Monday, January 28, 2008

Research indicates growth in electric ATVs and Side-by-Sides

While not specifically stated in this new research from International Market Solutions, LLC (IMS), the data does lead me to make some connections with trends in the quad world. Mainly, the extreme versatility of ATVS and side-by-side machines, and the perfect fit with battery applications. I've already blogged about the work Barefoot Motors is doing to lead the way here.

The study focused on what they call small, task-oriented vehicles (STOV) which include golf-car type machines and neighborhood electric vehicles (NEVs for those in the know). I think there is overlap with what I consider to be the quad industry. Highlights include:

  • Key new product entries and innovative technologies that boost performance and comfort, including the first adaptation of AC electric power to a major golf car-type vehicle manufacturer's product line
  • A major concentration of sales efforts and capacity expansion in off-road vehicles
  • Substantial gains for new, privately-owned vehicle (including neighborhood electric vehicles) and utility vehicle segments, where double-digit growth is forecast

Also found this video of Michael Lock of Ducati North America (and Barefoot advisor) riding the Model One and talking about the opportunity they have in this space. No helmet this time either! (just because it has zero emissions doesn't mean you don't need a helmet when play riding)

So I think several factors are driving this trend. Obviously increases in fuel costs are one, and according to Barefoot the Model One could actually cost 50-75% of the gas equivalent over the course of its life. Combined with more environmental awareness and stringent regulation of emissions, I agree we will see major opportunities for small electric vehicle manufacturers across all segments.