Arctic Cat CEO Christopher Twomey announced he will step down at the end of the year and will be succeeded by Claude Jordan who currently overseas the ATV business segment. Arctic Cat also announced better than expected earnings for their second quarter that ended September 30. The ATV business, which includes UTVs grew by 9%, from $51.7 million to $56.6 million compared to the same quarter last year. In their earnings conference call management stated that the growth was driven by sales of their Prowler HDX and growth in international markets. The HDX targets the work rather recreation portion of the UTV market. Management also reported maintaining market share in the segment. In comparing half year totals, the ATV business grew from $83.9 to $84.5 million or 1%, indicating that majority of the sales and growth occurred in the second quarter. Combined with the recent earnings news from Polaris, indications are that the UTV market is gaining some momentum. Learn more: StarTribune.com
Toro was recently selected by ATK, an aerospace and defense company, to help them build two fuel cell powered utility vehicles that feature advanced hydrogen storage. The vehicles are part of an effort by the Naval Surface Warfare Center Crane Division and the Defense Logistics Agency (DLA) to coordinate hydrogen storage development for the U.S. Department of Energy. Previously Toro participated in a three-year demonstration project with the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) that used three prototype hydrogen-powered Workman utility vehicles at parks and a government center for work and haulage duties and personnel transport. The vehicles will be delivered later this fall and operational and performance data will be collected for one year. Learn more: Marketwatch.com
Highlighting some of the many applications for small, task-oriented vehicles
Arboretum Mini-truck – The Secrest Arboretum at Ohio State University now uses a Mag International Electric MAG XC mini-truck instead of a full-sized pickup for general work and maintenance. While helping to meet the university’s sustainability goals, the vehicles can also access areas a pick-up cannot and produces much less noise, which is a plus for the facilities nature walks, gardening classes and other events. The only downsides are a less than roomy cab and increased battery drain when used on hilly terrain. Learn more: Media-newswire.com
Solar Electric Shuttle – Pelican Bay Foundation recently unveiled their solar electric tram system using vehicles from Eco Trans Alliance and Cruise Cars. The system uses 40 vehicles to shuttle visitors around the 43 acres of park. Learn more: PRWeb.com
Last week the National Guard Bureau awarded Polaris a contract to supply Ultra-Light Utility Vehicles to the Army National Guard. The five-year contract is topped at $67 million and includes vehicles as well as accessories and training. The Ranger Crew 800 and Polaris Ranger 6×6 800 produced in their Spirit Lake, Iowa facility will be the vehicles of choice.
I contacted the National Guard Bureau to find out some more contract specifics. They do not have an estimate on the number of vehicles that will be purchased but noted that it would depend on government funding and mission requirements. They added that the contract includes pricing for different configurations of the vehicles such as the inclusion of a hard or soft top, track kits, plows, and other components. Long-term servicing is not part of the agreement. The contract demonstrates continued success by Polaris as they target the military market as a key growth opportunity for the company. Learn more: Financialpost.com
Chad Boozer and Jerod Summer have formed LSV Insurance, LLC specifically to offer insurance for the LSV and golf car markets. The new company offers personal auto protection insurance for the LSV consumer and general liability and inventory coverage for dealers. Free rate quotes are available on their website, www.lsvinsurancellc.com. The company currently offers policies in SC, NC and GA with plans to expand into FL and MI. Learn more: Golfcarnews.com
Barefoot Motors a manufacturer of electric utility vehicles based in Ashland, OR announced that they will be closing their doors by the end of the year. According to a statement from CEO Mary Gresens,
Due to a critical interruption in our supply chain which has resulted in a review of our business model, Barefoot Motors LLC will no longer produce and offer the present products. The facility in Ashland is being ramped down and will be closed by the end of the year.
This is the second company this year in the STOV market that has closed their doors. Earlier in the summer BG Automotive Group which had plans to build an LSV and then full-size electric vehicles also closed. Learn more: Green.autoblog.com
Polaris Industries reported strong third quarter results as the company continues to perform well in a struggling economic environment. Compared to last year’s numbers total sales increased 25% for the first nine months and 33% for the last three months, indicating increasing momentum as the year has progressed. In the off-road segment sales increased 33% compared to the first nine months in 2009 and 49% for the last three months. Management reported a generally positive reaction from dealers to their new product introductions and that they gained market share during the quarter. Unit sales in this segment which includes ATVs and side-by-sides increased 20% in the 3rd quarter compared to last year with side-by-side growing by over 20% and ATVs experiencing a single digit increase. Learn more: Businesswire.com
The California Energy Commission recently approved over $12.5 million for nine projects related to alternative vehicle technology. Projects related to the STOV market included:
- Nearly $1 million to Santa Cruz-based Zero Motorcycles to develop a motor and integrated controller specifically for use in electric vehicles such as motorcycles, neighborhood electric vehicles, and all-terrain vehicles with a target production price of less than $450 each.
- $1.1 million to Coulomb Technologies to develop their Charge Point Communication Processor, designed to be installed into existing electric chargers and into new chargers manufactured by other companies. The result will be a complete smart charger network capable of remotely controlling the charging and discharging of batteries and shifting charging loads away from peak hours.
Many of the grants are matched by the participating companies and in some cases local governments provide additional funding or loans as well.
Kubota Introduces Two UTVs in Australia – Kubota Tractor Australia recently introduced the diesel powered RTV1140 and the gas powered RTV500. The RV1140 features four-wheel drive and a 28.5 hp engine along with 4-wheel hydraulic disc brakes, hydrostatic power steering and hydraulic bed lift as standard. The smaller RTV500 features electronic fuel injection, a 200 kg payload and can easily be transported to work areas. Learn more: Fatcow.com.au
AVID Vehicles of the UK Launches Electric UTV – AVID Vehicles based in Cramlington, UK recently launched their e-Warrior electric utility vehicle. The vehicle features dual DC motors, a range of 40 miles, a top speed of 25 to 30mph and a 250kg payload. MSRP is US$15,600. The company plans to produce 500 vehicles in 2011 and 1,000 in 2012. Learn more: Greencarcongress Journallive.co.uk
LSV Maker Wheego Unveils Full-speed EV – Wheego Electric Cars, manufacturer of the Wheego Whip LSV, will unveil the two-seat subcompact Wheego LiFe at the Los Angeles International Auto Show in November. The car has a 100 mile range, 20 kWh Li-ion battery pack and a MSRP of $32,995. Learn more: Greencarcongress.com
Sandia National Laboratories has won a 2010 GreenGov Presidential award for modifying a GEM LSV to operate on solar power. The awards honor federal agencies and employees who work to reduce greenhouse gas pollution, meet a number of energy, water and waste reduction targets and leverage federal purchasing power to promote environmentally responsible products and techniques.
PV-powered GEM carts would reduce the number of needed charging stations, resulting in fewer repairs and decreased maintenance costs. Converting to solar powered carts also translates to significant environmental savings. Because no power is purchased for the PV-powered cart, no coal is burned, and no carbon dioxide is released into the atmosphere to power them.
According to management Sandia will be expanding the program by modifying five Club Car LSVs. Learn more: Photonicsonline.com