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Why electric ATVs are gaining an edge over Gas ATVs

Automotive | Feb, 2021

Motorized off-road vehicles, also recognized as All-Terrain Vehicles, or ATVs, designed to travel on low-pressure tires for easy mobility on rough and rugged terrain are increasingly becoming popular due to their surprising number of applications. These vehicles are versatile, rugged, and nimble vehicles, that are a great joy for riding. The ATVs are highly adaptable to the environment so they can be used for off-road travel and activities such as camping on remote spots, planting your garden, snow ploughing, ice fishing, load supplies, etc. For someone who lives close to nature or have a taste for truly gnarly trails can incorporate ATVs for off-road exploring as a fun lifestyle. A lot of factors come into play while choosing the most suitable ATV such as tires ideal for the terrain, size of off-road vehicle, age of rider, power of vehicle, ATV cost, rear suspension, brakes, and type of riding. But the real debate starts when it comes to choosing between gas-powered ATVs and electric ATVs.

While electric ATVs have come into existence only a few years ago, they have been giving a tough competition to gasoline-powered ATVs and have earned quite a reputation owing to their advantages. ATV manufacturers are making the vehicles better inculcating new technology, capable of traversing through any kind of terrain, rocks, mountain, or dirt just like a typical gas-powered ATV. Here are some of the obvious advantages of Electric ATVs over Gas-powered ATVs.

According to TechSci research report on “Global All Terrain Vehicle Market By Product Type (Utility ATV, Sport ATV & Youth ATV), By Engine Displacement (Medium, Low & High), By Application Type (Entertainment, Agriculture, etc.), By Region, Competition, Forecast & Opportunities, 2016 – 2026”, Global all terrain vehicle market stood at above USD7 billion in 2019 and is expected to continue the same growth at CAGR of approximately 6.5%, on the back of increasing use of all terrain vehicles (ATVs) in agriculture, entertainment, forestry, defence, and several other sectors. Moreover, ease of manoeuvrability and usage of ATVs along with increasing off-roading sports activities is further pushing demand for all terrain vehicles, globally. Additionally, other factors like growing demand for electric ATVs, major technical developments in ATVs and anticipated launch of several new models are likely to aid the growth of the market in the coming years. 

Low operation noise

The gasoline-powered ATVs make a lot of unnecessary noise, which can be distracting and frustrating for some people who want to enjoy their ride in silence whereas electric ATVs are completely silent, which makes exploring in the wilderness more immersive. The quietness of two electric battery motors allows one to carry out different activities in silence and enhance productivity of the operations. The disruptive noises that traditional combustion engines make can lead to many chronic diseases and mental health issues. The silent electric ATVs also make them friendlier on neighbours’ ears and serve as an advantage for hunters who do not want to scare off their prey. Even the police forces can use electric ATVs for patrolling urban areas, scouting, or carry out rescue operations without the buzzing gas engine underneath them all day. Only the fainting electric noise and sound of the tires on the trail is audible while driving electric ATVs.

Eco-friendly alternative

Gas-powered ATVs generate more pollution than an average car, emitting generous amount of carbon dioxide while driving that contributes to rising greenhouse gases and they are also not very fuel-efficient. Choosing electric ATV is a way towards going green as they do not produce any direct CO2 into the environment. With a small carbon footprint, the electric ATVs can enable the driver to explore nature without polluting the nearby surroundings. Since electric ATVs do not burn gas, they do not give away the awful smell of the fumes that traditional ATVs do. Thus, electric ATVs ensure a clean and eco-friendly environment with no sound or air pollution. Many farms produce electricity through solar panels, which could be utilized to charge ATV batteries, which makes the vehicle even more environment-friendly machine.

Better Torque and Acceleration

As electric ATVs are not equipped with gasoline engines, close to 100% of their power is available immediately. Pressing the acceleration pedal, the driver can get access to maximum torque, making the get up and go relatively faster than traditional ATVs as horsepower peters out quickly. On the other hand, the gas-powered vehicles need to be driven slowly to drag heavy objects and do not provide a lot of acceleration and torque. Since most ATVs use Lithium-ion batteries, they do not consist of a heavy transmission system to deliver power, which makes them lighter, easy-to-maintain, and cost-effective in the long run.

Easy to operate

Contrary to popular belief, electric ATVs make a great option for teenagers as they are easy to operate and can be handled extremely well. Gas-powered ATV typically weighs at least 350 lbs whereas electric vehicles significantly weigh less due to lighter body and electric motor. Equipped with front drum brakes, rear hydraulic braking system, front and rear racks, electric ATVs provide a smooth off-roading experience, reducing the chances of accidents. The design of electric vehicle is relatively simple than traditional ATVs, considering all the moving parts of an engine and the systems that feed into the engine are replaced with a battery. Some electric ATVs also consist of an attached LED display, which provides valuable information such as battery level, indicator, digital speedometer, tachometer gauge, low voltage alarm, etc. The LCD backlight at the back of electric ATV helps to provide optimal visibility as well.

Low maintenance

Gas-powered ATVs have multiple moving parts, all of which need a fair amount of maintenance from time-to-time to keep the motor running efficiently. On the contrary, electric ATVs have 1000 fewer parts (sensor, cooling engine, gasoline, etc.) and the replacement parts are locally available and reasonably priced, which reduces the maintenance costs. The operational costs of running ATVs are lower than those that operate on gas with a major reduction in the cost of gas and oil. Typical electric ATV that uses a 40V lithium battery usually takes around 2 hours to charge with a dual-port charger and requires replacement after 2-3 years, but the same batteries can be recycled or reused. Some premium quality batteries can be utilized for even more than 6 years if maintained properly. The motors of electric vehicles can run for 10,000 km without inspection or cleaning until that point. In addition, the cost of charging a lithium-ion battery is significantly less than buying a tank of gasoline. Most lithium batteries have an average operation range between 40 km and 160 km, depending on the model.

Reduced risk of accidents

Many people have a misconception that owing an electric-powered vehicle can be dangerous assuming that the batteries could catch fire easily. However, the lithium-ion batteries rupture only when they are overheated or overcharged, which in extreme conditions could result in combustion, but the same thing can occur in lithium batteries inside laptop or cell-phone. There have been more reported incidences of vehicle fires with combustion vehicles than electric vehicles, thus they are considered as safer alternatives.

Limitations of electric All-Terrain Vehicles

While the electric ATVs offers a range of benefits, some limitations might hinder the market growth of electric ATV market.

·     Driving electric ATV aggressively for long hours can drain the battery, reducing the amount of torque and horsepower that the vehicle can produce. It takes 8-10 hours to fully recharge an electric ATV battery whereas it is a lot easier to refuel the tank and ride with a jug of gas while driving a gas-powered ATV.

·     While an electric motor is more efficient for pulling and hauling a payload, the added work can drain the batteries faster, so the driver needs to plug the electric vehicle into an outlet for 8-10 hours before continuing.

·    Over the broad range of ATVs, gas-powered vehicles offer more options in terms of style and type. The electric off-road vehicle market is still new so the manufacturers do not have much of a dealership networks and finding parts of the electric vehicles can also become a problem.  

·       While electric ATVs do not emit out harmful greenhouse gases, they surely require a decent amount of energy to charge the batteries, which comes at the cost of exploitation of other energy sources such as coal-fired furnaces, petroleum extraction, etc.

According to TechSci research report on “Global All Terrain Vehicle (ATV) Market, By Product Type (Sport Utility ATV, Utility AT, etc.), By Engine displacement (Low, Medium and High), By Application (Sports, Forestry, etc.), By Company and By Geography, Forecast & Opportunities, 2013 – 2023”, Global all terrain vehicle market stood at USD6.3 billion in 2017 and is projected to grow at a CAGR of 6.8% to reach USD9.3 billion by 2023, on the back of increasing use of all terrain vehicles (ATVs) in agriculture, entertainment, forestry, defense and several other sectors. Rising disposable income, increasing off-roading sports activities, growing demand for electric ATVs and strong technical developments in ATVs are some of the other factors that would aid the market in the coming years. Moreover, expected launch of several new models is anticipated to fuel the global all terrain vehicle market during the forecast period.

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