Off-roading is no longer exclusive to traditional cars with internal combustion engine. With the continued progress of technology over the past decades, more and more electric vehicles are equipped with impressive off-road capabilities. In this article, we’ll look at the best electric off-road vehicles and important considerations when buying one for yourself.
The Best Electric Off-Road Vehicles for Outdoor Adventures
Polaris Ranger XP Kinetic
The Polaris Ranger XP Kinetic is powerful, quick, and quiet. But if there are two good reasons to love this electric vehicle, it would be its performance and silence.
Electric vehicles are not completely silent. But thanks to its well-designed powertrain, the Polaris Ranger XP Kinetic makes exceptionally less noise than its rivals. This means you can carry out conversations without shouting and hand signals or avoid startling other people or wildlife as you drive through the environment.
The Ranger XP Kinetic delivers 140 pound-feet of torque—twice the amount of power than other side-by-side utility vehicles. To put it simply, it has enough juice to drive over hills and obstacles and accelerate faster.
To add to that, it comes with a powerful 110-horsepower electric motor to give you the confidence to pull heavy loads and run on rough tracks. Its rear-tilting cargo box can carry up to 1,500 pounds, while its 2-inch receiver can tow up to 2,500 pounds.
The Ranger XP Kinetic has three drive modes: Eco+, Standard, and Sport. Use the Eco+ if you want to limit top speed and torque. The Sport mode helps you get the most out of spirited driving. But for daily driving, the Standard mode is best for the job.
Daymak’s Dune Buggy 3000
The Daymak’s Dune Buggy 3000 might remind you of the 1968 Meyers Manx dune buggy, except it features an exposed frame made of tubular steel. This is a two-seater off-road electric vehicle with a maximum load capacity of 386 lbs (175 kg), so it should be able to accommodate just about any adults.
Compared to the Polaris Ranger XP Kinetic, the Dune Buggy 3000 is a lot lighter. It has a dry weight of 550 lbs and a payload capacity (amount of weight it can safely carry) of 386 lbs (175 kg).
It has a 3 kilowatt-hours (kWh) motor, which draws power from a 60-V 50-Ah lead acid battery. It can travel up to 25 miles per hour (mph). There’s also an LED screen, so it’s easier for you to keep track of its speed, distance traveled, and remaining battery power.
The Dune Buggy 3000 features dual 13-inch coil gas shocks on the front and dual 19-inch coil gas shocks on the back. These gas-charged shocks ensure you’re comfortable and safe as you race across tough terrains.
So, it’ not a crazy powerful electric vehicle for off-roading. If you’re looking for one that would blow the doors off, this isn’t it. But to be fair, it’s still fun to drive over mud, sand, rocks, and snow.
The Stag is used for recreation and work. It’s designed with four seats, adjustable suspension, and today’s leading technologies.
Similar to other Volcon UTVs, the Stag is equipped with General Motor’s class-leading electric propulsion system. The GM propulsion system delivers instant high torque and power, resulting in faster acceleration and greater speed in any terrain.
It delivers a combined 125 horsepower and 265 pound-feet of peak torque. To boost its overall motor output to over 140 horsepower, it comes with an optional Paddle Shift with overboost mode. There’s also Volcon’s four-wheel drive (4WD) system to make sure the Stag doesn’t lose traction and remain stable, regardless of your speed and the terrain you’re driving on.
The performance of the Stag can be optimized using various modes:
- The Eco mode squeezes out more than 100 miles on a single charge.
- The Overboost mode unleashes a crazy output of over 140 horsepower.
- The Sport mode allows a faster throttle response, so the vehicle accelerates more readily.
- The Tow mode limits the maximum speed of the vehicle, which in turn allows it to tow up to 1,550 lbs.
Rindev Unity Side-By-Side
The Tron-inspired exterior of the Rindev Unity Side-By-Side will surely catch anyone’s attention. But aside from its too-cool exterior, you’ll probably love the idea that you can remove all the doors and windows to feel the wind on your face or customize the Unity according to your needs. And when it’s all sealed up, it can automatically control the interior temperature.
Rindev boasts the Unity carries impressive specs: 507 horsepower, 1,037 pound-feet of torque, 250 to 350 miles of range (depending on the model), a suspension travel of at least 21 inches (front and rear), a respectable 3,000 pounds of towing capacity, and 32 inches tires.
While the aforesaid specs are impressive, Rindev is yet to provide information about the estimated weight of the Unity Side-By-Side. They also didn’t say the number of motors that’ll power the wheels of this electric off-road vehicle.
The Wolfgang Thundertruck looks and is built like a beast. Think of it as a larger and more versatile off-road version of Tesla’s Cybertruck.
The Thundertruck comes with a variety of accessories to make your driving more efficient and comfortable. But one of the most innovative of these is the roof rack system that stores bat-wing-like and collapsible solar panel awnings, which have two important purposes: serve as a shade and charging station wherever you go.
There are two versions of the Thundertruck that you could choose from:
- The 4×4 version weighs approximately 6,120 pounds. It can produce a whopping 800 horsepower and 800 pound-feet of torque, allowing it to tow up to 7,500 pounds. On a single charge, it can run as far as 400 miles. With a ground clearance of 14.5 inches, it’s more than capable of driving over rough terrain.
- If you have the extra cash, you might want to splurge on its 6×6 version, which is capable of 940 horsepower. It has a ridiculous 1,200 pound-feet of torque, allowing you to tow up to 11,000 pounds. It can reach distances of up to 560 miles per charge. Its ground clearance is similar to the 4×4 version.
Vanderhall Brawley GTS
The Vanderhall Brawley GTS is one handsome-looking electric off-road vehicle that might remind you of the Jeep Renegade. But aside from its sleek and rugged features, it’s purposely designed to be fun and off-road capable.
This off-road electric vehicle has seating for four adults. When fully enclosed, its air-conditioning system keeps the interior cool or warm in different weather conditions. What’s even more exciting is it can go topless and the roof has a removable section.
Each wheel has separately controlled electric motor, allowing you to choose any of its four modes: eCrab, eCrawl, eSteer, and eTank. With 404 horsepower and 480 pound-feet of torque, it’s not as powerful as the Wolfgang Thundertruck, but having a 200-mile driving range on a single charge isn’t bad at all.
Vanderhall provides various charging methods for the Brawley GTS, such as an onboard 6-kilowatt charger. Its DC fast-charging station and 300-volt architecture allow the battery to be charged up to its 80 percent capacity in just one hour. To make sure you get more driving range and extend the life cycle of the battery, it’s equipped with an advanced battery conditioning system.
Other features and optional accessories of the Brawley GTS include heated seats, Kicker’s Bluetooth sound system, windshield wipers, ViDAR (Visual Detection and Ranging) system, and various color options for the seat belts.
Tesla’s Cybertruck is still to be launched on the market in 2023, according to CEO Elon Musk. However, this futuristic off-road vehicle has already stirred the interest of many worldwide.
There’s still no word about the size of the batteries. But what they did reveal is each model will come with a 250-kW charging cable.
Here’s what we know so far about the Tesla Cybertruck:
When it comes to its exterior design, the Cybertruck looks like it came from the distant future. It has a sleek, sharp-edged exterior that’s made from corrosion- and dent-resistant, 3-millimeter-thick stainless steel that they described as “ultra-hard 30X cold-rolled stainless-steel.”
This class of stainless steel—the 300-series stainless steel—has already been used by other car manufacturers. The Delorean Motor Company used it (stainless steel 304) in their DMC-12 sports car. In the ‘60s, the Ford Motor Company has tinkered with this material (stainless steel 302) for their Lincolns and Thunderbirds.
In addition to its almost impenetrable stainless-steel exoskeleton, Tesla installed high-strength, polymer-layered glass on the Cybertruck. Tesla claims this armor glass can absorb and divert force of impact during collisions or other types of accidents to improve damage tolerance and prevent you from losing control of the vehicle.
Unlike the other electric off-road vehicles in this list, the Cybertruck is available in three motor options:
- Tesla claims the single-motor model (rear-wheel drive) can reach up to 60 mph in 6.40 seconds, with a top speed of 110 mph. There are unverified reports that Tesla might abandon this model.
- The dual-motor model (AWD) can reach the same speed at 4.5 seconds, with a 120 mph top speed.
- But if you want the fastest acceleration, the three-motor model (AWD) can go from 0 to 60 mph in just under 2.9 seconds.
The Cybertruck has a driving range of up to 500 miles. It has a towing capacity of 7,500 to 14,000 pounds, depending on the motor version. The touted payload capacity is 3,500 pounds.
The Nikola NZT is a fully enclosed electric off-road vehicle. But if you want to shift to open-air driving, you can remove the top of the vehicle. The 18 inches travel, multiple rebound and compression stages, and dual speed compression adjusters work together to give you the confidence to tackle any off-road driving conditions.
The NZT can produce a staggering 775 pound-feet of torque and 590 horsepower, which allows it to go from 0 to 60 mph in just 4 seconds and tow up to 3,000 lbs. It can also travel 150 miles on a single charge.
One of the most interesting features of the Nikola NZT is its IP68-rated electric motors. This means that its electric motors can continue working, even if you submerge them in water (including seawater) with a depth of up to 40 meters.
Ford F-150 Lightning
All models of the Ford F-150 Lightning have an all-wheel drive and two electric motors. With a standard-range battery, it can travel up to 230 miles. But if you plan to travel long distances, the extended-range battery and the Platinum model can bump that number to 230 miles and 300 miles, respectively.
One of the highlights of the F-150 Lightning is its eager acceleration that can go from 0 to 60 mph under 4 seconds. The motors efficiently work together to produce 452 horsepower (or 580 horsepower with the extended-range battery) and 775 pound-feet peak torque, resulting in an impressive 10,000-pound towing capacity.
There’s no question the Rivian R1T pickup truck has a stand-out style. But its impressive off-road capability, well-designed storage areas, spacious cabin, and quick acceleration are the real reasons you’ll want this in your garage.
The R1T can safely pull as much as 11,000 pounds and carry up to 1,760 pounds. As you might’ve guessed, this is going to deplete the battery faster, so it’s a good idea to get the model with the largest battery pack.
Rivian says the R1T pickup truck can travel between 260 and 400 miles, or possibly farther, depending on the motor and battery pack you choose. It comes with eight driving modes to give you the freedom to adjust the all-wheel drive, ground clearance, pedal response, and suspension to fit your unique needs.
6 Important Considerations When Buying an Electric Off-Road Vehicle
Like their gasoline-powered counterparts, there are a few technical specs and features on off-road electric vehicles that you should carefully consider. Hint: It’s not just the brand and price. Let’s briefly talk about some of them below.
Range means the distance an electric vehicle can travel on a single charge. There are different factors that could affect an electric vehicle’s range, including:
- Terrain: The steeper the road, the more power is needed to move an electric vehicle (EV).
- Weather: According to the American Automobile Association (AAA), cold weather can reduce your electric vehicle’s range by more than 40%.
- Charging: Depending on the model, electric vehicles can give 70 to 300 miles on a single, full charge.
- Load: The weight of the vehicle and the load it’s carrying can also affect range. If your electric vehicle is heavy, or if it’s towing something heavy, the more energy it consumes. As a result, the range is going to be slightly smaller.
2. Charging Time
On average, it could take 3 hours to 20 hours to charge an electric vehicle. However, the time needed to fully charge this type of vehicle will depend on several factors, including battery size, charging adapter, charger capacity, and power source. For instance, if you use a Level 1 charger, it might take up to 50 hours to charge your electric vehicle from empty.
When it comes to off-roading, lightweight vehicles are usually the best options because they’re easier to control on tricky terrain. They also require less force to get moving.
Electric vehicles tend to be heavy because of their batteries, flexible suspension, and reinforced framework. Their heavy weight has its downsides, but it also has its upsides. The extra weight from the batteries lowers the center of gravity of the vehicle, which prevents it from flipping over when making sharp turns or driving a steep incline.
Ideally, you want an electric off-road vehicle with a wheelbase that’s not too short and not too long. The most common wheelbase length for off-roading is between 108 and 117 inches. However, in many off-roading circles, you could still get away with a wheelbase of approximately 100 inches long.
A short wheelbase is less stressful because it creates a smaller turning circle, which means it’s easier to maneuver around tight spaces. Meanwhile, a long wheelbase distributes your vehicle’s weight further apart to ensure a smooth ride and prevent it from rolling over while off-roading.
5. Ground Clearance
Ground clearance plays a crucial role when it comes to off-road riding. You want a high ground clearance to decrease the chances of damaging your electric vehicle’s batteries and undercarriage.
The usual ground clearance of vehicles for off-roading ranges from 8.8 inches to 10.8 inches (possibly higher). But it really depends on the terrain and obstacles you plan to ride on.
6. Technology and Accessories
Electric off-road vehicles of today are performing much better because of the advances in EV technology and accessories. These vehicles might come with regenerative brakes (which help recharge the batteries), smart charging solutions, remote health monitoring, vehicle locator system, and much more.