to lifting cargo in and out of vehicles.

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.

Tata Motors Launches SuperAce Mini-Truck in Vietnam

Tata Motors SuperAce

Tata Motors has launched their SuperAce mini-truck in Vietnam.

Tata Motors, with their partner TMT Motors, have launched the Tata SuperAce mini-truck in Vietnam. The SuperAce is positioned as a versatile replacement for a small pick-up truck. The vehicle has a one ton payload and comes with either a diesel or gas engine and has a top speed of 130 km per hour. The vehicle can be used for inter or intra-city transport and for a wide range of goods including construction material, produce and consumer goods. According to Tata Motors management, “Through our partnership with TMT Motors, we are committed to shaping the commercial vehicles industry here and are determined to build a long-lasting relationship with the customer for competitive business advantages and the trusted credentials of the Tata Motors brand,”. Tata Motors sees a lot of potential in the fast growing Vietnamese economy and announced their intention to enter the market last year.

Learn more:  Thestatesman.com

Comment:  While not as popular in the US market, in Southeast Asia and in other countries mini-trucks are quite popular. They are integral for delivering goods in the hub and spoke system employed in these countries. The small-sized trucks can more easily maneuver in crowded and narrow city streets to deliver goods the “last mile” from large distribution centers. In the US they can be seen on farms and are usually imported used vehicles. With their top speeds mini-trucks don’t meet the safety standards for full on-road use in the US and are too fast too be considered low speed vehicles. Approximately 20 states allow mini-trucks on roads where it is locally permitted. Depending on the state mini-trucks are not allowed on highways or, in some cases, not allowed on roads with speed limits above 35 mph. Vantage Vehicle International offers vehicles that are mini-truck like in styling but are configured as LSVs.

New Models Reveal Market Trends

While the growth of the small, task-oriented vehicle market (STOV) may not be as strong as a few years ago, the proliferation of new models since the beginning of the year indicate a competitive and still growing market. The STOV market includes utility vehicles(UTVs)/side-by-sides, golf cars and LSVs. UTVs make up the largest share of the STOV market and not surprisingly that is where much of the action is. The UTV segment is also where much of the growth opportunity is as well.

A review of over 25 brands and product lines including all of the major players in the UTV market, as well as smaller ones, shows that approximately 80 new models were launched since the end of 2015. These have included completely new entrants, product line extensions, special edition models customized for specific applications and product line upgrades.

2017 Wolverine EPS

Yamaha continues to build out their UTV line with models like the 2017 Wolverine EPS.

A major factor in this large number of new models has been the re-entry of established powersports brands into the market over the last several years. For example, Honda after being somewhat dormant after their Big Red UTVs pursued the market with their Pioneer line. Meanwhile Yamaha had built out the work oriented Viking line, the Wolverine crossover line and more recently attacked the pure recreational/sport segment with their YXZ line.

The Ranger XP 1000 EPS in Nara Bronze.

The Ranger XP 1000 EPS in Nara Bronze features more horsepower than the XP 900.

An analysis of recent model introductions illuminates important trends in the market including the continued push for higher horsepower vehicles, targeting ‘value’ buyers with lower price point models, developing models with accessory packages for specialized applications, and shifts in the electric UTV segment. These trends and others are discussed in an article a I recently posted in our buying guide section.

 

 

 

 

Martex Global Launches War Horse Line of Electric UTVs

War Horse 4x4 All Electric.

The new War Horse 4×4 All Electric is part of a new electric product line from Martex Global Enterprises.

War Horse 4x4 Crew All Electric

There is also a crew version of the 4×4 All Electric.

Martex Global Enterprise, LLC of Fort Worth, TX, is introducing an all-electric and hybrid line under the War Horse™ brand. The company, under the direction of Ben King, President and CEO,has for many years manufactured and sold the HuntVe™ line of all-electric 4 X 4 hunting vehicles.  The War Horse is similar to the HuntVe, as a four-wheel drive vehicle, but as King explains, “Unlike the HuntVe 4×4 line which is marketed to, and targets only, the hunting industry, the War Horse 4×4 has a broader appeal and speaks to commercial/ industrial/ government applications as well as the general trail riding and outdoor loving consumer.” There are four models in the line, two all-electric, one of which is a crew-type vehicle, seating four, and two are hybrid vehicles, a two-seater and a four-seater crew model.

 

War Horse 4x4 Hybrid Maxx

The War Horse 4×4 Hybrid Maxx features a 64 volt electric power train and 460cc gas engine for range extension.

War Horse 4x4 Hybrid Crew Maxx

There is a hybrid crew version as well with theWar Horse 4×4 Hybrid Crew Maxx.

The hybrid models, as well as the all-electrics, feature dual, 38 hp, direct drive motors. As King explains, “We considered moving to a single motor with drive shaft like most of the electric 4×4 competitors, but despite the cost savings, found that a single motor electric 4×4 will not perform to our expectations, and it makes so much more noise.” The expected range extension comes from a 480 cc gas generator, which can extend the range by approximately 30 miles. The War Horse specs call for a 20 mile off-road range in electric mode which looks very conservative for the vehicle when not in an off-road environment. Via the convenient on-board charger, the generator will keep the batteries charged for the extra mileage and can be used to recharge the batteries when not driving. In fact, the recharge time from a flat state of charge is only two hours, according to King.

The all electric models feature:

  • 72-volt high performance electric system
  • 38 hp dual direct drive motors
  • On-board charger
  • 4-wheel independent suspension
  • Switch on the fly 2WD/4WD
  • 4-wheel hydraulic disc brakes
  • Protective side doors
  • Head, tail and brake lights
  • 11″ of ground clearance

The hybrid models feature:

  • 64-volt high performance electric system
  • 38 hp dual direct drive motors
  • 460cc gas engine
  • 4-wheel independent suspension
  • Switch on the fly 2WD/4WD
  • 4-wheel hydraulic disc brakes
  • Protective side doors
  • Head, tail and brake lights
  • 11″ of ground clearance

The MSRPs for the models are as follows:

  • War Horse 4×4 All Electric $14,799
    War Horse 4×4 Crew All Electric $15,799
    War Horse 4×4 Hybrid Maxx $16,499
    War Horse 4×4 Hybrid Maxx Crew $17,299

To learn more about the vehicle’s development see our article in our Buying Guide section.