All-electric off-road vehicles are about to get a serious upgrade with the launch of Nikola Motors’ Zero UTV side-by-side. With a market release date scheduled for “sometime in 2018,” the 555-hp Nikola Zero is capable of 200 miles on a single charge and is poised to disrupt the entire UTV industry.

The 555-hp UTV

With Nikola finalizing the Zero’s specs this week and a Ride n’ Drive event already scheduled in Southern Utah, the wheels are in motion to bring this super powerful side-by-side to market. Just imagine the possibilities of a 555-hp UTV as it rips through a dirt canyon path or remote forest trail. The 400-volt Zero is equipped with two four-motor powertrain options and at the baseline level, is packed with 415-hp and 368 lb-ft of torque.

It’s really tough to compare the Zero UTV to any other off-road UAV mostly because the specs don’t match up. Nikola Motors’ all-new side-by-side will be breaking new grounds with regard to performance and battery capacity. Capable of 0-60 mph in 3.9 seconds, buyers can choose the elite package which gives the driver 555-hp and 490-lb-ft option. The Zero is way beyond the power levels of existing UTV’s currently on the market. The Can-Am Maverick X3 Turbo, considered by most to be the most powerful side-by-side, is capable of 172-hp. Similarly, the Polaris RZR XP Turbo yields 172 hp – a far cry from the 555-hp the Nikola Zero touts.

Electric Vehicle Technology

UTV“The advantage of the electric motor is that you only use what you need, when you need it,” Nikola Motors said on its website. “You are not penalized by having electric motors with greater horsepower and torque. The motors only take the exact amount of energy they need to perform as directed and not a kilowatt more – so when you need that extra horsepower and torque to climb a hill or towing, you have it. When you don’t need it, you don’t use it.”

The built-in battery technology is impressive, especially for an off-road side-by-side UTV. Nikola Zero’s comes with a lithium-ion battery maxing out at 125 kWh. According to a recent New Atlas article, this is larger than any electric passenger car currently on the market and is “similar to Lucid Air’s planned 400-mile 130 kWh battery pack.” Switching to the 4 x 4 driving mode gives drivers a good 200 miles of range. For those that don’t need the elite power package, you can drop down to 75 kWh and 100 kWh battery options.

Intelligent Design Features

UTVIf Nikola Motors comes through with its predicted performance, it will instantly become the most powerful UTV on the market – beating out the Can-Am Maverick by a half-a-second off the line. The 0-60 mph in 3.9 seconds is an incredible feat yet to be achieved by any side-by-side electric UTV and if achieved, will completely revolutionize the off-road electric vehicle industry.

As for other notable features, Zero comes with a state-of-the-art front/rear suspension system, 32-inch tires on deadlock wheels, and a 4 x 4 torque vectoring option. Whether it’s anti-lock brakes, traction control, anti-roll protection, electric power steering, or LED headlights, Nikola’s Zero comes with a running list of available options – giving the adventure sports enthusiasts the ability to fully customize their UTV.

With the option of adding a 4-kW solar charging system, riders will have the advantage of ripping around the remote backwoods and dirt trails in an eco-friendly electric vehicle designed for incredible performance.

Source: Nikola Motor Company, New Atlas