Polaris Unveils Off-Road Charging Stations Opened In The U.P.

Some eyebrow-raising news hit the wires this morning about a series of off-road electric vehicle charging stations launched on trails in Michigan’s fabulous U.P. And the press release came from Polaris.

As you’ll see in the full press release below, the charging network was a partnership between Polaris and the Michigan Economic Development Corporation. The charging stations are located in snowmobile/off-road hotspots like Ontonagon, White Pine, Bergland and Greenland in the western U.P. At this point, the charging network is aimed at UTV usage.

OHV charging station
All-electric Polaris RANGER XP Kinetic off-road vehicles charging on the recently launched off-road charging network in Ontonagon, Michigan. (Photo by Daniel Boczarski/Getty Images for Polaris)

A bit buried in that press release is news that Polaris is launching the first ever rental fleet of all-electric Ranger XP Kinetic models. Its partner in that? None other than our buddy Steve Hamilton of Hamilton’s North Coast Adventures! Connecting some dots, Steve is also a Polaris Adventures Outfitter for snowmobiles, and is a huge sledhead.

Now, we’re not necessarily saying that Polaris has an electric snowmobile in prototype phase. But logic tells us this do! And we’re not necessarily saying we’re fans of the electric snowmobiles that have been unveiled so far due to their limited range. Our winter usage conditions and the fact that snowmobilers like to put on big miles will forever be a challenge. But as we gander into the future? Who know what will happen as battery technology evolves and charging infrastructure expands.

Of course, Quebec-based Taiga has been trying to push electric sleds for a while now, and BRP/Ski-Doo/Lynx has limited-range electric sleds in the market already. And some infrastructure work has been done in Canada for such vehicles. Now the U.P. joins the list.

Here’s the press release from Polaris (below).

Polaris Celebrates the Launch of a First-of-its-Kind Off-Road Electric Charging Network for Outdoor Enthusiasts in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula

Polaris Adventures Outfitter is first in the nation to offer rentals with the all-electric RANGER XP Kinetic

MINNEAPOLIS, June 7, 2024 /PRNewswire/ — Polaris Inc. (NYSE: PII) and the Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC) celebrated the launch and grand opening of an electric off-road vehicle charging network in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. Just under a year after Polaris received a Mobility Public-Private Partnership & Programming (MP4) grant through Michigan Office of Future Mobility & Electrification’s (OFME) program to develop and maintain an off-road trail charging network in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, the off-road charging network is officially open. This first-of-its-kind off-road electric charging network supports around 100 miles of scenic off-road trails in the Upper Peninsula.

“It is an honor to mark the opening of this unique off-road electric charging network developed in partnership with the State of Michigan and the local communities along this trail system. Polaris and Michigan are connected in our efforts to bring exciting innovation and the latest technology to outdoor recreation,” said Andrew Chasse, vice president of Strategy and Partnerships, Polaris. “I’d like to thank the Michigan Economic Development Corporation in particular for allowing Polaris the opportunity to play a role in such an important initiative for the state and this standout milestone for the powersports industry.”   

An all-electric Polaris RANGER XP Kinetic off-road vehicle charging at one of the four new off-road charging stations in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. (Photo by Daniel Boczarski/Getty Images for Polaris)

“Michigan is known as a Make-It State, leveraging our incredible talent pool that brings together innovation, grit, determination, and visionary products of the future,” said Justine Johnson, State of Michigan Chief Mobility Officer. “Working in tandem with Polaris to launch an electric off-road vehicle charging network in the Upper Peninsula, exemplifies how working through public private partnerships bring ideation to fruition in every corner of Michigan.  We applaud Polaris’s effort to support the growth of a reliable EV charging infrastructure in one of Michigan’s favorite ORV riding destinations.”

Michigan’s MP4 grant supports the modernization of the state’s mobility offerings and its massive outdoor recreation industry as it transitions to more electric and technology-enabled vehicles. In June 2023, Polaris announced it had been selected to receive a $700,000 grant to develop and maintain an off-road trail charging network in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. Free to use, the EV charging stations enable the use of various electric off-road vehicles or other trails-approved electric options on the public trail system. There are four installed electric vehicle charging stations on state-designated ORV trails in the woods of Ontonagon County. The four chargers are deployed in Ontonagon, White Pine, Bergland and Greenland.

Polaris partnered with Texas-based Yotta Energy, a leader in renewable energy storage, to provide the charging hardware. Yotta’s REV charging station is an integrated, scalable EV charging solution that includes solar production capacity and 120kWh of onboard energy storage. The solution can be grid-connected or operate completely off-grid making them suitable for use in remote areas and urban locations alike.

Launch of Nation’s First All-Electric RANGER XP Kinetic Rental Experience

With the development of this off-road EV charging network, Polaris also announced that local Polaris Adventures Outfitter, Hamilton’s North Coast Adventures near Ontonagon, Mich., is the first in the country to offer a rental fleet of Polaris’ all-electric off-road vehicle, the RANGER XP Kinetic. Rentals of the RANGER XP Kinetic started recently, giving Polaris Adventures customers the opportunity to explore the beauty of Michigan’s western Upper Peninsula’s most famous trail – The Pioneer ORV Trail – in one of the newest electric off-road vehicles and use the new off-road charging network. 

“Polaris Adventures was started with the goal of helping more people experience powersports and discover new ways to enjoy the outdoors, and this launch of our first electric off-road vehicle rental experience in the country will continue to do just that,” said Gray Rentz, vice president of Polaris Experience, Polaris.

Polaris’ Efforts to Bring Electric Technology to Powersports

From acceleration and control to quieter operations and zero emissions, there are benefits to electric powertrain technology within the powersports industry. Since the launch of its all-electric RANGER XP Kinetic utility side-by-side in 2023, Polaris has been leveraging electric technology to deliver leading performance capabilities and an unparalleled experience for off-road riders.

“Our approach to electrification remains centered around understanding where we can best incorporate EV technology to enhance the riding experience and provide an incredible offering to customers. For utility customers, we’ve shown how electric technology can help us build one of the best utility off-road side-by-sides on the market, while data and insights from this effort in Michigan can help us refine our view on opportunities within the recreation off-road space,” Chasse continued.

Looking more broadly, Polaris is focused on testing electric prototypes across its product platforms and will commercialize purposefully where electrification improves the customer experience.

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About Polaris

As the global leader in powersports, Polaris Inc. (NYSE: PII) pioneers product breakthroughs and enriching experiences and services that have invited people to discover the joy of being outdoors since our founding in 1954. Polaris’ high-quality product line-up includes the RANGER, RZR, Polaris XPEDITION, and GENERAL side-by-side off-road vehicles; Sportsman all-terrain off-road vehicles; military and commercial off-road vehicles; snowmobiles; Indian Motorcycle mid-size and heavyweight motorcycles; Slingshot moto-roadsters; Aixam quadricycles; Goupil electric vehicles; and pontoon and deck boats, including industry-leading Bennington pontoons. Polaris enhances the riding experience with a robust portfolio of parts, garments, and accessories. Headquartered in Minnesota, Polaris serves nearly 100 countries across the globe. www.polaris.com

About Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC)

The Michigan Economic Development Corporation is the state’s marketing arm and lead advocate for business development, job awareness and community development with the focus on growing Michigan’s economy. For more information on the MEDC and our initiatives, visit www.MichiganBusiness.org. For Pure Michigan® tourism information, your trip begins at www.michigan.org. Join the conversation on: Facebook Instagram LinkedIn, and Twitter.

SOURCE Polaris Inc.

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3 thoughts on “Polaris Unveils Off-Road Charging Stations Opened In The U.P.

  • Avatar for boyoboyoboy

    Electric? You must drink your bourbon with ice or not even drink bourbon.

    Reply
  • Avatar for John Zeglin

    I agree, it is a start and doing it on a trail system up there is also a good place to start.

    Did I read the charge was free??? If so, that will be popular. Refueling gas powered side by sides is not cheap so that would be a plus.

    I am still skeptical but let’s see.

    Reply

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