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Le sport

Polaris’ new Ranger XP Kinetic is an all-electric side-by-side with a lot of horsepower

Polaris has unveiled the Ranger XP Kinetic, an all-electric side-by-side and the first vehicle to emerge from the collaboration between the Minneapolis-based company and Zero Motorcycles.

Polaris is hoping the electric Ranger will help attract new customers to the world of power sports vehicles, which also include ATVs, snowmobiles, personal watercraft, and heavy motorcycles. The segment, which currently represents over $9 billion in sales globally, is expected to grow to over $12 billion by 2027, according to market researchers. And Polaris, through its partnership with Zero Motorcycles, is hoping to expand its lineup of electric vehicles.

The first will be the electric Ranger, which comes in two trim levels, Premium and Ultimate, priced at $24,999 and $29,999, respectively. Packing 110 horsepower and 140 pound-feet of torque, Polaris claims the Ranger XP Kinetic will be the most powerful utility side-by-side it’s ever produced. That represents 35 percent more power and two times more torque than any other utility side-by-side on the market, Polaris says.

Unlike ATVs, which are recognizable for their straddle-seated position and handlebar steering, UTVs are used more for work than recreation. The large, powerful vehicles are commonly used to haul equipment and supplies in locations that make using a truck impractical or impossible. They are also called side-by-sides because they can accommodate both a driver and a passenger.

The new Ranger will have a towing capacity of up to 2,500 lbs and a hauling capacity of 1,250 lbs. That’s a similar towing capacity to the company’s gas-powered Ranger XP 1000, which starts at $18,799. Towing in an electric vehicle also drains the battery at a faster rate, which reduces range and requires more frequent charging.

To help with charging, Polaris is teaming up with Qmerit to consult with customers on home charger installation. The Ranger XP Kinetic comes with a Level 1 and 2 charging cable that enables charging from either a 120-volt or 240-volt plug.

In many ways, the Ranger XP Kinetic is the lightweight, versatile electric vehicle that farmers, hunters, and outdoorsy types may find over time they actually prefer over heavier, higher-profile EVs, like the Ford F-150 Lightning. Sure, the Ranger won’t be able to match the electric F-150’s towing capacity and range, but it will certainly handle a wide variety of tasks while taking up far less space and costing tens of thousands of dollars less than Ford’s upcoming EV.

The Ranger’s two trim levels represent different battery capacities. The Premium trim is equipped with a 14.9kWh battery, offering an estimated range of up to 45 miles, while the Ultimate trim sports a 29.8kWh battery allowing an estimated 80 miles of range. The Ultimate trim also features a seven-inch infotainment screen powered by Polaris’ connected vehicle software and dash-mounted speakers.

The electric Ranger’s noise profile — or lack thereof — is also being presented as a selling point. Polaris notes that the quiet-by-comparison electric motor will allow for “stealthy trips to remote hunting spots; quiet operation around horses, livestock and other animals; and landowners can do yard work and other property maintenance early in the morning without disturbing the neighbors or family.”

Polaris’ gas-powered Rangers generally range in price between $20,000 and $22,000 and are popular vehicles with agriculture workers, hunters, and other outdoor lovers. Whether customers will be willing to pay 25 percent more for their vehicle may come down to more than just a lack of engine noise.

To that end, Polaris is also hoping that the prospect of cheaper maintenance costs — 70 percent cheaper, by the company’s estimate — will be enough to sway its customers to the higher price tag. The electric Ranger doesn’t require oil changes, filter replacements, spark plugs, or clutch maintenance, Polaris says.

The Ranger XP Kinetic has been “torture-tested in extreme conditions and treacherous terrain” but will still come with a one-year factory warranty, three-year electric powertrain coverage, and five-year battery coverage.

Polaris and Zero Motorcycles signed a 10-year agreement last year to produce a range of electric vehicles, including ATVs, UTVs, and snowmobiles. Both companies hope to seize upon what they think has been an overlooked market for electrification, starting with off-road vehicles and snowmobiles, with the ultimate goal to completely electrify Polaris’ lineup by 2025.

Zero has been occasionally described as the “Tesla of motorcycles” and has established itself over the years as a top-tier maker of electric motorcycles. The Santa Cruz, Calif.-based company currently sells a number of models priced between $10,000 and $17,000.

The electric Ranger is being designed and developed by Polaris and Zero at a facility in Wyoming, Minnesota, with manufacturing to take place at Polaris’ facility in Huntsville, Alabama. The first vehicles are expected to roll out to dealerships early next year.