When we first laid eyes on the Polaris Ranger EV nearly five years ago, we thought we’d seen the beginning of a big electric push from the major manufacturers. Save for BRP’s very quiet release of the Can-Am Commander EV two years ago, we clearly misjudged the direction off-road manufacturers were headed.
For fans of electric power, however, all may not be lost as Kawasaki recently filed patent documents for an electric UTV, which you can see for yourself here.
Here is the only bit of English text included in the patent document:
Abstract: This electric vehicle is provided with: an electric motor which produces drive power for driving left and right drive wheels in a rotational manner; an inverter which supplies AC power to the electric motor and to batteries which are the power sources for the electric motor; a differential device which is disposed between the left and right drive wheels; and a power transmission mechanism which transmits the drive power produced by the electric motor to the differential device. The differential device, the power transmission mechanism, and the electric motor are arranged rectilinearly in the widthwise direction of the vehicle, the electric motor is offset to one side in the widthwise direction of the vehicle relative to the center of the vehicle in the widthwise direction thereof, and the inverter is offset to the one side in the widthwise direction of the vehicle relative to the center of the vehicle in the widthwise direction thereof.
Simply judging from the images, it appears this electric UTV may share much with the Kawasaki Mule 4000. It has a similar Roll Over Protection Structure (ROPS), which is unlike anything else in Kawasaki’s lineup, and a single bench seat.
While it’s always fun to speculate with patent documents, there’s no telling if the Kawasaki Mule Electric will ever make it to market. Even if it does get produced, it’s possible it is intended for an international market – perhaps one with strict emissions standards that don’t favor gas-powered UTVs.
We did ask Kawasaki about the patent documents, but understandably were told Kawasaki could not confirm or deny if the Electric Mule was on the way.