- Andy Hitch
Electric UTV, ATV, Dirt Bikes, and Jeep Rentals
Since I was a little boy, I've been ripping around on gas powered dirt bikes, ATV's, and off road trucks. I honesty never thought I'd see the day where electric vehicles took over. I'm not saying they will, but times are changing and major things are happening behind the scenes.
My first introduction to the electric world happened in 2015 when the Alta Redshift motocross bike came out. They have since been bought out by Harley Davidson so they could bolster their electric future. Yes, even Harley will have electric bikes soon.
Honestly, I thought the Alta was stupid at first. I know the price sure was stupid. Selling at just over $15,000 (twice that of a gas bike). However, in late 2015 I was able to test ride one on the track. I come from riding current year pro setup 450's. I know power and speed. The 450 doesn't have anything on the electric bike. The problem with the Alta was it's too fast and too powerful. I couldn't keep the tire stuck to the dirt. All it wanted to do was spin with all that power and when it did hook up, the damn thing was trying to flip you over backward. When you smack that throttle, it shot off like a rocket. Personally, I think there was way to much battery power there. Which also added to the weight (something I didn't like).
I ended up buying a new one in 2018. Living in the mountains and sort of close to people, I wanted a stealthy bike. I have 7 miles of fast and some really technical single track on my property. I road that bike every day for a while. It seemed like I could never settle into it. The front end was overly heavy due to the massive battery, and like I said before, I couldn't get the traction. Actually, what it came down too was throttle control and momentum. If you had a steep rocky hill in front of you with no run at it, the bike was impossible to control.
I ended up selling it and I bought a Sur-Ron electric dirt bike / mountain bike. It's basically a mountain bike with pegs and large battery. However, it only weighs 110 LBS. I've been tooling around on it now for 2 years. Basically, it's like riding a KX85. It's fun, but it's too small, suspension isn't up to par, and it doesn't have enough power and speed. Sur-Ron is slated to come out with a full size electric dirt bike in the next few months. It's just like the Alta. Looking at the specs and details on it, she is gonna have the same issues as the Alta.
One day soon, someone is going to figure out that the electric motocross bike is going to need a clutch. I guess you could call it a reverse throttle if you wanted. In short, you need to be able to slip the throttle like you slip a clutch for cornering, climbing, and jumping. Just because an electric bike doesn't need a clutch, doesn't mean it shouldn't have one. When that day comes, I'll get rid of my gas powered motocross / enduro bike.
I can't say the same for the electric vehicle market. Years of research and billions of dollars have been invested in the design of the trucks coming to the market in 2021. The only question is charging. However, this is the focus right now. You may not know it, but if you do the research you'll see. Soon, and I'm talking only a couple years down the road, almost every gas station in the U.S. is going to have fast charge stations. When you have companies like Ford, who is spending billions on the development and release of an electric F-150 and Mustang in 2021, you can bet your last buck you'll be able to charge them everywhere.
Ford, Chrysler, and GM are all jumping in the game with electric sports cars and 4x4 trucks. This is where all the money is going right now. Like it or not, electric is the future.
Think about it. 500 mile range on a single charge. Home charging stations. 0-60 in as little as 4 seconds. True 4 wheel drive where all 4 tires are spinning. Everything under the hood is gone, so you'll have all that extra storage. All that, and they're coming it at gas powered prices.
Now you have a few companies talking about electric power in the Side x Side market. Imagine a Razor that can do 0-60 in 3 seconds and has the equivalent of 200 HP. I have been paying really close attention to this since I'm in the ATV rental business. Even Jeep is talking about an electric version in 2021. As a Jeep rental company, I'm watching that as well.
For me, it's a two fold issue. Not only is this going to be the future, it will solve many problems we have on the trail right now. Gas powered machines are loud. Plus, when they get wrecked, sometimes they can start on fire. I have a permit with the U.S. Forest Service. I know noise and fire danger concern them a great deal. Not only that, but the noise bothers campers, hikers, and nearby land owners. You may not realize it, but 100% of the problems in my business center around noise. I have no choice but to follow the potential of electric power vehicles closely. If and when electric UTV's come out and are in regular production, I may have no choice but to jump on board. Having said that, I can tell you for a fact that by the time it does happen, everyone will be on board. The UTV market will be the very last piece of the puzzle.
The world is changing fast. Old timers like myself need to get on board. It's happening whether we like it or not. Gas is stupid. It's expensive and it pollutes the environment. Not to mention the wars we've fought over it for decades. There are those who argue the huge hit the oil job market will take. That's a very real point of view if you're looking at it with blinders on. Truth is, the green energy industry is growing REALLY fast and is in serious need of people. I have one friend who finally realized it and made the switch. He's been working the rigs for a couple decades. He ended up doing 2 years of technical education and came out the other side with a job paying more than he made in the oil fields. Plus, his new job has a rock solid, long term future with room to grow. I have another friend who just went straight from the oil fields to installing solar. He's making bank and getting ready to start his own company after he witnessed the potential.
There are those who like to argue that fossil fuels power charging stations. That may be true to some degree right now. Electric power is in it's early stages. However, if you've researched how many windmills and solar plants are being built right now, you can plainly see the direction this is all going.
I am neither a republican or democrat. I hate politics to be honest and don't trust any politician. However, it is very easy to see the future if you follow the money, and ALL the money is going into green energy and electric power.
In my opinion, it will take years before a full switch happens. All I'm saying is that it is within sight now. So, now's the time to get on board or be left holding a flip phone while everyone else is sporting the latest and greatest smart technology. If anything else, now is the time to invest in green energy and products. I have another buddy who works in the oil fields. He hates green energy and electric power anything. However, he is investing his 401k in green energy. He may be old school, but he's not stupid. Hell, he's the one who talked me into investing a few bucks in green energy.
On a personal note, I will say this: I live in the mountains of Colorado. I'm a bit of a survivalist. I hunt and grow my food. My place has a well, wood stove, and even though I have electricity, I'm in the process of building a full solar system. Eventually, I'd like to be off the grid completely. I hate having to rely on utility companies. Adding a bad ass electric power 4x4 to my life would allow me to punch out entirely. I guess I could saddle up the horse, but I'd rather ride in the lap of luxury if at all possible.