UTV Reviews From The UK

UK-based Pitchcare magazine, which focuses on the turf care industry, recently put 11 utility vehicles from 9 manufacturers to the test.  The testing ground was a sports facility with rugby, field hockey, polo and cricket fields, so meeting user needs was definitely in the context of the turf care environment.  The article discusses a number of aspects relating to cargo beds including ability to handle loads on pallets, powered dumping ability and the shift to moulded plastic beds.  Other issues include driver comfort and usability, noise, the pros and cons of electric UTVs and tire choices.

The reviewers rated the Kubota RTV 900 the highest followed by the Polaris Ranger Diesel and the Toro Workman MDX to round out the top three.  The UTVs were scored on the following parameters:  First impressions, Layout/Comfort, Ride, Noise, Visibility/Access, Power/Efficiency, Service access, Equipment levels, Safety features, Build quality, and Load box/Towing.  Learn more:  Pitchcare.com


Kandi COCOC LSV Receives Chinese Approval

Kandi Technologies COCO LSV recently qualified to be eligible for certain Chinese government energy programs.  The vehicles can now be marketed to Chinese consumers and government agencies and are available for various local and regional subsidies.  Management also formalized a partnership with China-based battery maker Tianneng Power International, Ltd. and Jinhua Bada Group, a subsidiary of State Grid Power Corp. to create China’s first Electric Vehicle battery replacement services company.  Kandi will make batteries available on a rental basis for their vehicles and the partnership will create a network of charging and battery replacement locations.  Learn more:  RTTNews.com

Cub Cadet Recalls Utility Vehicles

Cub Cadet voluntarily recalled approximately 200 Cub Cadet Volunteer utility vehicles because the front lower ball joint can detach and cause a loss of steering control. No injuries relating to the problem have been reported.  The vehicles were sold between April and September 2010.  Customers should stop using the vehicles and schedule a free repair.  Cub Cadet can be contacted toll-free at (888) 848-6038  or at  www.cubcadet.com .  Learn more:  CPSC.gov

Cub Cadet Volunteer VTX Crossover UTV

Cub Cadet sent some additional pictures of their new crossover UTV, the Volunteer VTX, which they unveiled at the recent SEMA show.  The accompanying press release follows.

Cub Cadet Volunteer VTX
Cub Cadet Volunteer VTX Crossover UTV



Cub Cadet Announces Vision for Uniquely Transformable Utility Vehicle

Las Vegas, Nev. (Nov. 2, 2010) – Knowing that consumers demand a utility vehicle that excels at applications related to both work and recreation, Cub Cadet is excited to unveil its newest concept vehicle, the Volunteer VTX, during the premiere performance industry event, SEMA (Specialty Equipment Market Association). From its new engine and drive train to numerous innovative features and fresh purposeful styling, the Volunteer VTX gives users premium power and seemingly unlimited versatility. And, with its new transformable cross-over design, it’s ideal for institutional and municipal work, event production and VIP transport, large property maintenance and recreational use, medical and security applications and more. Maximizing the possibilities of the UTV, the Volunteer VTX concept ushers in the industry’s first transformable Utility Vehicle.

“Whether it’s tackling a variety of professional work-related needs, taking on extreme, challenging terrain or transporting VIPs, the new Volunteer VTX concept utility vehicle represents the epitome of both form and function, bringing high style to high performance and high capability applications,” said Jeff Salamon, director of marketing.  “The essence of the new VTX concept utility vehicle is a combination of powerful utility with incredible transformability – allowing users unprecedented UTV functionality.  Pushing the boundaries of the UTV as we know it, the cross-over design of the VTX opens the market to a new class of transformable Utility Vehicles.”

To establish a future vision of UTVs and create the Volunteer VTX concept, Cub Cadet partnered with power sports industry leader, Cycra. The Volunteer VTX creates a new class of transformable Utility Vehicles that set higher expectations of what a UTV can provide.  The concept easily transforms – even in remote locations – for multiple high-demand, high-profile and challenging applications.

To manage difficult municipal tasks, tackle challenging event-related jobs, move cargo and/or people, the VTX concept offers many of the rugged features found across the proven Volunteer platform with several enhancements in form and function. For those jobs that require additional power, the VTX cross-over includes 12-volt power outlets, hook-ups for air-powered tools and multi-functional high-intensity lighting.

For those looking to explore more challenging terrain, the VTX also offers a wide range of upgrades including a new engine and drive-train. Under the hood is a powerful, parallel-twin Webber engine with twice the horsepower found on the current Volunteer EFI allowing it to reach speeds of 45 mph plus. In keeping with the versatility theme, maximum speed can be easily controlled as necessary by using special speed keys.

Directly in line with its progressive design and styling are a full range of innovative features guaranteed to make a day’s tasks and journey as enjoyable as the destination. Features include unique, foldable jump seats that provide the flexibility to carry up to five riders or create more space behind the front seats for cargo or as a work area. The bed sides fold down to transform the VTX into a mobile work station complete with tool hookups. The fully digitized dashboard displays a digital instrumentation pod above the steering wheel, including in-dash GPS and radio capabilities. For those adventures that demand even more than four-wheel drive, the VTX comes with a front, rear and portable winch.

The all-new VTX concept vehicle offers users:

  • Versatility to do More: Whether it’s moving people, valuable equipment or cargo, the VTX quickly and easily converts from the ultimate transporter to the ultimate mobile work station. Features include rear jump-seats that can accommodate more people or be folded down and out of the way to reveal a sizable flat surface with an innovative versatile track system.  This highly adaptable area can be used simply as additional storage space or, thanks to the track system, used for a variety of purposes ranging from a slide-out work support area to a secure storage case system and even to carrying a stretcher. The possibilities are nearly unlimited. In addition to the jump seat area, the rear bed sides of the VTX fold flat to create a large remote work shop. On-board 110V electric outlets and retractable air hose allow the use of power tools and more.
  • A Comfortable Ride: Thanks to a custom contoured bench seat and adjustable suspension, the VTX holds riders in place and gives users a smooth, stable, and comfortable ride on both civilized and uncivilized terrain.
  • More Power: Relying on an 850cc Webber engine and electronic on-dash shifting, users will have more power at their fingertips than any other Volunteer utility vehicle with the ability to comfortably reach speeds of 45+ mph.
  • Speed Key Technology: For specific applications users can choose between two separate speed keys that set top speeds. For work around schools, municipalities, job-sites and residential communities, the lower speed key restricts speed to 25 mph. The high speed option key allows for 45+ mph — perfect for longer excursions.
  • High-Profile Styling: The design of the new VTX concept combines assertive styling with purposeful design for an unequaled combination of high-profile appearance, unmatched versatility and rugged durability.  The VTX is a utility vehicle that brings high style to high performance applications.
  • Fully-Digital Interface: A dynamic digital display conveniently located on the steering column allows users to easily access vital information.  An in-dash monitor with GPS and rear-facing camera view gives riders a true global view. The accessibility to information provided by the VTX is unlike any other UTV on the market.

Three Volunteer utility vehicles will be featured at the 2010 SEMA Show: the new 850cc Volunteer VTX concept vehicle, a 4×4 V2 concept vehicle with a Harley-Davidson Revolution engine and a stock Volunteer 4×4 EFI.  All three UTVs will be available for attendees and the press to preview at Volunteer Booth 38040 and in the feature vehicle display area. For more information about the Volunteer utility vehicles manufactured by Cub Cadet visit www.CubCadetUV.com.

About Cub Cadet

A leader in the outdoor power equipment industry, Cub Cadet has been engineering innovative, premium quality products for more than 50 years.  Through a dedicated and extensive network of dealers and retailers, Cub Cadet delivers a full line of high performance equipment and services that cover all aspects of grounds care for professional and residential customers – including innovative all wheel steer, zero turn riders; application equipment; utility vehicles; lawn & garden tractors, lithium ion- and gasoline-powered handheld & chore products, snow throwers and more.  Based in the U.S., the Cub Cadet brand is globally-recognized for its legacy in engineering excellence and its progressive dedication to exceeding owner expectations with better products, a better experience and better results.  For more information on all Cub Cadet products, visit www.CubCadet.com.


Road Use Regulations Roundup – November, 2010

Some themes in this latest regulation roundup:

  • More municipalities pass ordinances allowing the use of LSVs on public low speed roads.
  • Some municipalities rejecting the use of golf cars and mini-trucks on public roads because of safety concerns while another moves ahead on allowing the vehicles.
  • Expanded access on-road and off-road for UTVs

Fresno, CA – A bill passed by the Senate and was later signed by the governor that would allow Fresno to develop a neighborhood electric vehicle plan. A similar bill was signed that would authorize the County of Amador and the cities of Jackson, Sutter Creek, and Amador City, jointly or individually, to establish a similar neighborhood electric vehicle transportation plan.

Sicamous, British Columbia – City council voted not to allow LSVs on roads with speed limits greater than 40km/hr stating liability issues and the fact that the province has not endorsed LSVs yet.

Manitoba, CA – The provincial transportation department will be testing an LSV for performance in cold weather conditions as a precursor to potentially allowing LSVs on low speed provincial streets.

Platteville, IA – City council approved the use of LSVs on city streets.

Hudson, WI – City passes ordinance to allow NEVs on certain streets.

Columbia, IL – City council voted to allow the use of LSVs on local roads despite the police chief’s concern over safety.

New Westminster, Canada – The city is amending their laws to allow LSVs on low speed streets.

Madison, GA – City council decided not to allow golf cars on city streets.  the council previously passed an ordinance allowing LSVs on the streets.

Southern Shores, TX – Town council decided against allowing golf cars to be driven on city streets with the police chief citing accident statistics regarding golf cars and the lack of safety features.  The town does allow LSVs.

Faribault, MN – City council is looking to ease restrictions on driving golf cars and mini-trucks on city streets.

Chadron, SD – City council voted to allow UTVs on city streets under the same rules that currently apply to ATVs.

Duluth, MN – City council voted to not allow mini-trucks on public roads.

Iowa – The Iowa Department of Natural Resources is opening three of their eight off-highway vehicle parks to utility vehicles.

Gator Review

John Deere 825i at play

John Deere Gator 825i 4x4 at play

Earlier this year John Deere launched their crossover utility vehicle the XUV 825i.  The vehicle was developed to capture the part of the UTV market that is using vehicles for both work and recreation.  One of the fastest growing segments in the UTV market, in recent years John Deere has lost some market share in this area to the powersports manufacturers.  Side by Side News put the 825i to the test in a recreational setting and came away impressed with the vehicle’s performance.  Learn more:  sxsnews.com

Gators spotted on UK beach – On another Gator related note, I came across a story about the town of North East Lincolnshire in the UK using TH 6×4 Gators to patrol their local beaches.  The diesel powered vehicles are “…equipped with a cab for winter protection, plus a PA system, internal two-way radio, siren, warning beacons, a detachable winch and a land anchor.”  Besides general patrol duties, the vehicles are used to warn and help visitors stranded by changing tides and clearing paths and leveling sandbanks.  Learn more:  Pitchcare.com

California Energy Commission Awards EV Grants

The California Energy Commission recently announced grants totaling $9.6 million for projects involving electric vehicle manufacturing, charging stations and biofuels.  Projects most relevant to the STOV market include:

  • $505,381 to San Francisco-based Mission Motor Company to help it bring its prototype electric vehicle battery packs and motor control modules to commercial production.  The components will work in electric motorcycles, scooters, cars, buses and outdoor power equipment.  The assembly facility in downtown San Francisco are expected to be capable of producing 30,000 battery packs and motor control systems each year by 2015,
  • $2,962,743 to Leyden Energy, Inc., for a production line capable assembling its lithium battery packs for its partner in the project, electric vehicle manufacturer Green Vehicles of Salinas.

The companies receiving the grants are providing matching funding for their respective projects.  Learn more:  Favstocks.com

Prototype Hydrogen Powered Utility Vehicles Developed

A development team led by the Atlanta-based Center for Transportation and the Environment (CTE) has developed two hydrogen powered utility vehicles for the Department of Defense’s Defense Logistics Agency.  Other members of the team include the Center for Electromechanics (CEM) at The University of Texas at Austin, vehicle manufacturer Columbia ParCar, the Gas Technology Institute, and fuel cell producer Hydrogenics.  The electric utility vehicle uses a hybrid configuration with a 8.5kw fuel cell, ultracapacitors and a hydrogen supply.  The vehicle performance will be evaluated for one year at a military facility.  Initial testing of the vehicles indicates a range of 300 miles, far exceeding the typical 30-50 mile range of electric utility vehicles currently on the market.  Learn more:  Utexas.edu

Club Car Recall

Club Car is voluntarily recalling approximately 5,000 Model 2010 DS golf cars and hospitality, utility and transport vehicles because the brake pedal can crack and separate, resulting in a loss of braking ability.  Two incidents have been reported but no injuries.  The vehicles were sold between April and July 2010.  Club Car is contacting customers directly and will inspect and replace brake pedals for free.  For more information, contact Club Car at (800) 227-0739, ext. 3580 between 8 a.m and 5 p.m. ET or go to the firm’s website at www.clubcar.com (pdf).  Learn more:  CPSC.gov




Company News Briefs

Cub Cadet Sponsors Design Contest – Outdoor Power equipment maker Cub Cadet is sponsoring the Cub Cadet Future Vision Design Contest.  The contest is open to anyone with a vision for futuristic lawn mowers, tractors or utility vehicles.  Learn more:  Designcrave.com

Yamaha’s Kevin Norcross Gets Expanded Duties – Yamaha Golf-Car Company has put Kevin Norcross in charge of their National Direct Sales team.  The new duties will be in addition to his current work as Marketing Department Manager.  Learn more:  Worldgolf.com

Ladybug Resource Acquires Mag International – Ladybug Resource, a company that acquires and licenses technologies, patents, patents-pending and trade secrets in the energy, health and intellectual property sectors, has acquired controlling interest in Mag International, Inc., a manufacturer and distributor of gasoline and electric mini-utility vehicles.  Learn more:  Tradingmarkets.com

ZAP and Remy Electric Motors Partner – Remy Electric Motors will be the new electric motor suppler for ZAP.  The companies will also work together on developing a drivetrain for other ZAP automotive platforms and for vehicles related to ZAP’s joint venture in China.  Learn more:  Indianapressreeleases.com