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What would you need from a UTV to make you go electric?

We have the likes of The ranger EV and the Hisun E1, which when coupled with Li ion packs actually do what many people want.  Im in the UK and here the UTV market is mostly for Landowners and Farmers, who use them as work vehicles, . We dont have the same leisure market as the US. But with world markets, we only get what will sell in the US. In the same way the market for lift kits is small as are non utility extras.

So what would you need from an Electric UTV to encourage you to change from Petrol or Diesel?

Some thoughts,  Reliability, virtually no drive train maintenance, No drive belt change,. No clutches.  Lack of exhaust fumes.  Virtually no noise. Instant response.  The power source available in virtually every garage . No more filling up cans of fuel.

And of course saving the Planet, mustnt forget that.  But seriously what would you need to enable you to make the shift. How many hours a day do you run, how many miles, what implements do you use? 

Throw it all in.

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When those batteries go, get ready to fork out the dough $$$.

You can get 2000 hours at least/ easily out of a gasoline or diesel engine, with  just routine maintenance before a rebuild or major part replacement is needed. for alot of people, 1,000 hours on an engine is 15-20 years of moderate use. most articles i've read on batteries, as well as hear say from friends, 10 years max on the batteries if you're lucky. If i go to interstate battery and look up their cheapest Electrical vehicle battery...  $142 for 1 battery. Filling up gas cans is no big chore, especially if you pay $20 for a 9v battery pump. no spills or nothing.

Not to mention EV's weigh more than Internal Combustion engines.  ATV.com did a very good article on the pro's and cons  of electric utility vehicles.

I hate to throw this in their, but saving the planet? have you seen the mining process for the rare earth materials (Cobalt) to make those batteries, and  when those batteries die, they get sent to landfills in Asia. Some are recycled, but a majority are sent to landfills...Averaged over a battery’s life, each mile of driving an electric car “consumes” five pounds of raw earth. Using an internal combustion engine consumes about 0.2 pounds of liquids per mile. Plus if one of those batteries malfunctions and catches on fire.. good luck putting it out... A tesla caught on fire near here awhile back the Fire department had to use i don't know how many gallons of special foam to put out those Li-ion batteries because they can burn for hours and hours.

On the personal side, I Know Internal combustion engines. I can diagnose, repair or replace with 2 hands and  a foot tied behind my back. Electric vehicles don't tickle my fancy. a lot of it boils down to personal preference.



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Thank you Travis, thats a really interesting insight into what people think.

Its also useful to perhaps address some of the points. Dont rely on here say, its often not well informed.

As we move forward the Li ion battery will become the mainstay of all EVs, and they have a lifespan in complete charges , ie virtually empty to virtually full of something like 4000 cycles. Some cheaper versions like Lifepo4 may have half that. Partial charges extend the life considerably. One OEM company I have worked with has vehicles using the Li ion Cell blocks I use, that have passed the 300000Km mark. A taxi I had a ride in in Amsterdam works the airport route 24/7 , a Tesla, its 18months old and already passed 200000km. So achieving 1000 hours of use really isnt a problem. I have a number of owners who use their Polaris rangers and were killing a set of lead acid in around 2 years . Thats probably heading towards around 500 hours of use. Now they have shifted to Li ion and already well past the 2 year stage.  As many people who use these vehicles in the UK also have Solar PV systems on their properties (They feed the grid and get paid for it) they effectively get the power for nothing. But even if you pay for the electricity at an average of £0.2 /kwh (most pay considerably less) then that equates to around £0.04 per mile or less. Here petrol (Gas) costs £6.5  per 5 ltrs and rising daily.

In Automobile terms ,the energy cost of producing gas is around the equivalent of being able to drive around 25miles in an EV, thats the  energy cost of production .  the energy used to refine one US gallon of fuel.  

The weight issue is interesting, back to Rangers, if we shift to Li ion from Lead acid we lose over 160kg of weight , but gain around 50% extra range over lead acid.  The motor weighs around 30kg and the Li ion pack around 100kg.  There is no gearbox so weight is lost there as well.  fully charged makes no difference. If you have 20ltrs of fuel then thats about 20kg of weight.  its no longer such a big issue.

On the cobalt front, its a few grams used in only some of the battery chemistry. Cobalt is heavily used in the petro chemical industry as well as in many of the steels and alloy components. Its just convenient for some who wish to rubbish EVs to forget about such things. Reality is very inconvenient.  Some countries do have some really awful cobalt mines, but industry and the public have not worried about it in the past. Most cobalt does not come from such clearly bad places. The production of Diamond however is however mostly reliant on very low wage economies, but that doesnt stop the sale or concerns on that front. Its all about what you what to portray and how you wish to see the world. Cobalt is used to increase the energy denist, ie more charge for a given volume of cell.

I dont  understand the  " 5 pounds of raw earth per mile" point. Could you explain that please.

The recycling of Li ion batteries is moving forward, its not good at the moment. Mainly because the volumes have been so small so far that people havnt seen how they can make money from it. Thats changing. But put that into perspective. The bulk of a li ion battery is aluminium and copper foil. A thin layer (think photocopy black print) of carbon in which is a small % of lithium and the other compounds. That can be recovered, and gives the bulk of the value. Its interesting that you appear to be saying that countries like the US simply ship their waste abroad. Thats been banned for some time in Europe, we can only hope that the US will deal with its waste at home.  The originator of Tesla , JB Straubel  is going out in a big scale to develop  li Ion recycling technologies and equipment. Stuff generally goes to landfill because people wont pay the cost of proper disposal. Thats their choice.   Again that phrase is one we keep coming back to. Choice.  But choice needs to have people willing to understand the issue and not rely on here say. We should all take some responsibility to pass through life and understand the world, unfortunately we tend to only listen to those re-enforcing  the views we already have. Thats a challenge in life in general, not just EV  v ICE.

As to burning batteries, on EVs it makes great news to show a burning TESLA, but not good news to show the hundreds of conventional fueled vehicles that burn every day. That is also changing as curiously its the cobalt in the cells that causes the burn. In the chemistry that doesnt use Cobalt, and there are loads that dont , (lifepo4) they dont ignite. They do get hot they do melt plastic they do give of huge amounts of vapour.  But lifepo4 dont burn.

Thanks for taking the time to comment, and keep enjoying repairing your internal combustion engines. They will be with you for many years to come.  Out of interest what is the cost of a replacement engine in an average UTV? 1000 even 2000 hours is a really short lifespan.


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this is the article a i got sent awhile back in a discussion  about new battery technologies.


Most total engine replacements cost no more than $3000, at the high end... most around $800 for the smaller engines.... Shortened lifespans of the engines are to blame on manufacturers cutting costs... in most air cooled utv engines, bearings aren't even utilized.. to save money.'

older engine's (made better) often reach 4,000 or 5,000 + hours, but this new ones all being made overseas, i don't see many past 3,000 hours.


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20 minutes ago, Travis said:


this is the article a i got sent awhile back in a discussion  about new battery technologies.


Most total engine replacements cost no more than $3000, at the high end... most around $800 for the smaller engines.... Shortened lifespans of the engines are to blame on manufacturers cutting costs... in most air cooled utv engines, bearings aren't even utilized.. to save money.'

older engine's (made better) often reach 4,000 or 5,000 + hours, but this new ones all being made overseas, i don't see many past 3,000 hours.


So on a ICE UTV engine replacement  not much less than the cost of a new pack, and probably at considerably less hours than the average Li ion pack life. Thats also  assuming the rest of the systems are not required to be changed, a bit like changing the engine to find the EFI and the main processor also needs changing.  Dont forget no drive belts, no engine oil changes, no fuel filters, no oil filters and disposal costs. Its not so unrealistic.

Companies tend to make products to price, as consumers we tend to assume that you are still getting the high quality we had years ago when the product was made in a higher cost economy.  So much of what we buy and the waste associated with its creation is now shifted to the far east. Dont just talk about battery waste being put into Asian land fill, think about all the waste that gave you your lap top, the kitchen utensils, your TV etc etc etc, oh and a high proportion of parts that are in the GM and Ford Vehicles that are made in the US.  You have already left that waste behind, and the pollution from the coal fired power station making it. We are all now so disconnected from the stuff we buy. Michigan may have cleaner skys now that the industry has gone, but other places now have it instead.  

The Article is full of un substantiated "Facts" and figures. Many of which I dont see any research to support. The MI doesnt apear to be  an organisation inclined towards the Climate change agenda or any move to sutainability.  I had assumed it was an Educational establishment from the title rather than what is in effect a lobby organisation, for big business. For many of us the other side of the Pond we feel fortunate not to have had 4 years of alternative facts.

Thanks for sharing the source it does help to understand someones viewpoint. I have been to the US a few times, mostly to Montana and Wyoming and it is such a different world to us in Europe. I live in a village with a population of about 700. we are about 8 miles from a town of 7000, 12 miles from one of 30,000 and 10 miles from one heading to 200000.  We are 50 miles from London and no one is ever more than about 3 hours drive from the coast.  We have no accessible trails to ride.  A very different life from much of the US. We do however have a national power grid, so  Offshore power is put into the UK wide grid, as does Solar, Nuclear, Hydro power and Gas and we are actively encouraged to generate our own power (wind or solar) feed it back to the grid and get paid for it. I gather the US is very different. Oh and we have no coal power stations now.   But we dont have to drive 80 miles to the supermarket.

We share a language but live in very different ways. I worked in flood risk management for close on 20 years and even in that short time we saw dramatic changes. With so many of our population at risk of coastal and river flooding, and an increasing frequency of very major flooding, climate change is a reality for many of us here. In fact we all end up paying the costs of such things. People here are definitely more in tune with our changing world. This year EVs out sold DIesel vehicles for the first time ever. All makers will be selling mostly EVs in less than 5 years.

But back to my original question.

What would you need to consider a shift to an electric EV, forget the claims and counter claims. Is low running costs, limited maintenance, no exhaust fumes or noise something that would be an advantage.?

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