In recent years we’ve seen the performance gap between UTVs and sand cars getting smaller and smaller. Everything from horsepower numbers to suspension travel and even the price tag. It’s not at all uncommon to see a UTV out in the dunes that cost upwards of $50,000.
Most recently, a newcomer to the UTV game appears intent on narrowing that gap even further, if not eliminating it all together. Nikola Motor Company
, a Salt Lake City based 'premium electronic vehicle' manufacturer is jumping headlong into the off-road world and aiming to make a splash with its Nikola Zero off-road vehicle. Social media is abuzz with renderings and outlandish specification information touting everything from 520 horsepower to 20 inches of suspension travel.
Very little information is available about the company or this new vehicle, but the company’s website provides answers to many of the specification-related questions most consumers will have and we were fortunate enough to speak directly with the company’s CEO, Trevor Milton.
Milton assured us the company is bringing technology the industry has never seen before and if the numbers are any indication, we’d have to agree. For starters the all electric 400V drivetrain puts out a claimed 520 horsepower from four separate electric motors. That’s a lot of ponies and a machine like that had better have a chassis that can handle it, much less keep it under control. Milton informed us the frame would be a steel and aluminum hybrid, although the production vehicle is likely to make use of a composite material to help keep the weight down. The current model weighs in at a hefty 1900 pounds; that’s more than 200 pounds over the next closest competitor, but when considering the power to weight ratio, it’s unlikely the extra weight will be an issue.