How to Choose the Best Electric ATV for Kids and Adults
Electric All-Terrain Vehicles (ATVs) are a type of Off-Road Vehicles (ORVs) that are becoming more and more popular thanks to the improvements in batteries and other electric and electronic components.
Electric ATVs range in size from toy vehicles for small children to large and powerful vehicles with performances comparable to gas-powered ATVs.
Electric ATVs Features and Specifications
Electric ATVs are 4-wheel vehicles that are powered by an electric motor (or motors) and the onboard battery (or battery pack).
Unlike gas-operated ATVs, electric ATVs feature zero carbon emission, they are ECO friendly, and very quiet. Also, they are much simpler to maintain.
Note: If You are an ATV beginner, it is highly recommended to look for a beginner's ATV driving course, even if it is not required by local laws. Also, always have protective gear on (helmet, goggles, gloves...) - better safe than sorry.
When looking for an ATV, there are a few things to consider first, including:
Electric ATVs for kids are practically toys that kids drive around in the parks and similar flat surfaces under supervision by adults. Such electric ATVs are mostly powered by cheap but reliable general-purpose (deep cycle) lead-acid batteries.
Entry-level ATVs for adults are mostly powered by larger lead-acid batteries, keeping the price at an acceptable level.
Most electric ATVs being powered by lead-acid batteries are 12V, 24V, and 36V systems.
Lithium-ion batteries increase the price of electric ATVs and electric vehicles in general, but they also store much more energy at a lower weight, they support a much larger number of charging/discharging cycles, they can be recharged faster, etc.
Lithium-ion batteries are commonly found in larger, more expensive units with performances often matching the performances of the gas-powered ATVs.
Lithium-ion batteries can be found in 12V, 24V, 36V, 48V, 56V, etc. systems.
With the advancements in technology, lithium batteries are starting to appear in entry-level electric ATVs for adults and even children, but such electric ATVs tend to be more expensive than lead-acid battery-powered electric ATVs.
Electric ATVs are equipped with brushed (not so good) and brushless (good) electric motors ranging in power:
- from 300 to 1000W: electric ATVs for kids, flat terrain,
- from 500 to 2000W: entry-level electric ATVs for adults, flat terrain,
- from 2kW to 4kW: electric ATVs for easy trails,
- from 4kW to 7kW: electric ATVs for moderate trails,
- 7kW+: electric ATVs for hardest trains.
Of course, motor power and terrain difficulty relation depend on the total ATV mass and load, tire type, transmission, suspension, etc.
Since electric ATVs are still very similar to gas-powered ATVs, most electric ATVs still have only one electric motor.
Speed depends on the ATV's intended use, motor power, total unit weight, road/trail condition, and similar.
Small electric ATVs intended for children usually have an adjustable speed limit, allowing the parents to set the maximum speed limit - mostly between 2-10 mph (3-16 km/h).
Entry-level electric ATVs for adults usually have a maximum speed in the 8-15 mph (~13-24 km/h) range.
Large and powerful units powered by lithium batteries may have a maximum speed in excess of 40 mph (>64 km/h) over flat terrain.
Note: depending on the local/state/federal or country laws, some electric ATVs can be road driven, but they must have a license plate, insurance, and everything that goes with it - which is beyond the scope of this article.
Personally, ATVs are not suitable for fast rides for many reasons - a high center of gravity, lack of roll bar, and similar. So, take your ATV outdoors and enjoy the ride safely!
The range of electric ATVs differs, from 30-60 minutes of children ATVs, 40-90 minutes of entry-level ATVs for adults to 30-40 miles (or even more) for large off-road lithium battery-powered electric ATVs.
Range or operating time on a single battery charge also depends on the total ATV load, type of tires, battery condition, speed, road/trail condition, etc.
Most electric ATVs are chain-driven with the power transferred to the rear wheels only (4x2 vehicles). Such vehicles are good for flat terrain and easy trails.
More advanced vehicles use a transmission shaft that transfers the power to the wheels via a differential (just like a car).
Such systems ensure 4x2, differential lock, and sometimes 4x4 transmission.
Of course, for the hardest trails, 4x4 is highly recommended.
Tires must ensure good grip with the surface, increasing the safety of the rider.
In most cases, general off-road tires are "good enough", but for special trails, one has to go for the tires optimized for such trails - rocky trails, marsh trails, and similar.
Also, pneumatic tires ensure a comfortable ride, but run-flat tires ensure that the vehicle can continue even when the tire is punctured - with slower speed, of course.
Note: Amazon link opens in the new window, feel free to check it for the most up-to-date offers and prices.
The suspension must ensure that all the wheels are in the contact with the ground all the time, or at least, most of the time.
Also, the suspension must ensure as comfortable ride as possible, regardless of the road/trail condition.
Too soft or too stiff suspension may cause the ride to become uncomfortable and even dangerous - if possible, go for the electric ATV with adjustable suspension/shock absorbers, which allow the user to adjust the suspension according to the riding conditions.
Of course, such feature increases the price of the unit.
Personally, in most cases, the manufacturers do a good job in setting their ATVs, especially larger and more expensive ATVs.
The load capacity of the electric ATVs vary depending on the ATVs intended use:
- electric ATVs for children: usually up to 100 pounds,
- entry-level electric ATVs for adults: up to 230-250 pounds,
- high-end off-road electric ATVs: up to 500-600 or even more pounds.
Don't overload your ATV or any other vehicle - its response will be sluggish and slow, it will not last as long as it should, speed and range will be decreased, etc.
It can simply be dangerous for many reasons.
Over time, people tend to add more weight when going for a ride.
If You weigh, for example, 150 pounds and You like a unit that features a load capacity of, for example, 180 pounds, perhaps the one with the load capacity of 220 pounds will be a better choice - this is just a very simplified example, but ...
The price of electric ATVs differs from hew hundred US$/euros for entry-level models to thousand and even tens of thousands US$/euros for large and powerful off-road ATVs.
This price range sounds huge and it is, but one can't compare the price of ATV for children that features a 12V 10Ah lead-acid battery and the price of an ATV with, for example, lithium-ion 48V 100Ah+ battery with 4x4 drive.
So, what You pay is what You get. As usual :)
Electric ATVs Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
Here are some of the most common Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) about electric ATVs and ATVs in general.
Is there an all-electric ATV?
Yes, thanks to the advances in chemistry and technology in general, all-electric ATVs are being offered by many companies. Their performances differ significantly, so be sure to find the one that fits your needs and requirements.
Are electric 4 wheelers any good?
They are excellent for the tasks they are intended for. But, don't expect the $500 electric ATV to be comparable with the $5000 unit.
How much does an electric ATV cost?
It all depends on the features and specifications of the electric ATV - the most important are battery type, voltage and capacity, motor power, load capacity, maximum speed and range, and similar.
How fast do electric ATVs go?
Small electric ATVs intended for 3-7 year-old children may go up to 5-10 mph, but they also usually have maximum speed adjustable, allowing the parents to limit the maximum speed.
Large, off-road electric ATVs with lithium-ion batteries can go up to 40 mph (or even more) on the flat terrain.
Where to buy an ATV?
ATVs can be ordered from online shops, for example, Amazon, or they can be ordered from their manufacturers, local dealerships, and similar.
What's the best electric quad?
One that safely gets You outside and safely gets You back home. People differ and so do their requirements and preferences - hence, one really can't find "the best" electric quad that would fit anyone's needs.
ATV vs UTV vs RTV vs ORV
ATV stands for All-Terrain Vehicle, UTV stands for Utility Task Vehicle, RTV stands for Rough Terrain Vehicle and ORV stands for Off-Road Vehicle.
Some of these abbreviations may be used interchangeably, but ...
ATV - All-Terrain Vehicle is a classic quad vehicle intended for one or two persons (the second person behind the first one!) and features motorbike-style handlebars.
UTV - Utility Task Vehicle features side-by-side seats (often abbreviated as "SxS"), a classic steering wheel, and very often a roll-bar or even a cabin. UTVs usually can carry a much larger load than ATVs.
RTV - Rough Terrain Vehicles are typically UTVs intended for rough terrain. RTV and ORV (Off-Road Vehicles) are very often used interchangeably, although these vehicles may differ significantly.
Long Story Short: When looking for an ATV, consider electric one - they are less noisy, environmentally more friendly vehicles that are easier to maintain than the gas-powered ATVs.
Always choose electric ATVs according to your own personal needs and preferences - there is no "the best" one since electric ATVs differ significantly in both performance and in price.
Note: when riding the ATVs and similar vehicles, safety first - learn how to ride them properly and always wear protective gear ...