2020 Small Task-Oriented Vehicle Study

Club Car Onward 4-passenger lifted PTV
Club Car Onward 4-passenger lifted PTV

In a new market study on the small task-oriented vehicle (STOV) market in the US and Canada, Small Vehicle Resource (SVR), LLC describes an industry in midstream transition as:

  • Climate policies, COVID-19 effects and new technologies usher in the urban/suburban mobility market and underpin an expanding consumer market for personal transportation vehicles (PTVs), as well as commercial markets for light duty utility vehicles;
  • The transition from lead acid to lithium batteries continues, raising performance and transforming vehicle longevity and recycling value.
  • The maturing off-road utility and recreational UTV market remains fundamentally strong and highly competitive, and is poised to follow the automobile and golf-car type vehicle markets into electrification;

The study provides a strategic analysis of the rise of urban/suburban mobility market driven in the context of the STOV industry. Steve Metzger, SVR Managing Director, states that, “The intersection of climate policy, new technologies and COVID-19 effects will lead to a ‘dispersed living lifestyle’, and provide new opportunities in the urban/suburban mobility market.”  He further remarks, “The STOV industry, particularly the Big Three golf manufacturers with a foothold in gated communities, have the core competencies to transition from golf-centric to urban/suburban centric. The question is will they?” 

Marc Cesare, SVR Managing Director, adds that, “While the UTV manufacturers will see solid growth in their market, some are capable of pursuing the urban/suburban mobility market as well. However, their DNA, profit centers and distribution channels are primarily off-road and powersports. Culturally, the pursuit of the urban/suburban mobility opportunity may be a difficult paradigm shift.”

The study, the tenth in the series since 2000, covers market trends from 2016 and develops projections to 2025. The key segments are golf fleet, personal transportation vehicles, light-duty utility vehicles, and off-road utility and recreation vehicles. In total, these segments are forecasted to reach close to 1,200,000 new vehicles in 2025. Electric powered vehicles continue to make inroads. Approximately a third of the market is electric powered, primarily in the form of fleet golf cars, PTVs, as well as light duty utility vehicles, of which approximately 80% will be electric by 2025. Key trends and projections for the market include:

  • Demand for electric powered STOV vehicles will increase to over 450,000 vehicles in 2025.
  • Golf course fleet demand will decline slightly during the trend period but will remain overwhelmingly electric powered, around 80%.
  • Demand for PTVs will be strong.
  • Lithium battery powered vehicles will continue to make inroads as more models become available with this option.

            The study is entitled, Trends and Outlook for Small, Task-Oriented Vehicles-2016-2025- An Analysis of the Emerging Urban/Suburban Mobility Market.  For additional, detailed information see the study brochure with table of contents or contact:

Steve Metzger smetzger@smallvehicleresource.com

(914) 293-7577

Arcimoto Pilots Rapid Responder

Arcimoto Rapid Responder electric-powered three-wheeler
Arcimoto Rapid Responder

Arcimoto and the Eugene Springfield Fire Department in Oregon started the first pilot program for the Rapid Responder vehicle. The Rapid Responder is a variation of the Arcimoto FUV designed specifically for first responders like fire, police and campus security departments. The three-wheeled, electric powered vehicle for emergency response offers a low carbon, small-footprint and lower cost option to traditional vehicles.

Rapid Responder Features

Arcimoto will disclose pricing and full specifications for the vehicle later this year when full production begins. As of now key specs include:

  • 2 passenger
  • 75 mph top speed
  • 100 city mile range
  • Roof-mounted equipment rack
  • Rear cargo compartment
  • Mini lightbar
  • Siren
  • 360-degree scene lights

SVR’s Take

This vehicle should find a nice niche in fire, police and security applications. The higher speed and range is an advantage compared to some of the first responder/security vehicles that the golf car and other low speed vehicle manufacturers offer. On the down side those four-wheel vehicles can carry a full stretcher. However, the Rapid Responder’s speed and small footprint should allow first responders to access the emergency scene faster. This can prove critical in many situations.

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

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

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.

Club Car 411 Utility Vehicle

Club Car 411 utility vehicle in pickup configuration
The Club Car 411 is an all-electric vehicle developed in partnership with AEV Technologies.
Club Car 411 flatbed configuration
The flatbed version of the Club Car 411 utility vehicle.
Club Car 411 Van Box Configuration
The van box version of the Club Car 411 utility vehicle.

Club Car 411 Overview

Earlier this year Club Car introduced the Club Car 411 utility vehicle, an all-electric vehicle for cargo services and low speed logistics. The 411 is the result of a partnership between Club Car and AEV Technologies, a manufacturer of light-duty battery-electric vehicles. The partnership combines AEV’s expertise in design and manufacturing with the dealer network and brand power of Club Car.

Club Car 411 Target Market

The Club Car 411 is targeting the space between full-sized trucks and smaller golf car based utility trucks. The partners designed the vehicles to have a lower cost of acquisition, operation and overall ownership while meeting the demand for clean energy vehicles. Typical uses would be on corporate and college campuses, in warehouses and as part of municipal fleets.

Vehicle Capabilities

The Club Car 411 comes in three basic configurations: a van box, a pickup with sides and a flatbed. The vehicles have a curb weight of approximately 2,100 lbs depending on the configuration and a payload capacity of 1,100 lbs. As an LSV the top speed is 25 mph and it has a range of 50 miles. A 10 Kw, 13.4 hp AC motor paired with a 240A AC controller powers the rear-wheel vehicle. The six sealed lead acid batteries provide a range of up to 50 miles.

Standard Features & Options

Standard features include a backup camera, 7″ LCM display, reinforced ABS body panels and cabin heating. The 411 has a reinforced steel chassis, 4-wheel, hydraulic disc brakes and power assist steering. Options include fleet management systems including GPS and geofencing.

SVR’s Take

This is a curious move by Club Car. Clearly the vehicle fits with their existing customer base and dealer network, but rather than develop the vehicle themselves they partnered with AEV Technologies. I speculate that the partnership reduces Club Car’s development costs and associated risks. For AEV, the partnership gives them access to a large customer base. AEV Technologies also makes a three wheeled vehicle similar to the Arcimoto FUV. Therefore, if the FUV makes inroads into Club Car’s PTV market then they could have a ready for market vehicle to compete against it.

Marc Cesare, Smallvehicleresource.com

Honda 2020 UTV Lineup

Honda Talon 1000X-4 sport side-by-side
The new four-seat Honda Talon 1000X-4 for model year 2020.
Honda Talon 1000X-4 FOX Live Valve with sensor suspension
The Honda Talon 1000X-4 FOX Live Valve features a sensor driven suspension.

Honda recently announced the addition of two four-seat Talon models to build out their sport lineup. For the rest of the Honda 2020 UTV lineup, which consists of Pioneer UTVs, there were only minor changes.

Honda 2020 UTV Lineup Changes

The most important changes are the addition of the two four-seat Talon models mentioned above. The two-seat Talons are back for 2020 but pricing information is not yet available. The Pioneer lineup changes primarily involves some price increases and a few color changes.

  • The Pioneer 500 models increased in price by $100 to $9,199, roughly 1%. They also removed the Active Yellow and Olive color options and added a new Moose Brown.
  • The Pioneer 700 and 700 Deluxe increased by $200, about 2%, to $10,999 and $12,499 respectively. Red and White color options have replaced Olive for the base model and Matte Silver has replaced Pearl Orange for the Deluxe model.
  • The Pioneer 700-4 maintains the same price at $12,399 but Metallic Silver replaces Red as the model color.
  • For the Pioneer 1000 models, the Pioneer 1000 EPS model from 2019 has become the new base Pioneer 1000 for 2020 with EPS standard across the line. Honda decreased the price by $100 to $15,799.
  • The Honda 2020 UTV lineup dropped the Pioneer 1000 LE and 2019’s non-EPS base model. Meanwhile, they added a Pioneer 1000 Deluxe version for $16,799 with LED headlights, 14″ blacked-out aluminum wheels and a Honda Phantom Camo paint option ($800 more).
  • For the crew versions the Pioneer 1000-5 increased in price by $300 or almost 2%, as did the Pioneer 1000-5 Deluxe. The Deluxe swaps a new Reactor Blue color option for last year’s Black while maintaining the Red and Camo choices. The MSRP for this model increased by $300 as well. There was no price increase for the Pioneer 1000-5 LE model but Matte Green Metallic replaces Matte Silver as the sole color option.

SVR’s Take

The addition of the four-seat Talons is an important step as there is a definite need in the sport market for a multi-passenger experience. The changes to the Pioneer lineup are relatively minor except for dropping a couple of the Pioneer 1000 variations. I assume those configurations were not selling well and most buyers found other models a more compelling choice. The price increases are relatively minor and basically keep up with inflation. Going forward a narrower version of the Talon could be the next step in that lineup. They may also choose to refresh the Pioneer lineup which has not had any major changes in a few years. Marc Cesare, Smallvehicleresource.com

Honda Unveils Four-Seat Talon Models

 Honda Talon 1000X-4 sport side-by-side
The new four-seat Honda Talon 1000X-4.

Honda recently unveiled their two new four-seat side-by-sides, the Talon 1000X-4 and Talon 1000X-4 FOX Live Valve. The launch follows on the release of their two-seat models last year. The introduction of those side-by-sides marked Honda’s entry into the high end sport segment.

Talon 1000X-4

Not surprisingly, the Talon 1000X-4 is similar to the two-seat 1000X. Key features include:

  • 999cc four-valve Unicam® parallel-twin engine
  • Six-speed dual clutch transmission with full automatic, sport automatic and manual drive modes
  • Steering column mounted paddle shifters
  • FOX Podium Quick Switch 3 shocks
  • 14.6″/15.0″ of front/rear suspension travel
  • 4WD traction-aiding technology
  • Hill start assist
  • Electronic Brakeforce Distribution
  • Stadium style rear seating
  • Available in Metallic Grey/Pearl Red in Fall 2019
 Honda Talon 1000X-4 FOX Live Valve with sensor suspension
The Honda Talon 1000X-4 FOX Live Valve features a sensor driven suspension.

Talon 1000X-4 FOX Live Valve

The Talon 1000X-4 FOX Live Valve is similar to the Talon 1000X-4 but features a different suspension system. The system relies on multiple sensors to make adjustments 16 times per second for an improved ride and handling.

  • 999cc four-valve Unicam® parallel-twin engine
  • Six-speed dual clutch transmission with full automatic, sport automatic and manual drive modes
  • Steering column mounted paddle shifters
  • FOX Podium Quick Switch 3 2.5 shocks front and rear
  • Multiple sensor based shock adjustment for Normal and Sport drive modes
  • 14.6″/15.0″ of front/rear suspension travel
  • Electronic Launch Mode
  • 4WD traction-aiding technology
  • Hill start assist
  • Electronic Brakeforce Distribution
  • Stadium style rear seating
  • Available in  Pearl Red/Metallic Grey or Metallic Grey/Metallic Blue in Fall 2019

Honda has not released an MSRP for either vehicle at the time of this post.

SVR’s Take

The expansion of Honda’s Talon product line is to be expected. They didn’t enter this market segment last year to just sell a couple of models. I wouldn’t be surprised to see the addition of a narrower side-by-side or possibly some special edition models in six months time or certainly by a year from now. In only a few years the segment went from Polaris, Can-Am and Arctic Cat battling for market share to Yamaha and more recently Honda joining the fray. As a result, consumers now have more models and technology innovations from which to choose. In addition, the competition should keep the pricing down and the value proposition high. Marc Cesare, Smallvehicleresource.com

Can Rungu e-Bike Threaten ATVs?

Rungu Juggernaut MDV Overland, an ATV substitute
The new Rungu Juggernaut MDV Overland is an e-bike positioned as an alternative to ATVs.

Rungu e-Bike Overview

The Rungu Juggernaut MDV Overland is a new three-wheeled e-bike designed for off-road use and as an alternative to ATVs. The e-bike can tow up to 300 lbs and has a 350 lb payload capacity. The drivetrain is a Bafang 1000 Mid Drive with a removable 52V 15 AH Li-ion battery. The dual battery option provides 34 miles of unassisted range. The MSRP is $5,499 but the standard model with one battery is $3,399.

Electrek Rungu e-Bike Review

Electrek.com posted a largely positive review. Some key takeaways from the review.

  • The bike handles a variety of difficult terrain well from soft sand to ruts to stony ground
  • Climbs obstacles very well
  • Performs much better than a two-wheeled fat tire e-bike and more like an ATV but weighs less than 100 lbs
  • Easy to learn how to ride
  • Braking power and three-wheel stability handled extremely steep downhills very well

SVR’s Take

The advent of lower cost lithium batteries and improved electric motors is ushering in a new era of mobility. While much of the focus has been on urban mobility, the Rungu e-bike is an example of the technology making inroads elsewhere. Will the Rungu make significant inroads into the ATV market? Probably not, but it may be able to establish a sizable niche. Producing at higher volume could reduce cost and they could become a formidable substitute. Another possibility is that the Rungu creates a whole new vehicle category.

From a strategic point of view, the Rungu symbolizes a larger threat to the STOV industry. The threat of an industry that may be too complacent and lack vision. As a whole, the industry has not shown great interest in new mobility concepts. although well positioned, STOV companies run the risk of ceding this opportunity to startups and entrants from other industries. Over time, these companies can leverage the manufacturing volume and brand awareness built in new mobility markets, to pursue traditional STOV markets. Is it that far fetched that a company might target urban mobility and then the golf fleet or gated community markets and then head off-road or on campus? Or that Rungu might develop more capable and less expensive e-bike alternatives to encroach further into off-road vehicle segments?

New Bobcat UTVs Announced

Diesel powered Bobcat UV34 utility vehicle
The new 2019 Bobcat UV34 utility vehicle features upgrades to the suspension, chassis and cabin.
Diesel powered Bobcat UV34XL utility vehicle
The new six passenger Bobcat UV34XL utility vehicle is diesel powered and features a number of upgrades.

Bobcat UTVs Overview

Bobcat has launched two new diesel powered UTVs for 2019 with a new chassis, improved suspension and high towing capacity. The UV34 and UV34XL feature a 23.5 hp, liquid cooled diesel engine that is Tier 4 emissions compliant. Towing capacity has been increased to 2,500 lbs. In addition, these models have new shocks and springs and stronger drive components. The UV34 seats two and the UV34XL seats six.

Key Specs

Other key specs shared by both models include:

  • Turf, 2WD or 4WD drive modes
  • 1,250 lb. capacity cargo box with manual dump or optional power dump
  • Independent rear suspension with sway bar
  • 11.7″ of ground clearance
  • 35 mph maximum speed or limited to 15 mph or 25 mph with optional speed kit
  • Larger controls and instrument gauges
  • New cab design for easy entry and exit
  • Flip-up seat storage
  • Tilt steering

The UV34 starts at $16,406 and the UV34XL starts at $17,886. There was no mention of when the vehicles would be available at local dealers. A search of several Bobcat dealer websites did not show the utility vehicles as available yet.

SVR’s Take

The new utility vehicles are basically an upgrade of Bobcat’s 3400 diesel model. Those models have been around for several years without any significant changes. Given the increased competition in the market, the 3400 is likely looking a little dated compared to newer competitive offerings. For example, Can-Am’s Defender line has made inroads in the farm segment in particular. In addition, market leader Polaris is frequently updating different parts of their Ranger lineup. The new UV34 and UV34XL feature pricing slightly higher than the 3400 models.