Prior to the turn of the millennium, the idea of a fully-electric off-road vehicle was practically unheard of, however, as EV technology has rapidly progressed over the last two decades, advancements in range, power, and weight reduction have collectively made battery-powered powertrains increasingly conducive to all-terrain use. The major technological leaps and bounds witnessed over the last few years alone have ultimately now culminated in a rapidly expanding segment of go-anywhere EVs — the latest and greatest of which we’ll be counting down today in this guide to the best electric off-road vehicles currently available.
In addition to counting down our picks for the most capable and noteworthy models presently in production, we’ll also be exploring the myriad of unique benefits and drawbacks associated with electric off-roaders, as well as a handful of the most important factors to consider when shopping for one. So, whether you’re interested in a battery-powered workhorse or an all-electric all-terrain thrill machine, this list has you covered.
All-Terrain EV Shopping 101
The Ten Main Areas To Consider When Buying An Off-Road EV
While electric off-roaders share a great many similarities with their petrol-powered counterparts, there are a handful of elements that are unique to the EV segment. Directly below, we’ll briefly touch on the top ten most crucial factors to take into account before pulling the trigger on your purchase.
Weight: One definite drawback to electric cars, motorcycles, or all-terrain vehicles, is the immense weight of their battery packs. While this problem is somewhat mitigated by the immense power these machines produce, it’s still very much worth reviewing the curb weight of any electric off-roader, as this one metric will play a significant role in any model’s performance and driving characteristics.
Power: Electric and gas-powered engines both have their own respective strengths and weaknesses, however, one area where EVs undeniably have petrol-fed powertrains beat is in the immense power the former group produces. More specifically, EVs tend to generate incredible amounts of torque — which is made all the better by the fact that said torque is delivered instantly, rather than only being accessible at a certain point in an engine’s powerband/rev-range. This ample low-end power also plays a massive role in why EVs lend themselves so well to off-road use.
Speed & Performance: Factors such as a vehicle’s curb weight and power figures do provide some sense of real-world performance capabilities, though it still helps to have access to other metrics such as top speed and acceleration times — figures that are routinely advertised by marques.
Off-Road Capabilities: On top of speed and performance, straight-up off-road capabilities are another extremely important area to review, as this gives an informed sense of a vehicle’s all-terrain abilities. As such, you’ll want to explore a given model’s ground clearance, suspension travel, how steep of a hill it can climb, and its approach, break-over, and departure angles.
Range & Charging: One definitive downside to EVs is their limited range. It is worth mentioning that advancements in EV battery tech have unlocked some impressive range figures, with autonomy that’s comparable to gas-fed engines. Unfortunately, EVs still have the drawback of not being able to quickly be refilled like a regular gas engine, requiring what are often lengthy charging times — albeit this too is quickly changing. As such, it’s imperative to review a given model’s real-world off-road range, as well as its charging time.
Protection: Unlike driving on paved roads or the tarmac of a racetrack, driving off-road opens a vehicle up to all manner of possible damage and harm. Knowing this, a great many of today’s manufacturers have opted to bestow their respective electric off-roaders with a host of crash protection in the form of skid plates, bull-bars, roll-cages, and other items to fortify the engine, frame, and cabin of a vehicle.
Passenger Seating & Storage Space: Side-by-sides and other all-terrain vehicles are sold in a variety of different seating configurations. This includes everything from single-passenger models, to two-seaters to four-seaters to six-seaters. What’s more, some models are largely devoid of storage space while others feature ample room for storing cargo and gear. Quite a few models on the market also sport exterior racks and mounts for externally carrying additional gear.
Running Gear: Just like with any other type of high-performance machine, the performance and handling of an electric off-roader is largely owed to a vehicle’s running gear. As a result, you’ll likely want to look into the components an all-terrain EV has been outfitted with, such as its suspension setup and braking hardware.
Cabin & Comfort: Though they’re all built for off-roading, all-terrain EVs can hugely differ in terms of how comfortable and well-appointed some cabins are compared to others, with some machines being incredibly spartan, with open-air mil-spec-esque setups while others take inspiration from modern luxury cars with fully-sealed, ultra-plush interiors brimming with creature comforts.
Extras & Add-Ons: Though pretty much every vehicle on our list is fairly capable in its stock form, a decent number of manufacturers do offer optional add-ons and upgrades. This includes everything from extra battery packs to solar charging awnings to available onboard cameras and off-road GPS systems.
Daymak Dune Buggy 3000
A modern, skeletonized take on a Meyers Manx-style machine, the Daymak Dune Buggy 3000 is just about as spartan and barebones as an off-road EV can get, consisting of just an exposed frame, suspension, wheels, a pair of seats, and little more. Weighing just 550lbs at the curb, the Dune Buggy 3K offers a 25-mph top speed, a range of around 25 miles, and the ability to climb hills of up to 30 degrees. Kicked along by a 3,000-watt motor drawing from a 60-V 50-Ah lead acid battery, Daymak’s Dune Buggy 3000 also features a multi-function LED display, three USB charging ports, adjustable race bucket seats with multi-point harnesses, LED headlights, and dual 13” front and dual 19” rear coil gas shocks.
Range: 25 Miles
Polaris RANGER XP Kinetic
First unveiled in late 2021, the Polaris RANGER XP Kinetic is a fully-electric workhorse — as well as what the brand calls a “Utility Task Vehicle.” Requiring 70% less servicing than petrol-powered UTVs, the RANGER XP Kinetic is powered by an interior PMAC motor that was developed in collaboration with Zero Motorcycles and puts down an industry-leading 110hp and 140ft-lbs of torque, affording it a 2,500-lb towing capacity and an industry-best 1,250-lb haul rating. Riding on 29″ eight-ply Pro Armor X-Terrain tires, the RANGER XP Kinetic has also been outfitted with a full-body skid plate, 10″ of suspension travel, 14″ of ground clearance, and steel push bumpers — all as standard. Alongside the base model version — known as the Premium — Polaris also produces an Ultimate version of the UTV that starts at $29,999.
Power: 110HP & 140FT-LBs
Range: 45 Miles
The RINDEV Unity is an excellent example of how EV tech can massively benefit the off-road Powersports sector. This battery-powered side-by-side packs a state-of-the-art powertrain that generates a whopping 507hp and an even more impressive 1,037ft-lbs of instantaneous torque — all of which is sent to the ground via an advanced all-wheel-drive setup. Best of all, the Unity SxS still manages to deliver a range of up to 350 miles on a single charge, plus its battery pack is compatible with Level 1, 2, and 3 charging. IP69K-rated, this high-performance off-roader also boasts a 62” track, a sealed cabin with a climate control system and an onboard 120-volt outlet, a 3,000-lb towing capacity, all-LED lighting, an integrated skid plate, 32” tires, a top speed exceeding 70mph, race-spec shocks offering 21” of suspension travel fore and aft, and a built-in self-diagnostic AI system that alerts the driver if a component breaks or fails.
Power: 507HP & 1,037FT-LBs
Range: Up To 350 Miles
Though the company is still in its infancy, Volcon has quickly become one of the leaders in the EV Powersports space with a growing range of high-tech and extremely competent electric off-roaders. The Texan brand’s Stag is a high-performance side-by-side that’s capable of delivering some serious thrills while still being able to serve as a bonafide workhorse. Powered by a 107-kW motor, the Volcon Stag produces class-leading power figures with up to 140hp and 265ft-lbs of torque on tap — resulting in a top speed of 80mph, a 1,550lb payload capacity, and a 2,000-lb towing capacity. Equipped with EV components from General Motors, the vehicle draws from a 42-kWh battery that offers a range of over 100 miles and requires a recharge time of only six hours, too. Other noteworthy elements include multiple drive modes including on-demand four-wheel drive, seating for four, 26.7 cubic feet of bed space, a 64” track, and a fully-connected, tech-laden cockpit with two TFT displays, a pair of onboard action cameras, and connectivity to the Volcon smartphone app.
Power: 140HP & 265FT-LBs
Range: 100+ Miles
Vanderhall Brawley GTS
After spending its first half-decade in operation producing retro-inspired three-wheeled roadsters, Utah’s Vanderhall Motor Works has more recently ventured into the off-road EV market with the ultra-luxurious and ridiculously capable Brawley GTS. The top-of-the-line GTS-spec Brawley sports a sealed cabin with an onboard air filtration system, heating, air conditioning, a Bluetooth-enabled sound system, and four full-size diamond-stitched leather seats with four-point harness. This electric off-roader is propelled by an in-wheel quad motor setup that makes 404hp and 480ft-lbs of torque. Not only does the machine offer class-leading energy density thanks to the use of cutting-edge NMC pouch cells, but it also boasts a range of up to 200 miles and can receive an 80% charge in under an hour (when using a DC fast charger). And, with a 90-degree approach angle, a 76” track, 18” of ground clearance, 22” of suspension travel, and 18″ Wheels shod in beefy 35” all-terrain tires, the Brawley GTS can take on just about any terrain. What’s more, this model also gets a myriad of drive modes including a dedicated off-road mode, as well as counter-phase four-wheel steering, and the ability to crab walk and rotate in place.
Power: 404HP & 480FT-LBs
Range: Up To 200 Miles
The Wolfgang Thundertruck is almost certainly the most unique and innovative model on this list. The off-road EV is able to do 0-60mph in 3.5 seconds and features roof storage pods, a deployable solar awning, and a deployable drone that relays typographical info back to the Thundertruck’s holographic display. Offering approach and departure angles of 48 degrees and 82 degrees respectively, the truck offers a standard 400-mile range and is powered by a dual motor setup that generates 800hp and 800ft-lbs of torque. Wolfgang’s inaugural offering also features an incredibly sleek design, with futuristic bodywork and equally futuristic-looking wheels. The most interesting aspect of the Thundertruck, however, is undoubtedly its available 6×6 upgrade, which adds an extra axle and set of wheels, allowing the truck to up its torque to 1,200ft-lbs and horsepower to 980, while also boosting its range to a whopping 560 miles per charge. The 6×6 module also upgrades the Thundertruck’s towing capacity from 7,500lbs up to 11,000lbs.
Weight: 6,120LBs (or 7,560LBs)
Power: 800HP & 800FT-LBs (or 940HP & 1,200FT-LBs)
Range: 400 Miles (or 560 Miles)
Absolutely loaded with cutting-edge tech, the Nikola NZT is a next-gen side-by-side that can go toe-to-toe with some of today’s most capable gas-powered SxS models. Able to do 0-60mph in just four seconds flat, the NZT is powered by a 400-volt in-wheel quad independent motor setup that makes a very healthy 590hp & 775ft-lbs of instantly-accessible torque. Riding on 17” Beadlock cast aluminum wheels wrapped in 35″ Kevlar-reinforced all-terrain tires, the NZT has been equipped with a 125-kWh Lithium-ion battery pack that offers a range of up to 150 miles and can receive a complete recharge in only two hours (when using a DC fast charger). The NZT has also been bestowed with all-LED lighting, a 3,000-lb tow rating, a full underbody skid plate, and FOX 3.0 Factory Series Internal Bypass shocks that offer 18” of travel. Boasting a 72” track and 12” of ground clearance, the NZT also features an interior with an IP68 waterproof 7″ instrument cluster, a 13″ infotainment display, onboard front and rear cameras, and a fully integrated Rockford Fosgate sound system. Nikola also gives buyers the option for a full hard top, power windows, and a climate control system.
Power: 590HP & 775FT-LBs
Range: Up To 150 Miles
Overland-E Explorer 750
The Overland-E Explorer 750 is a wildly-sleek off-roader that’s built atop a modular “skateboard” EV platform. Constructed around a state-of-the-art space frame, the vehicle uses graphene battery technology that allows the Overland-E Explorer 750 to offer 750 miles of autonomy on a single charge, while still delivering a payload capacity of over 3,300lbs. Flared fenders on the EV provide space to accommodate the off-roader’s all-terrain wheels and the long-travel suspension setup that they’re connected to. The Explorer 750 also sports an integrated roof storage system, a set of roof-mounted auxiliary lights, a winch, side-mounted jerry cans, and a bed with a removable cover that’s big enough to accommodate a trio of full-size spares. Alongside the graphene battery tech, the Explorer 750 also hugely benefits from Overland-E’s strategic partnerships with Expeds, Pario Ventures, and SPARCO.
Range: 750 Miles
Desert Runner Runner-Ups
While they didn’t make our list of the best eight models on the market, there are a few other noteworthy machines worth considering when looking for a battery-powered off-roader. Below, we’ll highlight two of these honorable mentions.
Graft UTV XC.24
Just like the Polaris RZR RS1 and Honda’s old-school Pilot, the Graft UTV XC.24 is a single-seater side-by-side that was designed to fit inside the bed of a standard pickup truck. Built around a 4130 Chromoly steel frame with a competition-grade roll-cage, the UTV XC.24 features four independent motors that generate 105hp & 147.5ft-lbs of torque — all of which is sent to the ground via a four-wheel drive system with electronics differentials. Alongside boasting rack and pinion steering, this single-seater EV also sports three-way adjustable suspension with billet A-arms and uprights that offer 7.87” of suspension travel front and back. Other details include multiple battery pack options, a touchscreen display, an ultra-low center of gravity, Sparco race seats with multi-point harnesses, and a roof spoiler with an integrated LED light bar.
Power: 105HP & 147.5FT-LBs
XINGMOBILITY Miss R
Touted as the “world’s first dual-personality supercar,” the XINGMOBILITY Miss R is an on-road, off-road-capable thrill machine that’s constructed around a carbon monocoque frame. Good for an astonishing 1,341hp and 1,268ft-bs, the Miss R is capable of clocking 0-60ph runs in just 2.2 seconds and can reach a top speed of 167mph. This sleek supercar also offers 155 miles of autonomy per charge, though its 52-kWh battery pack can be completely swapped out in only three minutes. Razor-sharp handling is also afforded through the use of a double A-arm configuration with an inboard pushrod suspension setup.
Power: 1,341HP & 1,268FT-LBs
Range: 155 Miles
The 10 Best All-Terrain Vehicles Available Right Now
Interested in checking out a selection of the latest and greatest off-roaders that aren’t limited to vehicles of the EV variety? Then be sure to cruise on over to our guide to the best all-terrain vehicles available right now for a curated list of ten more, ultra-capable go-anywhere machines.
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