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

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

Hisun Motors Introduces Electric UTV With 45 Mile Range

The new Sector E1 electric UTV from Hisun Motors.

The new Sector E1 electric UTV from Hisun Motors.

HISUN Motors takes a big step forward with the announcement of the all-new Sector E1 electric Utility Vehicle, adding yet another quality vehicle to their line-up. Building on the success of the Sector UTV line’s performance and modern advancements in electric technology, HISUN is excited to enter the growing electric UTV market. The Sector E1 4×4 is a mid-size UTV which provides quiet performance thanks to its powerful 48 volt 36hp AC drivetrain. The Sector E1 starts at an MSRP as low as $10,199.

HISUN’s Sector E1 features 4-wheel independent nitrogen suspension, 4-wheel drive, 4-wheel hydraulic disc brakes, and an industry best run time. The Sector E1 is the first electric UTV on the market with the Discover EV Traction Dry Cell Battery technology that is maintenance free and designed for longer run times and a longer life. The Discover EV Traction Dry Cell Battery is also recyclable, built from recycled parts, and will deliver an estimated 45 miles on a single charge. HISUN has leveraged superior North American technology for integral components such as the Kinetek Motor, Delta Q IC1200 Chargers, and 450 Amp Sevcon Gen IV controllers. Dealer and customer feedback has helped refine the end product of the vehicle resulting in the Ultimate Electric Utility Vehicle.

The introduction of the Sector E1 will strongly position HISUN into a segment of the UTV market which has grown year over year in comparison to the gas UTV market. “We felt like with the improvements in battery technology coupled with the North American sourced supply chain of critical drivetrain components will lead to a much more reliable product and runtime that is “first in its class” compared with price,” said Shane Wilson, VP of Engineering and Operations. Learn more:  Hisunmotors.com

Comment:  Whereas in the past electric utility vehicles have mainly been targeted at the hunting market, newer models like the Sector E1 are looking for a broader appeal for work or recreation applications. In part the trend is because the hunting segment has turned out to be a niche market, but advances in battery and powertrain technology is also increasing the range and potential end use applications for electric UTVs.

Google Self-driving LSVs Testing Wireless Charging

A wireless recharging system from Momentum Dynamics.

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.

Arctic Cat To Invest $27 Million In Minnesota Facilities

Arctic Cat recently announced that they plan to invest $27 million in their Thief River Falls and St. Cloud, Minnesota manufacturing facilities. The bulk of the investment will be in Thief River Falls where a new state-of-the-art paint line will be installed and other improvements made. In St. Cloud Arctic Cat’s engine manufacturing and assembly capabilities will be expanded. The paint line will be used for the company’s recreational off-road vehicles. The investment is expected to result in an additional 50 jobs. Learn more: Arcticcat.com

Comment:  This is another sign of the aggressiveness of the new CEO Christopher Metz who came in at the end of last year. Previously, after some sales and inventory problems with their ATVs, he immediately took a write down and quickly moved to reduce inventory rather than slowly trying to reduce the inventory over the next year or more. With companies like Honda and Yamaha renewing their UTV efforts, strong competition from Chinese manufacturers like Kymco and CFMoto and continuing efforts by Polaris and Can Am, Arctic Cat needs to continue to invest in their UTV product line in order to just maintain their market position, let alone improve it.

Eicher-Polaris Joint Venture To Launch Flexituff Utility Vehicle For The Indian Market

Eicher-Polaris-Flexituff-side-spied-900x549

The new Flexituff utility vehicle from an Eicher and Polaris collaboration was spied on the road recently while undergoing tests. Photo Credit:  www.indianautoblog.com

A collaboration between Eicher and Polaris is set to release their first vehicle, something akin to a mini-truck, later this year for the Indian market. The Flexituff UV will be available in two configurations, a multi-passenger van (MPV) and a twin-cab pickup for hauling cargo. The vehicle will feature a Greaves Cotton 600cc diesel engine with claimed mileage of 25km/L. Based on pictures of the vehicle in testing, the vehicle will be slightly larger than competitive offerings, the Mahindra Maxximo and Tata Magic. Initial production is expected to be 10-12,000 vehicles per year with expectations that it will reach 100,000 units in the future. Learn more:  Motoroids.com

Update:  Some more information on the vehicle. It uses composite body panels to save weight and “…features a bare dashboard with a four-spoke steering wheel, a simple instrument cluster and a centre console-mounted gear level.” The double cab pickup with cargo area can fit five occupants. The price of the vehicle is expected to be about 1 lakh or about $1,500-1,600 US. The vehicle development project is reported to have cost $40 million US. Learn more:  Inidancarsbikes.in

Comment:  This type of vehicle is not as prevalent in the US but in India and parts of Asia the vehicles are common. Smaller sized delivery vehicles are an important part of a hub and spoke delivery system where they are used to deliver goods the last kilometer or so through small and crowded streets. Price points and cost of operation are important purchasing factors for owner/operators of these local shipping businesses.

CFMoto Hitting The Value Price Point

The UForce 800 from CFMoto.

The UForce 800 from CFMoto.

A recent article in PowerSports Business highlighted the popularity of CFMoto’s UForce 800 utility vehicle. Targeting the work segment, like ranches and farms, the UForce 800 offers features like a 62.5 hp, V-twin-powered, 8-valve, 4-stroke liquid cooled engine with EFI, 3,500 lb winch, LED headlights, hydraulic disc brakes, AGM battery, 14″ ally wheels and 11 inches of ground clearance. A key to its popularity is the relatively low price point with an MSRP of $9,999 and $10,799 for the model with electronic power steering. CFMoto offers a lineup of work and recreational UTVs with prices ranging from $8,449 to $11,299. The company has been working with Minnesota-based company KFI to provide popular aftermarket accessories for their vehicles but also plans on manufacturing their own in the near future. Learn more:  Powersportsbusiness.com

Comment:  The more well known brands in the UTV market have been able to consistently increase prices for their vehicles for a number of years, reflecting the strong demand for UTVs as well as ongoing improvements in the vehicle offerings. While the name brand vehicles continue to offer value even at their higher price points, they are providing space in the market for even more value oriented competitors in the $8,500 – $11,000 price range.  CFMoto has found some success in this space as well as companies such as Kymco. Typically this success has been with work utility vehicles and some recreational use vehicles. However, the latter are not for the more hard-core sport or high performance recreational use. It’s all about buying a specific set of functionality combined with sufficient quality to get a job done for a reasonable price.

Club Car Offering Solar Panels

New solar panel offering from Club Car.

New solar panel offering from Club Car.

Club Car is now offering rooftop solar panels for their 48-volt Precedent golf cars, Carryall utility vehicles and Villager LSVs. Customers will now be able to capture store and use solar power with the 100-watt Solar Drive Charging Panel Assembly. Club Car reports that “As a yearly average, the system generates 29 percent of the total energy required to drive eight miles per day in West Palm Beach, Fla.” Customer results may vary depending on how they use their vehicle and where they live. The panels measure 40 inches by 26 inches by 0.2 inches thick and weigh less than 6 pounds. The panels are impact resistant,  have Teflon-like coating to protect the cells and come complete with a controller, connector to the vehicle’s power supply, all necessary hardware and installation instructions. They can be user- or dealer-installed in about 20 minutes. Learn more:  Golfcourseindustry.com

Comment:  Club Car now joins GEM and Evergreen Electric Vehicles in offering a solar option for their vehicles. Evergreen and GEM also offers a SolarDrive product. GEM offers  220 watt and 410 watt systems for $2,500 and $4,000 respectively. Pricing was not provided for the Club Car product.

Club Car Awarded National Contract for Utility, Transportation & Golf Vehicles

Carryall 2 Electric from Club Car

Carryall 2 Electric from Club Car is one of the vehicles covered by the newly awarded contract.

Club Car has won a national contract from U.S. Communities for utility, transportation and golf vehicles and related accessories, equipment, parts and services. U.S. Communities is the leading national government purchasing cooperative, providing government procurement resources and solutions to local and state government agencies, school districts (K-12), higher education institutes, and nonprofits looking for the best overall supplier government pricing. More than 55,000 registered agencies, education institutions and nonprofits utilize U.S. Communities contracts to procure

The lead agency on the bid solicitation for the contract was the City of Kansas City, MO. This is the first time the organization has awarded a contract in this category and it is for three years with two one year renewal options. Vehicles covered in the contract include:

  • Carryall® utility vehicles. (4x2s and automatic 4x4s and two- and four-passenger models.)
  • Carryall® LSVs. Street-legal on roads with speed limits of 35 mph or less in most states.
  • Transporter™ transport vehicles. (Four- to eight-passenger.)
  • Villager™ transport vehicles. (Four- to eight-passenger.)
  • Precedent® golf cars.
  • Café Express hospitality vehicles.
  • Service parts factory direct.

Learn more:  Virtual-strategy.com

Comment:  This is a nice contract to win. It effectively shuts out the competition when the member agencies want to purchase these types of vehicles. They don’t have to put out request for proposals (RFP) and obtain quotes from multiple vendors. By avoiding the RFP process, purchasing through this contract makes the process faster for both the buyer and seller.

 

Exmark Adds Utility Vehicles to Product Lineup

The new 700S utility vehicle from Exmark.

The new 700S utility vehicle from Exmark.

Exmark, a manufacturer of commercial mowers and lawn care equipment, recently announced the addition of two gas-powered utility vehicles to their product line, the Exmark 500S and 700S. Both vehicles feature electronic fuel injection for their 4-stroke SOHC engines. Exmark is a Toro owned brand and the new utility vehicles appear to be the same new utility vehicles offered under the Toro brand. Additional vehicle features include:

  • Automatic CVT
  • Dynamic engine braking
  • Hydraulic disc brakes
  • 2WD/4WD selection
  • Tilting rear cargo box convertible to a flatbed
  • Cargo box capacity of 600 lb. for the 500S and 1,000 lb. for the 700S
  • Fully independent suspension with dual A-arms front and rear
  • 10 inches of ground clearance and 10 inches of front and rear suspension travel
  • Standard brush guard an adjustable CAM-style shocks
  • Integrated front and rear two-inch receivers

The vehicles will be available March 2015.

Learn more:  Agprofessional.com

Comment:  SVR believes Arctic Cat is producing these utility vehicles for both Toro and Exmark. It’s an example of the different methods companies are using to expand their distribution channels in the UTV market. Arctic Cat can reach the work UTV segment by manufacturing for Toro and Exmark while those companies can concentrate on their strengths, developing lawn care equipment, but still have a presence in the growing UTV market. In addition these vehicles offer more recreational crossover appeal then the traditional work vehicles Toro has and continues to offer. By selling under the Exmark brand as well, Toro further expands their UTV distribution.