Nikola’s new electric UTV shown shredding competition, including Ford

Quimby Mug Bayou Florida
Updated Dec 21, 2017

You know vehicle development has taken an interesting turn when an all-electric UTV is powerful enough to not only easily shame off-road competitors but top sports cars, too.

Nikola Powersports released a video this week showing its new plug-in 4×4 Nikola NZT (formally Nikola Zero in development) getting a late start against both the 2017 CanAm Maverick X3 Turbo and the 2017 Polaris RZR 1000 Turbo, and yet it still easily makes it first to the finish line.

As if the beating laid on the Polaris and CanAm wasn’t enough, the Nikola NZT is shown at the end of the video absolutely devastating what appears to be a Ford F-150 Raptor on a dirt straightaway.

The stunning performance of the NZT was a thorough reminder of the unmistakable dominant power and torque that EVs have to offer. With options offering up to 590 horsepower and 722 lb. ft. of torque, there just aren’t many vehicles on the street or on the dirt that can keep up.

“With 0-60 mph in the three-second range, the Nikola NZT is the most powerful production UTV ever built,” said Trevor Milton, founder and CEO, Nikola Motor Company. “It outperforms many high-end sports cars and comes with features like electric power steering, 33-inch tires, 20 inches of wheel travel, anti-lock brakes, stability control, anti-rollover, traction control and torque vectoring. Once you drive one, you will sell every gas-powered UTV you have and join team Nikola.”

Regarding range concerns, Milton wisely points out that most recreational UTVs won’t be used more than 25 miles a day, making the Nikola NZT more than ready for the challenge. The UTV’s three battery options, 75kWh, 100kWh and 125kWh are capable of 90-150 miles of range in o­ff-road conditions. An IP 67 waterproof rating is designed to keep all those electronics dry on soupy terrain.

Getting airborne is part of the fun when off-roading, and while 20 inches of wheel travel on the Nikola NZT is impressive, it’s not clear how it can handle hard landings with all those batteries.

The NZT lineup will include four models: NZT 440, NZT 352, NZT 280 and NZT 198. The numbers represent the kW output of the UTV, with the NZT 198 starting at $28,900 and coming in at 2,300 lbs. Reservations for all models are now open and require no deposit.

Existing reservation holders that have made deposits will receive a refund and maintain their position in line.

“Nikola is refunding all existing deposits. Many other companies are using customer deposits to fund their operations, but Nikola is not one of them. Customers can now reserve their Nikola NZT with no money down,” said Jordan Darling, Nikola Powersports vice president.

Production for the NZT will begin in the fourth quarter of 2018 with deliveries to dealerships for Spring 2019 sales. Options and features can be found on www.nikolapowersports.com.