Choosing which UTV / side-by-side to buy is never an easy decision but now with full-size electric variants entering the market – like the new all-electric Polaris RANGER XP Kinetic – the choice has become even greater. So which is better a petrol/diesel or electric UTV?
Read about the new RANGER XP Kinetic here.
Which is cheaper – electric or petrol/diesel vehicles?
Typically, petrol and diesel vehicles are cheaper to buy upfront than electric vehicles, but that doesn’t necessarily mean they are cheaper to run in the long term.
The demand for electric engines has soared in the last few years and although they tend to be more costly initially, the running costs are typically much lower than those of a petrol or diesel engine, due to the fact that they have fewer moving parts.
An electric powertrain does not require oil changes, filter replacements, spark plugs or clutch maintenance, and based on current UK electricity and fuel prices, running a vehicle can be a lot cheaper by charging than refilling with fuel, per mile.
Taking the Polaris RANGER XP Kinetic as an example, the scheduled maintenance costs are expected to be 70% less than average maintenance costs for similar fuel-powered vehicles (Manufacturer estimate based on average scheduled maintenance costs over the course of a 5-year timeframe).
What is the difference in range?
The range of petrol and diesel side-by-sides vary depending on the fuel capacity, but in most cases, range is less of a concern given that the tank can simply be refuelled. For electric, however, range is an important factor in a buying decision to ensure the vehicle can fit around your personal requirements and driving situations. For EVs, the range varies depending on the number and size of the batteries. Generally, UTVs have a smaller range than a typical electric car on the market; namely because they are smaller and more lightweight, and the range requirement tends to be much less (it’s not often that UTVs are driven long distances).
The range of electric UTVs is also constantly evolving as new technology and advancements are made. Taking the RANGER XP Kinetic as an example, Polaris has significantly upgraded the range of this electric UTV to ensure it is capable of taking on even the most demanding utility tasks with a single charge. The Premium trim contains a single 14.9 kWh lithium-ion battery that offers an estimated range of 45 miles (70 kilometres), while the Ultimate trim delivers 29.8 kWh of battery capacity and offers an estimated range of 80 miles (130 kilometres)*.
What is more convenient – fuel or electric?
Whilst many would be quick to answer this as being a traditional fuel-powered vehicle, simply because fuel is so readily available and the fact it takes minutes to refill, both of which being very valid points; but it is not necessarily the correct answer for every user.
For many, refilling with fuel when it’s needed is what they are used to, and therefore what is most convenient for them. With electric however, some users find a “charging routine” that works for them, meaning they do not need to factor in refuelling to their daily routine; they simply put the vehicle on charge where it is stored when not in use, like overnight or on a lunch break, and use it as normal during working hours. For the majority of people, a Polaris electric UTV provides more than enough range to carry out daily tasks between charges.
Taking the Polaris RANGER XP Kinetic as an example, users can simply plug in the RANGER to a 240V outlet and within five hours the electric side-by-side is ready to go again. Providing there is always a power supply nearby, an electric UTV is no inconvenience, just a change to routine.
Which has better off-road capabilities?
When buying a utility off-road vehicle – petrol or electric – there is usually one thing that all customers need from their vehicle: To be able to drive off-road.
Designed to do just that, ATVs and UTVs are small, lightweight, and almost always feature off-road tyres and four-wheel-drive. So, is there any difference in off-road driving capabilities if it has a combustion vs electric engine?
It goes without saying that all vehicles will drive differently off-road, which can be simply down to how much power they have, what driving modes are on offer, and what terrain they are traversing across. Electric vehicles are known to have more low-end torque, allowing them to accelerate faster and get out of tricky situations easily, but because of the battery weight, some models could be heavier.
The RANGER XP Kinetic offers the most horsepower and torque ever found in a utility side-by-side, with a class-leading 110 horsepower and 140 lb-ft of instantaneous torque that delivers maximum power and quick acceleration when it’s needed, and weighs just 21kg more than the full-size petrol RANGER XP 1000*.
*Curb weight of the XP Kinetic Premium MD homologation compared to XP 1000 EPS Deluxe MD homologation. Read more about homologations here.
What are my choices between electric, petrol and diesel UTVs?
We’ve covered this in a separate article – What type of UTV: Electric, Petrol or Diesel?