Back in September the news was announced that Polaris and Zero would be teaming up to electrify off-road vehicles and snowmobiles. It was an incredibly big deal then, and it remains a big deal now. Polaris has finally shown off a teaser of the first vehicle in the joint-development portfolio, a new Ranger EV side by side.
Some SxS enthusiasts will be quick to point out that the Ranger has already been offered as an electric work truck for years, but this new version will finally incorporate lithium ion batteries and a more powerful motor. The current Ranger EV is powered by a 30 horsepower motor, while Zero already has some motorcycles with as much as 110 horsepower motors.
The ten-year deal will give Polaris an advantage over the competition by absorbing Zero’s already well-proven electric technology, and Zero will benefit from the massive sales and marketing push Polaris can devote to such a product. As a huge company, Polaris can help keep Zero in the lead by developing economies of scale for things like batteries and castings.
It is interesting to note that Polaris is calling this new Ranger EV a “full-sized” UTV, so it should be a bit bigger than the current Ranger EV’s mid-sized dimensions. Not only will the larger dimensions help with load capacity, but lighter lithium batteries will mean the new Ranger won’t have to compensate for as much battery weight and size in its cargo box.
Polaris hasn’t yet announced any real substantial information about the electric Ranger, but you can expect it will be big and expensive. Current Ranger EV models are priced from $11,899, which is a $2,400 price premium over the 32-horsepower gasoline-powered Ranger 500. The vehicle is said to be launching in December of this year, with wide distribution coming early 2022. We expect this isn’t the last time we’ll hear about the electric side-by-side before the order books open.
Back when we spoke to the CEO of Zero and the now-stepped-down CEO of Polaris, both were excited for the future of their respective brands and the collaborative agreement. While neither indicated that the agreement would see Zero electric tech brought into the Indian motorcycle brand, I still contend that it would be awesome. In any case, I look forward to seeing the final electric Ranger unveiled soon.