Electricity and off-road vehicles seem like natural bedfellows, when you stop and think about it. (See: the new GMC Hummer EV.) Off-roading is about getting away from civilization and appreciating nature — something much easier (and less impactful) when piloting a vehicle that emits little noise and no smelly, toxic emissions. And don't forget that the instantly available torque of electric motors provided added security and control in low-speed, low-traction conditions that pop up all the time when rock-crawling or trail-chasing.
Until recently, the biggest problem has been that EV batteries simply haven't delivered enough range to make off-roading particularly feasible. With that changing, though, a new realm of electric off-road playthings is opening up. Zero Motorcycles and Polaris, for example, are teaming up to create new EV snowmobiles and UTVs in the near future ‚ but they're not going to be the only game in town. A new company called Volcon is looking to snag a chunk of the nascent EV powersports market — and their first product, an electric off-road motorcycle called the Grunt that's set to hit the trails next spring, just might have what it takes to woo internal combustion die-hards over to riding the lightning.
After all, the Grunt sounds awfully enticing, at least on paper. The EV bike will offer to to 100 miles of range, with a battery that can be hot-swapped on the go and the ability to be charged up in two hours on a household outlet. 75 pound-feet of torque means it'll be capable of reaching its 60 mile-per-hour top speed in six seconds flat from a dead stop. And the powertrain is rated to the IP67 waterproof standard, meaning you need fear no stream; indeed, the company says it can even be ridden underwater.
After the Grunt will come a pair of four-wheeled electric off-roaders: the Stag, a side-by-side set to debut in late 2021 with up to 225 horsepower and 150 miles of range, and the Beast, a four-seat UTV expected to arrive in 2022 that reportedly will be able to go 80 mph and dash from 0-60 mph in 4.5 seconds thanks to a maximum of 450 horses and 600 lb-ft of torque.
Of course, many a vehicular startup has made lofty promises that wound up deferred or denied. Still, if the Grunt proves as capable as it seems, Volcon seems to be setting themselves up to carve out a good-sized chunk of the soon-to-be-exploding EV powersports market. We can't wait to try it out.