Electric power is the future of automobiles, but what about all-terrain vehicles? Current electric offerings use a mix of parts to try and turn gas-powered vehicles into electric ones. This approach leaves a lot to be desired, often limiting the capabilities of the vehicle. However, that may change with the new Rover Xtreme Terrain Vehicle. Argo and Briggs & Stratton’s new joint effort points the way to the future of electric-powered off-road vehicles. Using the new technology, these vehicles will offer performance and ecological benefits while still delivering the water and terrain capabilities owners depend on.
A New Standard for Electric Power
Currently, manufacturers have to piece together systems by selecting from a variety of off-the-shelf batteries, chargers, and controllers, then engineering them to fit their equipment. This adds a lot of time and expense to electric conversions and makes it hard to get consistent results.
Vanguard is aiming to change that with its new 48-volt Commercial Battery System. It’s the only completely integrated power system on the market, using batteries, chargers and management systems designed to work together. The electric system is also CANbus compatible, making it easy to integrate into existing vehicle and equipment electronics. In other words, manufacturers can add an electric option with as much ease as they currently add different engine options to their equipment.
The system uses lithium-ion battery packs that can be hooked together in series to increase capacity. The initial system uses 48-volt packs with a 5 kWh capacity, but the company promises a range of voltages and capacities in the future to fit a variety of applications.
Electric Power for Argo
Despite its name, “Diesel Progress” has covered the entire engine-powered equipment market since 1935. That includes reporting on everything from mowers to semis. When they launched their new Electrification Newsmaker of the Year Award, they chose Briggs & Stratton and Argo for their work on the new Rover Xtreme Terrain Vehicle. By meeting Argo’s stringent standards, this vehicle proves that the battery system is capable of powering almost anything.
Argo’s robotics division applies the same technology used in the amphibious ATVs to use in robotic vehicles. These vehicles don’t just provide superior water and off-road abilities, they regularly work in environments that are dangerous to humans. This includes jobs ranging from firefighting to space exploration. Certainly, there could be no tougher test for the new Vanguard battery system.
The Rover Xtreme Terrain Vehicle is based on the Atlas J8 XTR, an unmanned robot built around an XTV chassis. Underneath the cargo platform, there are four 5 kWh battery packs wired in parallel to deliver 20 kWh. To put that in perspective, the Nissan Leaf launched with a 24 kWh battery pack and had a rated range of 80 miles. Like its predecessor, this XTR has been tested to work at temperatures ranging from -4 to 104°F.
This new design makes no compromises. The electrical system is fully sealed, so this rover can still operate on water. Top speed is 18.6 mph, the same as the J8, and the 1,131 lb. land/660 lb. water payload capacity is only a little lower than its predecessor. It even has Argo’s new AirLock beadlock rims.
How Will This Electric Vehicle Be Used?
The Rover XTV has a “Follow Me” mode that tracks another vehicle, line-of-site RF control, and remote control, letting it join convoys or operate remotely. The J8 Atlas is already being tested by American and Canadian armed forces for tasks that are too high risk, boring or dirty for manned equipment. This includes everything from moving cargo over difficult terrain to bomb disposal. Argo sees this vehicle being used in the civilian market for mining, fire fighting, agriculture and search and rescue operations.
When Can I Get an Electric Argo?
Argo is currently taking orders for the Xtreme Terrain. Use is limited to large commercial and government operations, so you won’t be able to pick up one of these monster all-terrain robots at your local dealer.
The Vanguard battery system is launching in February 2020 in Europe. Initially, the company will only offer 5 kWh packs, like those used in the Argo. A 10 kWh pack will follow shortly after this release.
As for a drivable civilian XTV, Argo hasn’t announced any plans yet. However, with so many parts shared between the RXTV and a standard XTV, it’s not much of a stretch to say such a vehicle may be on the horizon. Mostly, it’s a matter of fitting enough battery power while maintaining seating and matching the performance of their current models.
For Everything Argo, Visit Shank’s Argo
Shank’s Argo is more than just an Argo dealer. We’re a certified dealer for Briggs & Stratton and Kohler, which means we can offer full support for these vehicles. If you’re looking for an amphibious ATV, or you need help with parts, repairs or accessories, visit us at 4900 Molly Pitcher Highway in Chambersburg, PA. You can also check out our current stock at www.shanksargo.com.