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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Okay folks, you heard it here first. Everyone wonders what's happening at Polaris with all the recalls and why they are so hard at work on things seemingly other than fixing their existing RZR's. I believe the answer is that they believe their future is NOT in the current internal combustion engine but rather in their new electric high power machines.

I know this is a shock but I'm going to lay out exactly why I'm confident in this fact. I know it's a long post, you don't have to read it though. If you choose to, I think you'll agree with me.

Let's establish one fact. Polaris is THE innovation leader in the UTV space today. They don't follow, they don't copy, they lead the way. This wasn't always the case, as you'll recall Yamaha started it all in 2004 with the Rhino. Yamaha again stepped up with the XYZ. Polaris will NOT be releasing a 2017 manual shift. Why not, because they aren't followers.

Now we can take a trip down memory lane of how this new (yet to be announced) electric model found it's DNA. In 2011 Polaris took on a huge equity round and had cash burning holes in their pockets so they went on a acquisition tear that would help them become they company that matched the future as they saw it. They made a very interesting acquisition of GEM (Global Electric Motorcars) from General Motors that year.

Polaris Industries Inc. - Polaris to Acquire Global Electric Motorcars LLC (GEM)

GEM was the leading low speed onroad electric vehicle at the time with $30 million in sales in 2010. At the time of the acquisition there were more than 45k GEMs on the road. As of 2015 there were only 50k GEMs on the road. Hmmmm... terrible investment for Polaris it sounds like right? Plummeting sales since 2011. I guess Polaris learned their lesson and got out of the electric vehicle market. Actually... that wasn't the case at all. Polaris secretly discovered that it's the market they want to be in.

Around the time of the GEM acquisition they made another buy to deepen their reach into the electric vehicle market. Also in 2011 they bought french electric vehicle company Goupil. Haven't heard of them? Actually, they are a leader in French onroad electric vehicles.

Polaris to Acquire Goupil Industrie SA | Business Wire


Fast forward a two years later to 2013 and they acquire Axiam, a electric (and some ICE) french car company

POLARIS ACQUIRES AIXAM MEGA | Polaris Industries

This marks yet another push into the electric vehicle market. Starting to sound interesting...

Just a couple years later in 2015 they make a major acquisition again of Brammo, a top electric motorcycle company.

Polaris Acquires Brammo Motorcycles - Motorcycle USA

This is strange...? Why make this acquisition? They've already bought GEM which "failed" then bought two major French electric vehicle companies. This is a curious enough but what is really fascinating are the comments made by Polaris CEO at the time of the acquisition, you can read the full press release but he mentioned that Polaris is committed to "...bringing our consumers lithium-ion electric solutions.". He goes on to note that that Polaris has "collaborated <with Brammo> on a number of projects in motorcycles, off-road and on-road vehicles." Really? We've not seen these off road products (YET). What makes this aquisition most significant is that Brammo was really known for its groundbreaking lithium Ion powered drivetrains and the patents involving them. Polaris needed this tech and patent protection to get a high powered off road vehicle off the ground since traditional battery tech was too heavy to be practical, now they have it. The most telling thing to understand about this this acquisition is this - Polaris bought the company and SHUT IT DOWN. No kidding, Brammo stopped producing motorcycles. Polaris simply wanted their technology.

I guess Polaris has everything it needs now right? WRONG. They weren't done yet, mere months after the Brammo acquisition, in March 2016 they announced the acquisition of Taylor Dunn.. Who the harry honky is Taylor Dunn? The leading provider of electric industrial vehicles, that's who.

Polaris Acquires Taylor-Dunn | Business Wire

All these quiet acquisitions have brought us to where we are today. Polaris is the leader in worldwide electric vehicles. Nerds like me have noticed that Polaris also changed their tag line on their corporate announcements to include "...on/off road electric vehicles"

So I've answered the question of "why Polaris", now the question of "why now?".

The off road market has always been a target for electric vehicle revolution. We are constantly at battle with landowners whose biggest gripe is that we're LOUD and that we're DIRTY. We drop oil and gas into rivers and streams and we wake the neighbors with our aftermarket exhausts. We also have raging battle nationwide to allow our vehicles on the road. An electric RZR would solve these needs. They are silent, they are clean and they are easily made street legal in all 50 states (a second key for low speed may be required). The only thing stopping the widespread launch is BATTERY technology. Traditional lead acid is far too heavy. This means results in lower HP and lower run times. Today, lithium ion and similar tech is changing all of that. Don't get me wrong, Lithium Ion tech has been around for awhile, there are lots of RC enthusiasts on this site, we all know how that technolgoy changed the RC industry. It's just been way too expensive, TILL NOW. Battery tech has advanced to the point that it's affordable and guess what? Polaris owns a lot of the new tech that made that possible.

My Conclusion

SPOILER ALERT - it's already been done! There has already been a release of a few electric UTVs. Can Am released one in 2013

2015 Can-Am Commander E LSV SE | motorcycle review @ Top Speed

It was TERRIBLE. It was too heavy too slow and all around pretty useless. This was all the fault of one simple fact - BATTERY TECH. I guess we'll just have to wait for Polaris to finally come out with an off road electric UTV. WAIT - they already have.. Sort of. Polaris (through GEM) released the eM1400 which is an off road capable electric side by side. Just like in 2004 when Yamaha released the Rhino, Polaris took note and decided they could do way better. 4 years later they released the game changing RZR. I'll note that 4 years after the release of the Electric Commander is 2017 :)

http://www.polaris.com/en-us/gem-electric-car/em1400-lsv


Sure, it's not RZR but that's okay, Polaris was testing the waters to see how design, development and customer reception would go. They're now preparing to release the child of all of their past electric knowhow into their new high power off road electric UTV. I'll update this post with the press release when they announce it!
 

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I think you are spot on. My business partner has already bought two electric Polaris utv' for hunting. One is a new lithium ion version. They still lack the get up and go of a gas powered machine but they are getting closer. We know it's possible though just by looking at the Tesla's with ludacris mode.

Interesting post, thanks for sharing!
 

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What happens if you run out of juice in the woods...15 miles from your rig?

Would need to create a solar panel for the roof.

Interesting read and to think about. Love the amount of torque that electric motors provide.
 

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What happens if you run out of juice in the woods...15 miles from your rig?

Would need to create a solar panel for the roof.

Interesting read and to think about. Love the amount of torque that electric motors provide.
A friend in AK bought a couple Polaris electric Rangers a few years ago. He was comcerned with range so he carried a Honda generator with him. :rolleyes:

Eventually sold them both. Really expensive, especially in AK.
 

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Okay folks, you heard it here first. Everyone wonders what's happening at Polaris with all the recalls and why they are so hard at work on things seemingly other than fixing their existing RZR's. I believe the answer is that they believe their future is NOT in the current internal combustion engine but rather in their new electric high power machines.

I know this is a shock but I'm going to lay out exactly why I'm confident in this fact. I know it's a long post, you don't have to read it though. If you choose to, I think you'll agree with me.

Let's establish one fact. Polaris is THE innovation leader in the UTV space today. They don't follow, they don't copy, they lead the way. This wasn't always the case, as you'll recall Yamaha started it all in 2004 with the Rhino. Yamaha again stepped up with the XYZ. Polaris will NOT be releasing a 2017 manual shift. Why not, because they aren't followers.

Now we can take a trip down memory lane of how this new (yet to be announced) electric model found it's DNA. In 2011 Polaris took on a huge equity round and had cash burning holes in their pockets so they went on a acquisition tear that would help them become they company that matched the future as they saw it. They made a very interesting acquisition of GEM (Global Electric Motorcars) from General Motors that year.

Polaris Industries Inc. - Polaris to Acquire Global Electric Motorcars LLC (GEM)

GEM was the leading low speed onroad electric vehicle at the time with $30 million in sales in 2010. At the time of the acquisition there were more than 45k GEMs on the road. As of 2015 there were only 50k GEMs on the road. Hmmmm... terrible investment for Polaris it sounds like right? Plummeting sales since 2011. I guess Polaris learned their lesson and got out of the electric vehicle market. Actually... that wasn't the case at all. Polaris secretly discovered that it's the market they want to be in.

Around the time of the GEM acquisition they made another buy to deepen their reach into the electric vehicle market. Also in 2011 they bought french electric vehicle company Goupil. Haven't heard of them? Actually, they are a leader in French onroad electric vehicles.

Polaris to Acquire Goupil Industrie SA | Business Wire


Fast forward a two years later to 2013 and they acquire Axiam, a electric (and some ICE) french car company

POLARIS ACQUIRES AIXAM MEGA | Polaris Industries

This marks yet another push into the electric vehicle market. Starting to sound interesting...

Just a couple years later in 2015 they make a major acquisition again of Brammo, a top electric motorcycle company.

Polaris Acquires Brammo Motorcycles - Motorcycle USA

This is strange...? Why make this acquisition? They've already bought GEM which "failed" then bought two major French electric vehicle companies. This is a curious enough but what is really fascinating are the comments made by Polaris CEO at the time of the acquisition, you can read the full press release but he mentioned that Polaris is committed to "...bringing our consumers lithium-ion electric solutions.". He goes on to note that that Polaris has "collaborated <with Brammo> on a number of projects in motorcycles, off-road and on-road vehicles." Really? We've not seen these off road products (YET). What makes this aquisition most significant is that Brammo was really known for its groundbreaking lithium Ion powered drivetrains and the patents involving them. Polaris needed this tech and patent protection to get a high powered off road vehicle off the ground since traditional battery tech was too heavy to be practical, now they have it. The most telling thing to understand about this this acquisition is this - Polaris bought the company and SHUT IT DOWN. No kidding, Brammo stopped producing motorcycles. Polaris simply wanted their technology.

I guess Polaris has everything it needs now right? WRONG. They weren't done yet, mere months after the Brammo acquisition, in March 2016 they announced the acquisition of Taylor Dunn.. Who the harry honky is Taylor Dunn? The leading provider of electric industrial vehicles, that's who.

Polaris Acquires Taylor-Dunn | Business Wire

All these quiet acquisitions have brought us to where we are today. Polaris is the leader in worldwide electric vehicles. Nerds like me have noticed that Polaris also changed their tag line on their corporate announcements to include "...on/off road electric vehicles"

So I've answered the question of "why Polaris", now the question of "why now?".

The off road market has always been a target for electric vehicle revolution. We are constantly at battle with landowners whose biggest gripe is that we're LOUD and that we're DIRTY. We drop oil and gas into rivers and streams and we wake the neighbors with our aftermarket exhausts. We also have raging battle nationwide to allow our vehicles on the road. An electric RZR would solve these needs. They are silent, they are clean and they are easily made street legal in all 50 states (a second key for low speed may be required). The only thing stopping the widespread launch is BATTERY technology. Traditional lead acid is far too heavy. This means results in lower HP and lower run times. Today, lithium ion and similar tech is changing all of that. Don't get me wrong, Lithium Ion tech has been around for awhile, there are lots of RC enthusiasts on this site, we all know how that technolgoy changed the RC industry. It's just been way too expensive, TILL NOW. Battery tech has advanced to the point that it's affordable and guess what? Polaris owns a lot of the new tech that made that possible.

My Conclusion

SPOILER ALERT - it's already been done! There has already been a release of a few electric UTVs. Can Am released one in 2013

2015 Can-Am Commander E LSV SE | motorcycle review @ Top Speed

It was TERRIBLE. It was too heavy too slow and all around pretty useless. This was all the fault of one simple fact - BATTERY TECH. I guess we'll just have to wait for Polaris to finally come out with an off road electric UTV. WAIT - they already have.. Sort of. Polaris (through GEM) released the eM1400 which is an off road capable electric side by side. Just like in 2004 when Yamaha released the Rhino, Polaris took note and decided they could do way better. 4 years later they released the game changing RZR. I'll note that 4 years after the release of the Electric Commander is 2017 :)

2016 GEM eM1400 LSV - Street Legal Electric Utility : Features


Sure, it's not RZR but that's okay, Polaris was testing the waters to see how design, development and customer reception would go. They're now preparing to release the child of all of their past electric knowhow into their new high power off road electric UTV. I'll update this post with the press release when they announce it!
Now, if they could apply all this expertise to customer relations with regard to their recall methodology.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
What happens if you run out of juice in the woods...15 miles from your rig?

Would need to create a solar panel for the roof.

Interesting read and to think about. Love the amount of torque that electric motors provide.

This is a common argument and it has merit for sure. At least with a regular engine you can carry gas cans. The argument was also common before cars started going electric. It seems Tesla put those arguments down by putting out something that can go 250+ miles.

That fact has never bothered me but I'm also not a long mileage guy. I'm usually good for less than 100 miles per day. If you're a person that regularly breaks into your gas cans deep in the bush then they wouldn't work for you. Keep in mind, they will likely make it compatible with a 120v outlet so if you normally stop for gas or lunch you could just plug in at a ga station (or one of the increasing number of charging stations) for a half hour or hour to get you home.

I just think that 90% of RZR riders don't venture more that 50 miles from a charging source. We all dream of it but how many actually do it? I'm sure someone will respond with "heck, if we don't do 300 miles in a day and burn through my tank plus 5 gas cans then it ain't ridin!" Okay, fine, you're one of the 10%.
 

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I wouldn't want to be one of the first guys to ford a stream in one of them. For that matter I'd pretty nervous every time I did it!
 

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Discussion Starter #8
I wouldn't want to be one of the first guys to ford a stream in one of them. For that matter I'd pretty nervous every time I did it!

Also a common concern, also logical. If that much electricity shocked you it would be lights out. That being said, sealing a battery against water intrusion is far easier than sealing internal combustion engine. Once sealed it would be able to ford the deepest water crossing.
 

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Electric SxS's are a great concept. I would entertain a dependable electric utility SxS for relaxed pace cruising, hunting or working around the property. However when it comes to the sport segment, I want an engine. I want to hear the exhaust note, feel the vibration and smell the fumes.
 

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Electric SxS's are a great concept. I would entertain a dependable electric utility SxS for relaxed pace cruising, hunting or working around the property. However when it comes to the sport segment, I want an engine. I want to hear the exhaust note, feel the vibration and smell the fumes.

I agree 100%!
 

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Polaris would probley ask for more than a Tesla would cost for an electric UTV.. So I believe even if they launched this in 2017.. It would 2-4 yrs before the price would be reasonable enough for us common working class folk..
 

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Can't remember what brand, but a friend of mine has an electric SxS for hunting. It was close to $26,000. It is nice and really quiet, which nice for hunting. His has a small generator built in for when or if he runs out of power out in the woods. It's like most smart cars. It automatically switches on when needed and it also is pretty quiet. He's had for almost three years now.
 

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Awesome. I'm really curious about this. Electric packs a huge punch and would be amazing at low speed crawling. Full torque at 0RPM, extremely smooth throttle progression. This could change the game for guys that rock crawl and trail ride. I think it wouldn't hold up to guys that do long desert runs due to capacity. But guys tooling around something like Wind Rock would likely be fine. Fewer mechanical parts should help maintenance too.
 

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Until the first lithium battery gets punctured and it goes into thermal run away bursting into flames and hopefully not injuring anyone..... As long as they figure out how to protect and cool the battery it might be cool.
 

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Something to think about isn't just range, but energy. Since we don't buzz down roads with these, range isn't a good indicator since we could be flying through the desert or rock crawling. Think about gas having an equivalent to 33kwh of energy. RZR holds 9 gallons, so around 300kwh of energy. The Tesla 3 only has a 60 kWh battery, why? Motor efficiency. Gas engines are only 25% efficient while electric motors can be 75% efficient. Usually electric motors can be directly connected without a transmission, so the gas engine sees another 20-30% reduction in energy that the electric motor does not.

So a gas engine will only put down about 15-18% of the energy in its fuel, while an electric motor will put down upwards of 75%. That means you need roughly 5x less energy onboard for the same effective energy. Other factors including regenerative braking and a smart motor controller can bring that effective energy even higher.

The issue is still battery weight. One gallon of gas is equivalent to a 300lb lithium ion battery pack! Even with the efficiency differences and the weight savings from going with an electric motor instead of a gas engine, there are going to be issues.

Really interested to see if Polaris goes this direction.
 

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Until the first lithium battery gets punctured and it goes into thermal run away bursting into flames and hopefully not injuring anyone..... As long as they figure out how to protect and cool the battery it might be cool.
Since we all know Polaris has an impeccable track record with fire safety in the gasoline products. :rofl3:
 

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Polaris can't even come up with a reliable voltage regulator in the current vehicles!!!. Hope they do there homework.
 

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Discussion Starter #20
Something to think about isn't just range, but energy. Since we don't buzz down roads with these, range isn't a good indicator since we could be flying through the desert or rock crawling. Think about gas having an equivalent to 33kwh of energy. RZR holds 9 gallons, so around 300kwh of energy. The Tesla 3 only has a 60 kWh battery, why? Motor efficiency. Gas engines are only 25% efficient while electric motors can be 75% efficient. Usually electric motors can be directly connected without a transmission, so the gas engine sees another 20-30% reduction in energy that the electric motor does not.

So a gas engine will only put down about 15-18% of the energy in its fuel, while an electric motor will put down upwards of 75%. That means you need roughly 5x less energy onboard for the same effective energy. Other factors including regenerative braking and a smart motor controller can bring that effective energy even higher.

The issue is still battery weight. One gallon of gas is equivalent to a 300lb lithium ion battery pack! Even with the efficiency differences and the weight savings from going with an electric motor instead of a gas engine, there are going to be issues.

Really interested to see if Polaris goes this direction.
Milligan,

This is super interesting info, you seem to have a really deep knowledge, is this an industry you work in? I think you're right, even with current battery tech it's an uphill battle but if you're right and 1 gallon of gas equals 300lbs of lithium ion battery (I'm curious BTW where you got this stat) and combined with your stat that an electric motor set up is 5x as efficent then my simpleton math tells me that 300 lbs of batter equals the same output as 5 gallons of gas in an ICE RZR motor. That's not far off the current output. When you remove the need for gas (60lbs) and the engine (150lbs) plus all the fluids that support the engine like coolant, oil, etc. (10lbs) plus the transmission that wouldn't exist ((75lbs) plus all the drivetrain (50lbs - i'm assuming they'd run 4 small hub motors so no axles to break) you've shaved roughly 350lbs off the machine. Add back in your 300lbs in batters and your 4 small motors (20lbs each) and your wiring and controller (20lbs) you're not too far off the current weight of a rzr but with 1/4 the number of moving parts and a WAY lower center of gravity.
 
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