Is the future of the UTV market electric? Nikola thinks so. At the recent Sand Sports Super Show, Nikola revealed its electric side-by-side four-seat model—the NZT. We had a chance to check it out and go for a ride on Nikola’s test track at the show.
Nikola got its start in the automotive industry building electric semitrucks. The company has plans to bring two electric semitruck models to market and is currently accepting reservations via its website. Nikola’s CEO is a huge power sports enthusiast, so it’s not surprising the company is steering in the direction of an electric UTV.
The NZT boasts up to 590 hp, which is surprisingly more than the most popular, gas-powered side-by-sides on the market today. According to a Nikola representative, the vehicle can get going at 85 mph. It accelerates from 0 to 60 mph in just 3.5 seconds. The NZT has 14.5 inches of ground clearance and 722 lb-ft of torque. The wheelbase is just 118 inches long.
Since the Nikola NZT is all-electric, there is virtually no sound coming from the vehicle other than the hum of the drivetrain on acceleration. The battery system has a range of 150 miles in what Nikola calls “hard-core” driving conditions. A lithium-ion 125-kWh battery pack can be attached to the vehicle, which is a higher capacity than the standard pack that comes on the Tesla Model X. The battery system puts out about 400 volts of electricity.
The NZT has all the standard side-by-side features like the Fox Internal bypass 3.0 podium shocks, 17-inch beadlock wheels, and 33-inch tires. There is a front winch like you find on most side-by-sides. Nikola changed the game and added a rear winch to the vehicle. The capacity of both is 4,500 pounds.
Inside the NZT is a large 12.8-inch waterproof screen that allows the driver to monitor everything. The display shows current battery life, range, speed, and elevation data. Users can add an optional backup camera. The system is linked to a 4G signal that updates over-the-air, keeping software up to date. A four-digit pin login allows the driver to control the vehicle without keys.
The Nikola NZT displayed at the show is only in a prototype model with the company expecting to make changes. A production model is expected in April 2019. We will no doubt keep an eye on the NZT, as it could change future of the side-by-side market.