Polaris Displays New Technology for Military Vehicles

Polaris Non-Pneumatic Tire

Polaris Non-Pneumatic Tire

Advanced Armor

Advanced armor from Polaris and M9 Defense

Polaris Industries displayed new survivability technology for military vehicles at the AUSA (Association of the US Army) 2012 Annual Meeting & Exposition last week.  On display was their new advanced armor technology and non-pneumatic tires.  The technologies are an extension of the companies strategic push into the military segment that they have executed in recent years.

The advanced armor was developed in partnership with M9 Defense and is

…lowest pounds per square foot of any armor available in today’s market. The steel-hybrid composite armor, in conjunction with a high-speed production process, allows the Polaris/M9 team to form this cutting-edge armor into capsules and other ballistic vehicle components at speeds comparable to that of sheet metal processing, greatly reducing the overall cost.

Shown on a lightweight, tactical vehicle, the product is potentially applicable to a wide-range of combat vehicles.

The non-pneumatic tires are based on technology from Resilient Technologies(tm), which had been previously acquired by Polaris.  “The NPT is composed of a central polymeric web surrounded by a rubber tread band which allows continuous operation, even if up to 30 percent of the web is damaged.”  Together the technologies are designed to increase the survivability and life of tactical vehicles.  Learn more:  Polaris Industries

Comment:  It will be interesting to see how fast the non-pneumatic technology is incorporated into non-military applications.  You could potentially see it being applied in specialized or extreme work or recreational riding applications.  I also think this is another example of how the quality of the company’s management team is driving their growth.  While vehicle related, the armor technology could potentially open a new product market for them, building on the relationships they are establishing in the military segment.  The tire technology is an example of how their foray into the military segment could produce differentiating technologies for their non-military vehicles.

DOD Plug-in Purchases May Hurt LSV Market

The Department of Defense has announced plans to purchase approximately 1,500 plug-in vehicles, mostly Chevy Volts over the next few years.  This could potentially hurt the LSV market.  The DOD has made it a priority to reduce petroleum consumption and one approach is to replace passenger vehicles used on bases and in other areas with alternative fuel vehicles.  Starting in 2007 and 2008, primarily with the US Army, LSVs were tested and then purchased in large quantities.  At the time, all the military branches were drawing up plans to purchase LSVs.  In total, these purchases would number several thousand per year.

However, government data on Federal fleets indicates that these large volume purchases did not materialize as expected.  While a number of factors could have impacted LSV sales including budgetary and performance issues, the advent of other electric vehicle alternatives such as the Volt may have played a role as well and might do so in the future.  Although considerably more expensive than LSVs, the Volt does offer highway capability, more versatility and overall greater vehicle performance.  Until the comparative cost versus performance trade-offs can be evaluated over the next few years the long-term impact on the LSV market won’t be known but in the short-term there will likely be fewer LSV sales in this market sub-segment.  Learn more:  Insideevs.com

Clark Material Handling Acquires EverGreen Electric Vehicles

Clark Material Handling Company recently acquired EverGreen Electric Vehicles which produces industrial and utility vehicles as well as golf cars.  Clark management sees a good alignment between their current dealer network and the markets that EverGreen serves.  They also believe they can provide engineering, financial and purchasing advantages to EverGreen.

EverGreen has an estimated 25-35 employees across offices in Grand Junction, Colorado and a 30,000 sq ft. production facility in Compton, California.  EverGreen brands include EVE low-speed vehicles, Legacy golf cars, Hoss commercial and industrial vehicles and Goat off-road vehicles.  There was no details on the acquisition costs.  Learn more:  ForkliftAction.com

Polaris Posts Record 3Q Results

Polaris Industries continues to charge ahead with another quarter of record results.  For the 3Q 2012 the company reported net income increased 39% to $94.3 million and sales grew 21% to $879.9 million.  North American retail unit sales climbed more than 10% on strong contributions from side-by-sides and motorcycles.  Management reports market share gains in their Ranger and RZR side-by-sides as their Off-road division grew sales 18% in the quarter and 22% for the first 9 months of the year compared to 2011.  Full year sales are expected to be up 19% to 20% from 2011.  Learn more:  Dailyfinance.com

Bad Boy Buggies Adds 3 New Models

New Bad Boy Buggie Instinct

New Bad Boy Buggie Instinct

Bad Boy Buggies recently announced three new all electric UTVs:  the Recoil, Recoil iS and Instinct.  Key features for the Recoil and Recoil iS include:

  •  Full-time 4WD
  • 72-volt AC electric drivetrain
  • Range up to 40 miles
  • Rack and pinion steering
  • Four-wheel hydraulic disc brakes 
  • New styling
  • Safety features:  OPS, 3-point seat belts & side safety nets
  • Optional, factory-installed rear seat that converts into a cargo deck
  • MSRP:    Recoil $11,999 and the Recoil iS $13,499 

The Recoil has an independent front suspension and 5.9 cubic foot cargo bed while the Recoil iS features four-wheel independent suspension and a 10.2 cubic foot cargo bed and nine 8-volt batteries for greater range.

For those with less demanding transportation needs the Instinct features 2WD and a range up to 50 miles.  Other features include:

  • 72-volt AC electric drivetrain
  • Rack and pinion steering
  • Four-wheel hydraulic disc brakes
  • Safety features:  3-point seat belts & side safety nets
  • MSRP:  $9,599

Learn more:  Powersportsbusiness.com 


Kubota Recalls RTV500 Utility Vehicles

In cooperation with the CPSC Kubota has announced the recall of approximately 970 RTV500 utility vehicles due to a carbon monoxide issue.  The RTV500 with a cab enclosure can experience an accumulation of carbon monoxide while idling and not moving which can lead to carbon monoxide poisoning.   The vehicles were sold from September 2008 to April 2012.  The company has received two reports of headaches related to carbon monoxide.

Consumers should contact their Kubota dealer to schedule a free repair of the recalled vehicle, including the installation of a high-velocity exhaust tail pipe, the installation of special seals inside the cab and a check of the ventilating system.  Kubota can be contacted toll-free at (800) 752-0290 or visit www.kubota.com and click on Safety/Safety Notices. Kubota is contacting its customers directly.  Learn more:  CPSC.gov

Tomberlin Launches Mobile Website

Tomberlin Automotive Group recently launched a mobile version of the Tomberlin website for use with smart phones and tablets. The site is accessible at www.mobiletomberlin.net.

“Themobile site is a streamlined version of the regular Tomberlin site. Product descriptions, a dealer locator, news and downloads are available. Links to Tomberlin’s Youtube and Facebook page are listed, allowing for more ways to connect with Tomberlin with navigation buttons made for fingers instead of a mouse or keyboard. Images are optimized to load quickly with a clean crisp look specifically for small screens. Text and navigation buttons were made for use with fingers, not a mouse and keyboard.”

Moto Electric Vehicles On GSA

Moto Electric Vehicles has announced that 24 of their low speed vehicle models are now available through the General Services Administration (GSA).  The GSA provides purchasing services for a variety of products and services at set prices for various government agencies and institutions.   Moto Electric Vehicles offers a range of utility vehicles, emergency vehicle and shuttle vehicles that are LSVs. Learn more:   Motoelectricvehicles.com

Polaris Introduces 2013 GEM Lineup

2013 GEMeL XD with dual tool box option

Polaris announced their 2013 line of GEM vehicles which include a variety of improvements.  The 2013 lineup features the GEM e2, e4, e6, eS, eL, and eL XD models with starting MSRPs of $7,829 to $13,459.  The company borrowed technology from their powersports products for some of the improvements.  Key changes include:

  • High-low beam headlamps
  • Day-night mirror to reduce reflective glare.
  • Improved front brakes, suspension, steering and foot pedals
  • Factory-installed MAX BOX with cargo doors and a dual tool chest option for select utility vehicles
  • Updated color options
  • Charging cordsets for international markets

New hard doors with better sealing and locks are expected to be available in 2013. Learn more:  Government-fleet.com