What comes to mind when you hear the term ‘world’s lightest four-wheel drive’? A two-seat Can-Am? That weird side-by-self one-seater from Polaris? The old Suzuki Samurai with no body panels parked out in the back forty?
Nope, none of the above, Alex. A company called Outrider USA wants you to think of their Coyote 4×4 when discussing featherweight off-road rigs with yer buddies. The brainchild of a company based in North Carolina which got its start in 2009 under the banner of FFR Trikes, this off-road quad looks like nothing else in the segment and is apparently sized to fit in the back of a mid-sized SUV.
It’s also all-electric.
Yes, yes – most of us instantly have questions about range and price and charging when we hear that a new off-road rig is powered by electricity. After all, generations of outdoorsy types have been used to throwing a few gallons of gasoline into their machine and being set for the day. Electric power introduces a new wrinkle to the equation, though with fuel prices blasting through the stratosphere, EVs are starting to gain a measure of acceptance if the application is right. This new Coyote 4×4 might just be the ticket.
First of all, it’s lightweight. Like – really lightweight. Its listed curb weight is in the neighborhood of 200 pounds depending on options, a sum which is very likely less than most of the people reading this post. Keeping weight at bay is Coyote’s proprietary high-strength aluminum monocoque chassis. This contributes to a maximum range of about 140 miles when equipped with Outrider’s most robust battery system. That’s decently long-legged for any off-road rig, especially one with no tailpipe emissions.
The Coyote features a long-travel front and rear air-shock suspension, permitting about 7 inches of ground clearance. Wheel travel isn’t great – only 3 inches up front – compared to traditional off-road machines but anyone planning on launching this open-air vehicle off a cliff or dune will have bigger things to worry about than wheel travel upon landing. That’s not the Coyote’s intended purpose, after all – crawling through tough terrain and squeezing into your favourite hidden fishing spot is where this thing shines.
Customers can choose between an American-made 3000 watt mid-drive system for sport applications if they feel two-wheel drive will be sufficient, or they can pop for the “exceptionally quiet” 5000 watt hub motor 4WD system. The latter is ideal for hunters and mobility applications, though Outrider is quick to point out the Coyote isn’t a glorified off-road wheelchair despite its general appearance. Much of that image is down to tire selection: 20-inch hoops shod with rubber just 2.5 inches wide. If you think they look like tires from a mountain bike or fatbike, well, you’re probably not alone. Nevertheless, this type of rubber is great for slicing through certain types of terrain where wide rubber would get hung up or spin uselessly. Less rolling resistance also likely contributes to that driving range figure quoted earlier.
The Coyote comes standard with a single powerful 1.5kWh lithium-ion battery, good enough for a range of 20-35 miles per charge. The option exists of adding up to 3 more modular battery packs comprised of Tesla-style 21700 lithium cells, which is probably a smart spend of money if you’re planning on using the Coyote anywhere but around the ranch. If you’re seeking the full-fat 140-mile range, pop for the 6.0+kWh battery pack, Coyote’s largest. Recharging the thing will provide about a mile of range for every two minutes it’s plugged into the wall, says Outrider. Different charging options are on tap for markets around the world.
Two-wheel drive versions use a live axle out back, just like every covered wagon from the West and most pickup trucks since the dawn of time, while the 4×4 variant deploys an independent suspension with those in-wheel electric motors. This means no drive belts, instant torque, and a top speed of 22 mph. Total power output is listed as 5 kilowatts, which roughly translates to about 7 horsepower. No, that’s not a lot; but remember – this thing only weighs about 200 pounds plus the rider. The four-wheel drive version can also allegedly tow 300 pounds, though there’s no word on what that does to the Coyote’s total all-electric driving range.
Interested? Outrider builds each machine to order – from scratch – at their facility in Fletcher, North Carolina. All major frame components have been designed by Outrider USA and are manufactured in the United States. Prices start around $14,000 and go up from there with the addition of extra batteries or comfort accessories. Best of all, every Outrider ships fully assembled in a custom crate which will surely make for a great conversation piece when yer buddies inevitably ask to take your new Coyote 4×4 out for a spin.