Polaris and Bobcat UTV Recall

Polaris Pro XD 2000D utility vehicle
The Polaris Pro XD 2000D is part of a recall because of a rear brake line issue.

Polaris and Bobcat recalled approximately 1,700 utility vehicles in total because of a rear brake line issue. A puncture in the brake line could lead to rear brake failure and potentially crashes. The recall involves 2019 Polaris Pro XD, 2017 to 2018 Brutus and 2017 to 2018 Bobcat 3650 UTVs. Polaris has a product development agreement with Bobcat. Owners should immediately stop using the recalled vehicles and contact a local Polaris or Bobcat dealer to schedule a free inspection and repair. SVR maintains an ongoing list of small, task-oriented vehicle recalls. The following recall information is from the Consumer Product Safety Commission.

Polaris Pro XD Recall Information

Name of product: Model Year 2019 Polaris PRO XD Utility Vehicles (UTVs)

Hazard: The rear brake line can become puncutured causing the rear brakes to fail, posing a collision and crash hazard to the rider.

Remedy: Repair

Recall date: January 30, 2020

Units: About 760

Description: This recall involves Model Year 2019 Polaris PRO XD utility vehicles in two- and four-seat configurations of models 4000D, 2000D and 200D 4X2.  The utility vehicles are gray, black, and orange with “POLARIS” stamped on the front grille, “POLARIS COMMERCIAL” on the sides of the utility bed, and “PRO XD” on the front fenders.  Vehicle identification numbers (VIN) can be found on a label affixed to the vehicle frame in the left front wheel well.

Consumer Contact: Polaris at 800-765-2747 from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. CT Monday through Friday, or online at www.polaris.com and click on “Off Road Safety Recalls” for more information.  Consumers should also check their vehicle identification number (VIN) on the “Product Safety Recalls” page to see if their vehicle is included in any other recalls.

For more recall details visit cpsc.gov

Polaris Brutus Recall Information

Polaris Brutus HD PTO DLX utility vehicle
The Polaris Brutus HD PTO DLX is part of the recall.

Name of product: Model Year 2017-2018 Brutus Utility Vehicles (UTVs)

Hazard: The rear brake line can become punctured causing the brakes to fail, posing a collision and crash hazard.

Remedy: Repair

Recall date: January 30, 2020

Units: About 340 (In addition, 19 units were sold in Canada)

Consumer Contact: Polaris at 800-765-2747 from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. CT Monday through Friday or online at www.polaris.com and click on “Off-Road Recalls” for more information.  In addition, check your vehicle identification number (VIN) on the “Product Safety Recalls” page to see if your vehicle is included in any recalls.

Description: This recall involves Model Year 2017–2018 Polaris Brutus utility vehicles (UTVs) with the following model names: HD PTO DLX and HD PTO( 2017 only).  The two-seated vehicles are gray, black and blue.  The vehicles have “POLARIS” stamped on the front grille, “POLARIS BRUTUS” on the sides of the utility bed, and “DIESEL HD” on the front fenders.  Vehicle identification numbers (VINs) included in this recall can be found on a label affixed to the vehicle frame in the left front wheel well.  Non-sequential VINs ending in 7740364 to 8576615 are included in this recall.

For more recall details visit cpsc.gov

Bobcat 3650 Recall Information

The Bobcat 3650 UTV for model year 2018 and 2018 is being recalled.

Name of product: Model Year 2017-2018 Bobcat 3650 Utility Vehicles (UTVs)

Hazard: The rear brake line can become punctured causing the brakes to fail, posing a collision and crash hazard.

Remedy: Repair

Recall date: January 30, 2020

Units: About 522 (In addition, 53 were sold in Canada)

Consumer Contact: Bobcat at 800-743-4340 from 7:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. CT Monday through Friday or online at www.bobcat.com and click on the For Owners tab located at the top of the page.  Then scroll to CPSC Recalls for more information.  In addition, find a Dealer link at the top of the page or to check your VIN Number. 

Description: This recall involves model year 2017-2018 Bobcat 3650 utility vehicles.  The recalled utility vehicles are white and black with orange decals.  “Bobcat” is printed on the hood of the utility vehicle and “3650” is printed on the rear box.  The vehicle identification numbers (VINs) can be found on a label affixed to the vehicle frame under the seat and storage bin on the passenger side.  The following vehicles are included in this recall.

Model YearModel Partial Non-Sequential Vin Range
2017365017001 thru 17308
2018365018001 thru 18344

For more recall details visit cpsc.gov

Textron Specialized Vehicles Recalls 20,000 Vehicles

Gas-powered Cushman Shuttle models from Textron Specialized Vehicles
Gas-powered Cushman Shuttle models that seat 2, 4, 6 or 8 passengers are part of the recall.

Textron Specialized Vehicles recently recalled over 20,000 gas-powered E-Z-GO, Cushman and Tracker brand off-road vehicles. An improperly secured generator wire can potentially lead to a fire. Recalled models include the E-Z-GO Express S4-Gas, Express L6-Gas, Tracker LX4-Gas, Tracker LX6-Gas and gas powered Cushman Shuttle models 2, 4, 6 and 8 sold between November 2018 and October 2019. Vehicle owners should immediately stop using the vehicles and contact Textron Specialized Vehicles for a free repair. The following recall information is from the Consumer Product Safety Commission. SVR maintains an ongoing list of small, task-oriented vehicle recalls.

Textron Specialized Vehicle Recall Information

Name of product: Gas-powered E-Z-GO, Cushman and Tracker brand off-road vehicles

Hazard: The starter generator wire can be improperly secured, allowing it to come into contact with the vehicle’s exhaust, posing a fire hazard.

Remedy: Repair

Recall date: February 13, 2020

Units: About 20,573

Consumer Contact: Textron Specialized Vehicles toll-free at 888-525-6040 between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. ET Monday through Friday, email at jcook03@textron.com or online (for E-Z-Go) at https://ezgo.txtsv.com, click on Owners, then Recall Information, (for Cushman) at https://cushman.txtsv.com, click on Owners, then Recall Information, and (for Tracker) at www.trackeroffroad.com and click on Recalls at the bottom of the page.

Textron Specialized Vehicle Recall Details

Description: This recall involves gas-powered E-Z-GO, Cushman and Tracker brand off-road vehicles manufactured from November 2018 through June 2019 with certain non-sequential serial numbers ranging from 3377720 to 3440924.  The serial number is located on the kick panel below the driver side seat. 

Remedy: Consumers should immediately stop using the recalled off-road vehicles and contact Textron Specialized Vehicles for a free repair.  Textron Specialized Vehicles is contacting all known purchasers directly.

Incidents/Injuries: Textron Specialized Vehicles has received 13 reports of melted and/or burned wires and electrical components and loss of vehicle function in some cases, including one report of fire.  No injuries have been reported.

Sold At: E-Z-GO, Cushman and Tracker off road dealerships nationwide from November 2018 through October 2019 for between $6,300 and $13,400.

Manufacturer(s): Textron Specialized Vehicles, of Augusta, Ga

Manufactured In: United States

Recall number: 20-073

SVR’s Take

This is a large recall representing basically a year’s worth of vehicle sales for these models. Luckily nobody reported being injured. The STOV market in general continues to experience a significant amount of recalls relative to total market sales. SVR’s latest market study showed that recalls accounted for anywhere from 11% to 47% of vehicles sold in North America. Even excluding the very large Polaris recalls during those years, the percentages remained high for the rest of the market. Marc Cesare, Smallvehicleresource.com

Yamaha Drive2 Golf Car Recall

Yamaha Golf Car Drive2 model
The Yamaha Golf Car Drive2 being recalled because of a front hub issue.

Yamaha Golf Car issued a recall of approximately 1,350 Drive2 golf cars because of an issue with the front wheel hubs. The hubs can crack and cause the front wheels to detach. No injuries have been reported due to the issue. The recall covers AC, DC and EFI models. The following recall information is from the CPSC. SVR maintains an ongoing list of STOV industry recalls.

Drive2 Golf Car Recall Summary

Name of product: Yamaha Golf Cars

Hazard: The front wheel hubs on the golf cars can crack causing the front wheels to detach, posing a crash hazard that could result in injury or death to the user or bystander.

Remedy: Repair

Recall date: February 13, 2020

Units: About 1,350

Consumer Contact: Yamaha toll-free at 866-747-4027 anytime or online at https://www.yamahagolfcar.com/ and click on the CPSC Recall Alerts tab for more information.

Drive2 Golf Car Recall Details

Description: This recall involves for model-year 2020 golf cars, including “Drive2 QuieTech,” “Drive2 AC,” “Drive2 EFI,” and “Drive2 DC.”  The vehicles were sold in various colors, including blue, green, red, gray, tan, silver, and white.  The model and serial number can be found on a label under the seat on the left side.

Model YearModel NameModel PrefixSerial Number Range
2020Drive2 QuieTechJ0B305606 – 306597
2020Drive2 ACJ0J301002 – 301100
2020Drive2 EFIJ0K103401 – 104680
2020Drive2 DCJ0C303701 – 304600

 Remedy: Consumers should immediately stop using the recalled Yamaha Golf Cars and contact a Yamaha Golf car dealer to schedule a free repair.  Yamaha is contacting all registered owners directly.

Incidents/Injuries: None reported.

Sold Exclusively At: Yamaha golf car dealers nationwide from June 2019 through December 2019 for between $6,100 and $6,300.

Distributor(s): Yamaha Golf-Car Company, of Kennesaw, Ga.

Manufactured In: Assembled in the United States

Recall number: 20-718

Polaris Earnings Call: Strong Annual Sales; Low 4Q Growth

Polaris Ranger XP 1000 utility vehicle
Models like the Polaris Ranger XP 1000 helped drive ORV sales.

Polaris Earnings Overview

In their recent earnings call Polaris management reported strong annual sales despite relatively low fourth quarter growth. Overall sales increased to $6.78 billion for the full year, an increase of 12% from last year. All segments grew with the ORV/Snow segment increasing by 7%. For the fourth quarter sales increased 7% to $1.74 billion despite North American powersports retail sales increasing by only 2%.  There was strength in Ranger/General side-by-sides, full-size ATVs and Indian Motorcycles unit sales. In addition, PG&A sales outside of the TAP business performed very well, up 22%. The company continues to be hampered somewhat by tariffs, a $90 million cost in FY2019. However, the management has been able to receive some exemptions and managed to pass some of the cost on to suppliers.

Polaris Earnings Call

The following are highlights related to small, task-oriented vehicles from the recent Polaris earnings call for fiscal year 2019 fourth quarter.

  • ORV segment (UTVs & ATVs) sales increased by 13%
  • ORV retail increased mid-single digits %
  • Side-by-sides retail up low single digits percent
  • ATV retail up mid-single digits
  • Management reports that the ramp up of 2020 side-by-side retail sales were slightly below expectations and dealer inventory increased as a result
  • They named a top executive from their ORV business head-up their electrification strategy
  • Company-wide average selling price (ASP) jumped by 8% on the strength of ORV and motorcycles
  • ORV ASP increased 10% with more unit sales and more side-by-side sales
  • The company boosted prices 3% to 3.5% on many models earlier in the year
  • Recently they reduced prices substantially on select RZR models
  • Global Adjacent Markets decreased 1% to $120 million with vehicle sales declining but PG&A increasing

Full Year Sales Guidance

  • Full year sales are expected to improve 2% to 4%
  • ORV/Snow segment is expected to increase low single digits percent with ORV up low single digits percent
  • The Global Adjacent Markets segment is expected to increase high single digits percent as all product lines should show growth
  • Side-by-side shipments to dealers should decline in the first quarter as management tries to reduce dealer inventory that increased slightly the last two quarters.

Learn more: Seekingalpha.com (Earnings call transcript)

SVR’s Take

One of the most interesting pieces of information coming out of the earnings call was the appointment of a Senior Vice President for electrification strategy. Management noted that the powersports industry tends to lag the auto industry by 5 – 10 years. They think there is currently an inflection point in the market with regards to electrification. In addition, they talked about making investments and see a need to become more competitive in their core powersports business as it relates to electrification.

While Ranger sales continued to drive growth, RZR sales were not as impressive. This is likely where the higher dealer inventory levels originated. The price reduction of some of their RZR S models is likely a reflection of increased competition in the market segment. Kawasaki and Honda are the last two entrants into the high performance segment which has now become quite crowded. In addition, Polaris lowered RZR XP Turbo prices. This reduction may be to remain competitive as well as an effort to create pricing differentiation between the XP Turbo and their higher priced Pro XP models.

Marc Cesare, Smallvehicleresource.com


New Mobility Tech Challenges PTVs

Cruise Origin offers mobility through autonomous driving
The recently announced Cruise Origin self-driving vehicle that GM plans to start building in 2022. A potential threat to PTVs in gated communities?

The Mobility Tech Challenge

New urban and micro mobility technology creates a potential challenge to the existing players in the PTV market. This technology is wide ranging from electric skateboards and electric bikes to three-wheeled and larger autonomous vehicles. While the technology is typically discussed in the context of the urban environment, it can also be well suited to the gated and vacation community markets. These alternative mobility technologies do not provide a head-on, direct competition to PTVs, but neither are they merely tangential. They can challenge the existing PTV players by taking multiple, smaller slices of the market pie. In addition, they are attracting a host of new players and new investment.

Electric Bikes & Scooters

The gated and vacation community skews older so skateboards are probably out, and at first glance electric bikes and electric scooters (Vespa like) may not seem to make sense. However, electric bikes and scooters can offer a slice of the market an alternative transportation experience. An electric pedal assist bike can provide exercise without as much exertion as a traditional bike. In addition, if you already bike, it extends your existing trip range and experiences. Scooters offer an alternative to PTVs for quick single or two-person trips. This technology can also be applied in the form of a bike or scooter share program, providing access to the whole community. A share program would seem well suited to a planned community that has a large enough population and well planned out destination points.

Pros

They are fun to ride and, in the case of bikes, can provide additional exercise opportunities. They are a less expensive alternative, especially if you need an occasional second mode of transportation and have a small footprint. Furthermore, their speed range fits well in the low speed planned community environment. They can also be used to venture outside the community with likely less restrictions than PTVs.

Cons

On the other hand these modes of transportation have some drawbacks that limits their appeal. First, they can only accommodate one or maybe two people in the case of scooters. They have limited carrying capacity for running errands. They also do not provide any protection from the elements or as much collision protection from other vehicles as a PTV does. In addition, older folks may not feel as physically capable of operating these vehicles. Although, the low speed and well planned roadways can ameliorate this issue to some degree.

Three-wheelers & Autonomous Vehicles

Arcimoto Fun Utility Vehicle - FUV
The electric powered Arcimoto Fun Utility Vehicle (FUV) is just coming to market.

On the other end of the spectrum you have larger multi-passenger vehicles that provide a more direct competition to existing PTVs. Vehicles like the FUV can carry two passengers or one with cargo. As a three-wheeler, the FUV can operate at higher speeds and has no restrictions for venturing outside of communities on public roads. At the same time, this vehicle can be speed limited for golf course and planned community use. With autonomous vehicles planned community residents could displace at least some of their PTV usage, and possibly all of it if the the service is robust enough.

Pros

With the ability to travel from golf course to community roads to public roads, the three-wheeled vehicle offers greater versatility than PTVs. Capable of higher speeds, it also has greater functionality than PTVs for certain use scenarios. For autonomous vehicles, the low-speed, well-defined and relatively limited planned community road networks offer an ideal environment. For residents less inclined or capable of driving a PTV, they provide a method to maintain mobility.

Cons

The FUV is currently much more expensive than PTVs and even LSVs. Therefore, customers may not find the increased versatility and functionality worth the price. They also are limited to two passengers, and as a result are less useful for family outings. For autonomous vehicles the technology is still in the development phase. In addition, some customers may prefer the convenience, customization and the statement made by owning a PTV. Furthermore, the cost of this type of service is not currently known.

New Players, Investment & Disruptive Innovation

Harley Davidson electric bicycles

An additional aspect of urban and micro mobility that PTV manufacturers must contend with is the increased number of market players, capital investment and disruptive product innovations that the technology brings. For example, Harley Davidson and Jeep have revealed at least prototype electric bikes. Completely new companies like Arcimoto have entered the market. Tech companies like Alphabet (Google) and traditional auto manufacturers are developing highly sophisticated autonomous vehicle technology. In addition, you have ride share companies.

PTV manufacturers are potentially at a disadvantage because they have neither the focus of disruptive startups or the financial resources of much larger companies. On the other hand, they do possess strong knowledge of the market and a distribution network to serve the market. They also have experience in developing and manufacturing electric vehicles in a highly competitive environment.

Potential Strategies

One strategy for PTV manufacturers to take is to start developing new mobility platforms themselves. The question is whether they have enough resources and commitment. They would have to balance maintaining their current product lines while trying to introduce entirely new a category of products. Another strategy would be to leverage their distribution and marketing expertise by acquiring or partnering with new market entrants to launch to product categories. They could also decide to keep improving their existing products and manufacturing efficiency. As a result, they could maintain or lower prices while increasing the value of their products. Therefore, new entrants could find market entry to difficult or limited to niche markets. However, compared to the other two strategies, this strategy offers less upside. In addition, it still leaves them vulnerable to a disruptive technology. The first two strategies provides the opportunity to potentially expand into urban markets.

Marc Cesare, Smallvehicleresource.com

Squad Urban Mobility EV Launched

Squad L6e quadricycle from Squad Mobility for the urban mobility market.
The new Squad quadricycle with solar roof from Squad Mobility
Squad L6e quadricycle from Squad Mobility for the urban mobility market.
The Squad targets the urban mobility market. A cargo version is also available.

Squad Launch Summary

Netherlands based Squad Mobility launched their Squad urban mobility vehicle last week. The electric powered Squad features solar cells on the roof, seating for two and a small, rear cargo area. The name Squad is short for solar quadricycle. The vehicle is designed for the European market and falls under the L6e or light quadricycle category. These vehicles are similar to low speed vehicles in the US. They can’t exceed 28 mph or have a battery pack larger than 4 kWh. The L7e category includes heavier vehicles with a top speed up to 50 mph and a 15 kWh battery pack limit. The vehicles have proven to be popular with teenagers and older drivers.

Squad Specs

The Squad is 2000mm long, 1600mm high and 1000mm wide. It has room for two passengers and two children (where legal) if a rear bench seat is used. The vehicle features two in wheel rear wheel drive motors, regenerative braking, 4-wheel independent suspension and two portable lithium-ion batteries. The battery only range is 100 km and the solar cells can add 20-30 km per day. Other features include a tubular roll cage, 4-wheel disc brakes, a lighting package, and seat belts. A cargo version with an enclosed cargo area is available as well.

Target Market

The company is clearly targeting the daily urban mobility market and offering the vehicle as a safer, more weatherproof alternative to scooters and electric bikes. Other advantages include avoiding road taxes and congestion pricing, easier to park and maneuver in urban environments, emission free and sustainable and more comfortable for longer commutes. The lack of doors provides easy and quick access. The base model can be pre-ordered for an estimated price of 5,750 euros ($6,365 US) or 6,500 euros ($7,195 US) for one of the first 1,000 Signature models.

SVR’s Take

This vehicle makes more sense for the European market than the US, although it could find some traction in gated communities and vacation locations in the US. The tighter quarters of European urban centers are ideal for the smaller size and lower speed. One question is how will they distribute the vehicles. It will be interesting to see how many pre-orders they receive and what their distribution strategy is after those initial orders.

Marc Cesare, Smallvehicleresource.com

Kawasaki Teryx KRX 1000 Reviews

The new Kawasaki Teryx KRX 1000 UTV
The new Kawasaki Teryx KRX 1000

Kawasaki Teryx KRX 1000 Reviews Summary

The Teryx KRX 1000 is Kawasaki’s long awaited entry into the high performance recreational UTV segment. SVR analyzed several Kawasaki Teryx KRX 1000 reviews and the two-seater appears to be worth the wait as the reviews are overwhelmingly positive. The Teryx KRX 1000 is in the same class as the Honda Talon 1000R, Yamaha YKZ1000SE and Polaris RZR XP 1000.

Positive Comments

  • Very good suspension that soaks up bumps, holds a straight line and handles turns well with controlled body roll
  • Smooth power curve
  • Low power mode provides smooth and precise throttle response and helps make the KRZ 1000 excellent for rock crawling
  • Excellent engine braking
  • Speed-sensitive EPS works really well especially at low speeds but some riders might want more feedback at higher speeds
  • Good nightlines to driver side front wheel
  • Very good approach and departure angles
  • Roomy cab and adjustable seats can accommodate larger riders well
  • Easy cab ingress and egress
  • Looks to be well built and durable
  • Large cargo bed

Reviewers noted some other positive features including the styling of the Kawasaki Teryx KRX 1000, several easy maintenance aspects, the 31″ Maxxis Carnivore tires and the digital gauge with CVT temperature reading.

Negative Comments

Some reviewers had negative comments, but they were relatively minor and most were not consistently noted across all of the reviews.

  • The Teryx KRX 1000 is heavier than comparable vehicles from competitors, about 350 lbs heavier
  • The vehicle’s initial acceleration was slow
  • Some drivers might find the steering wheel too far away when the seat is slid back
  • Some front end push in turns at high speed
  • Engine noise

Key Vehicle Specs

  • 4-stroke, DOHC, 4-valve parallel-twin, liquid-cooled, 999cc engine with EFI
  • Automatic CVT with centrifugal clutch
  • Selectable 2WD/4WD with locking front differential
  • Engine braking
  • FOX 2.5 PODIUM LSC shocks with piggyback reservoir, fully adjustable preload, and 24-position adjustable compression damping
  • 18.6″/21.1″ of front/rear suspension travel
  • 31″ Maxxis Carnivore tires on 15″ alloy beadlock wheels
  • 14.4″ of ground clearance
  • Speed sensitive EPS
  • Dual hydraulic disc brakes
  • LED lighting
  • Digital gauge
  • Full skid plate
  • Curb weight: 1,896 lbs

SVR’s Overall Take

The industry trade publications are overwhelmingly positive about Kawasaki Teryx KRX 1000. The machine appears to be well thought out with attention to details. If you had to pick one aspect of the vehicle that stands out the most it would be the suspension and next up would be the powertrain. The engine is not the most powerful but more than adequate and paired with a good performing drivetrain. The durability of the chassis and other components foretells more powerful engine options in the future as the product line expands. The Kawasaki Teryx KRX 1000 is slightly more expensive and heavier than comparable vehicles but should be competitive in the market.

Kawasaki Teryx KRX 1000 Reviews

The following highlights are from the reviews we analyzed to assess the vehicle. The reviews are based on a Kawasaki sponsored riding event at Moab, Utah. The vehicles were tested in a variety of terrains.

TFLoffroad Video Review

  • Big cargo bed
  • 31″ tires and beadlock wheels
  • High intakes CVT and engine
  • Factory half doors
  • Nice styling
  • EPS – more feedback and heavier wheel at speed needed, better at slower speeds
  • 4WD works well
  • Good sight line to driver side front wheel
  • EPS and low power mode good for low speeds, smooth and precise throttle
  • Easy cab egress and ingress
  • Plenty of seat adjustment, 6″
  • Digital gauge moves with steering wheel
  • Roof accessory has sunroof – lets sun in but allows for scenic views
  • Centrifugal clutch smooths out power delivery but not superfast off the line
  • Suspension smooth
  • Little noisy and engine noise not appealing – “droney”
  • Beauty of the machine is the suspension; swallows whoops; flat and straight and minimum work at wheel; better than Honda Talon
  • Incredible engine braking on steep rocky downhills
  • Pricing $500 less than the Honda Talon 1000R; $1,500 more than Yamaha YXZ1000 and $2,000 more than Polaris RZR XP 1000
  • Weight an issue – heavier than comparable models

Rocky Mountain ATV MC Video Review

  • Good at rock crawling in low power mode
  • Smooth drivetrain
  • Excellent engine braking
  • Easy to drive for average person
  • Very stable in fast turns
  • A little slow acceleration at the beginning
  • Good speed and stability

Overview Video with Kawasaki Product Manager

This video explores many of the Teryx KRX 1000 details.

UTV Guide Video Review by Joe Crowley

  • Straight, soaked up bumps, well planted
  • Really impressed by the suspension
  • Lot of leg room in cab
  • Steering wheel a little farther away than I like
  • Really liked rock crawling
  • Low range is “spot on”
  • Approach and departure angles great
  • Comes with steel skid plate but HMWPE option available
  • Smooth throttle
  • Bed can hold 32″ tire

UTV On Demand Video Review

  • Only high end gem with automatic CVT
  • Belts look durable with centrifugal clutch
  • Sight window for oil check
  • Powertrain has surge on the bottom, flat in the middle and surge again at top end power
  • Top speed restricted around 68 mph
  • More endurance than drag racer because of weight
  • Low power mode removes unwanted throttle inputs and slippage on steep rocky terrain
  • Plastic and steel skid plates
  • Beefy components
  • Fun to drive hard
  • Chassis and suspension step above engine output
  • Suspension soaked up bumps
  • Chassis sounded and felt solid, no noises or lose stuff, felt tight and solid
  • Very little body roll
  • Some front end push at higher speed in turns but suspension adjustments can be made to improve
  • Good brakes
  • Plenty of room for ingress and exit
  • Lot of seat adjustment but more bolstering would be better
  • Good sight lines out driver side to front wheel
  • Highest cargo bed capacity for this vehicle class
  • Great candidate for building a race machine

ATV and SxS Illustrated Review

  • Extremely smooth engine
  • Smooth suspension over whoops
  • Body roll is controlled
  • KRX carries extra weight
  • Good sight lines over the hood
  • Roomy cabin and higher sitting seats
  • Smooth transmission and deceivingly fast
  • Awesome digital gauge
  • Low power mode for rock crawling gives smooth throttle control
  • Easy maintenance with oil sight glass, oversized fill hole, accessible oil filter, accessible CVT cover and coolant reservoir window
  • CVT temperature readout on digital guage
  • Perfect EPS steering input and feel but could use a quicker steering ratio
  • Beefy and clean chassis should be durable
  • 31″ Maxxis Carnivore tires a good all-around choice

New Strategy For Club Car?

Club Car 411 utility vehicle
The Club Car 411 is the result of partnering with AEV Technologies.

My colleague Stephen Metzger discusses Club Car’s product development strategy in a new article. In particular, he analyzes Club Car’s partnership with AEV Technologies and the resulting offering, the Club Car 411 utility vehicle. Rather than develop the vehicle in-house, which Club Car has the capabilities to do, they decided to go outside. Is management embracing a new approach to product development or is this just a one-off exercise? In addition, an interview with Brian Rott, President Cart Mart in California, discusses how the 411 fits in the market.

Road Use Regulation Roundup – October 2019

golf cart sign

Road Use Regulation Summary

Road use regulations for golf cars, LSVs, ATVs and UTVs that have been passed or are being considered at the state, county and city levels since June, 2019 are summarized below.

  • The majority of the ordinances expand the use of golf cars, LSVs, or UTVs on city streets.
  • Most of the legislative activity is occurring in the Midwest

Road Use Regulation By Location

Wisconsin – Title fees for low speed vehicles will increase from $62 to $157, similar to other vehicles.

Barnegat Light, NJ – The Council, after earlier tabling an ordinance that would allow the use of golf cars on certain city streets, have decided to not pursue the issue further. A critical issue was that the vehicles would have to cross a higher speed road, which would require an exception to state law.

Brazil, IN – Residents registered nearly 100 golf carts and off-road UTVs since an ordinance passed in February, 2019.

Wakefield, IN – The City Council is considering an ordinance to allow golf cars on certain city streets. The police chief and a councilman are looking at similar ordinances and potentially expanding the ordinance to other types of vehicles.

Paola, KS – Starting in January, 2020 residents will be able to drive UTVs on city streets with posted speed limits that are 45 mph or less. Regulations require that vehicles have lights, turn signals and reflectors, drivers have a valid license and vehicles be registered.

St. Joseph, MI – The city commissioners are considering allowing residents to drive golf cars on city streets in the Harbor Shores, Edgewater and Ridgeway neighborhoods.

Newport, RI – The Newport Jitney provides free, advertiser supported rides around town on two low-speed vehicles that seat six and eight passengers.

Glynn County, GA – A new county ordinance goes into effect in October that will allow golf cars on certain streets. The ordinance has different regulations for LSVs vs. PTVs. A key difference is that LSVs can travel on streets with posted speed limits of 35 mph or less while PTVs can travel only on 25 mph or less streets.

Perry Village, OH – The Village Council passed an ordinance to allow LSVs, golf cars, UTVs and mini-trucks to be driven on local low speed streets. The vehicles must be inspected, licensed and have certain safety equipment.

Arcimoto FUV Production Starts

Arcimoto Fun Utility Vehicle - FUV
The electric powered Arcimoto Fun Utility Vehicle (FUV) is just starting retail production.

Oregon-based Arcimoto recently started production of their Fun Utility Vehicle (FUV) to meet pre-order demand for 4,100 vehicles. Technically a motorcycle, the FUV is an electric powered three-wheeled vehicle that seats two. Many states have a special classification for three wheeled vehicles and only require a regular driver’s license to operate the vehicle. The current FUV Evergreen edition costs $19,900 but the company hopes in the future that volume production will reduce base model pricing to $12,000 and possibly below $10,000.

Arcimoto FUV Specs

The Arcimoto FUV is essentially a trike with two wheels up front and one in the rear. Each wheel up front has an electric motor. The vehicle has a 19.2 kWh lithium ion battery pack for a range of just over 100 miles and a top speed of 75 mph. The FUV has handlebar steering with a twist throttle and finger activated regenerative braking. Foot operated hydraulic brakes on all three wheels augments the regenerative braking. Other specs include:

  • Removable doors
  • LCD display
  • Heated seats
  • Bluetooth speakers
  • Two USB ports
  • Phone cradle
  • Lockable rear storage
  • Criss-cross seatbelts

The company is also developing a one person delivery vehicle and an emergency responder vehicle based on the same platform.

SVR’s Take

The Arcimoto FUV satisfies a need for a small, energy efficient vehicle that can be driven locally. Even though the FUV can operate at highway speeds I believe the sweet spot for the vehicle will be on roads up with speed limits up to 50 mph. Gated communities and vacation destinations that already allow low speed vehicles (LSVs) and golf cars will be a key market.

PTV Market

The problem with this market currently is that LSVs and golf cars can only go 20 to 25 mph and are often restricted to certain public roads based on speed limits and local ordinances. Classified as a motorcycle and with the power to operate at higher speeds, the FUV avoids this issue. This combination greatly increases the functionality of the FUV. The FUV with a speed limited setting can go from golf course to gated community to higher speed public roads. Therefore, the FUV is appropriate for a wider range of activities.

FUV Challenges

I currently see three main challenges that may limit the FUVs appeal. The first is consumer acceptance of driving a three-wheeled vehicle with handlebar steering. This is different than many consumer’s traditional driving experience. The second is price. The company should target the $10,000 to $13,000 price range to be competitive with LSVs, PTVs and golf cars. Although, the increased functionality of the vehicle is a mitigating factor that could allow for a pricing premium. The third is that the vehicle is only two passenger, so it may have limited appeal for families or larger groups.

Competitive Landscape

The FUV is a direct challenge to the LSVs and more importantly the personal transportation vehicles (PTVs) that have become a key growth market for the traditional golf car companies. The decline and stagnation in fleet golf car market has forced these companies to target the utility vehicle and PTV markets for growth. (LSVs have largely been relegated to college and corporate campuses with some personal transportation use.) This could become the classic case of the outsider coming in and disrupting a market.

Where are the golf companies?

There is no reason the golf car companies could not have developed this vehicle first and they certainly have the resources and time to create a vehicle of their own. However, in the past these companies have missed opportunities such as the utility vehicle market for which they were well positioned. In addition, the FUV could serve as an alternative to a second or third automobile for running local errands or short one or two person commuting.

What Does The Future Hold

It will be interesting to see what kind of uptake the consumer version has. Recreational vehicles like the Can-Am Spyder and Polaris Slingshot have not completely taken off and remained niche. However, they are more recreational and less of a practical and green transportation alternative than the FUV. I think the delivery version of the FUV might be the sleeper product. Given concerns about urban congestion, pollution and sustainability, these vehicles could become a popular option for last mile logistics in crowded cities. The urban environment could play to the vehicle’s strengths of smaller size and zero emission powertrain while mitigating weaknesses such as limited top speed and driving range.