After a full year of teasers, Polaris finally took the wraps off the all-new, all-electric Ranger XP Kinetic back in December. (I'm late to the party. I know.) This new electric Ranger is something that I personally have been looking forward to for the better part of the last decade, and it’s very possibly the most significant news of last year for anybody who loves going off-road under electric power. The launch of the XP Kinetic, however, came with a bitter aftertaste. The new electric offering from Polaris ain’t exactly cheap - or even affordable for most average working class dudes and dames.
Some of you may remember that Polaris has actually had an all-electric Ranger for sale ever since 2010, and to be fair, it’s always been relatively competitive in the segment even amongst its gas-powered brethren — both in price and performance. If it had an achilles heel, it was the lead-acid battery pack. The energy density, charge time, range, and routine battery maintenance proved to be a drag for many of the people who bought the old electric Ranger. But for the folks who understood what they were getting into at the outset, the original Ranger EV was - and still is - a reliable, if flawed, workhorse. Surprisingly and to my delight, that same 2-seat Ranger EV will continue at least into the 2022 model year as a relatively low-cost electric offering from Polaris, which brings me to some disappointing news about the new Ranger XP Kinetic.
The starting price for the new electric hotness from Polaris is a whopping $25,000. That’s over $11,000 MORE than the $13,700 price tag on the existing 2-seat Ranger EV, which - for you mathematicians out there - is nearly double the cost even in its most basic form. Step up to the Ultimate trim level with the higher capacity battery, and you’re looking at thirty thousand greenbacks. Thirty. Wait for it. Thousand. Let that sink in for a moment. The question then is this: do you think the new Ranger XP Kinetic is worth it?
For your convenience, here are a few basic specs of the Ranger EV, Ranger XP Kinetic Premium, and the Ranger Kinetic Ultimate:
XP Kinetic Premium
XP Kinetic Ultimate
Li-Ion, 14.9 kWh
Li-Ion, 29.8 kWh
2.5 - 5 hrs
2.5 - 5 hrs
As excited as I’ve been for this particular product launch, I almost feel hurt by the MSRP here. I’m not even sure I understand it to be honest. Yeah, I know. I know. Research and development costs big money and so forth. Lithium batteries are expensive and whatnot. Poppy cock. Poppy cock, I say! I call bologna.
Polaris pulled some electric motors and software from Zero Motorcycles and popped it all into a chassis it already developed for a nearly identical gas-powered version of the same product that they sell for $14,000 MSRP. Why the Ranger XP Kinetic has such a ridiculous price tag (and name) is simply beyond me.
The prices of side-by-sides in general tend to completely baffle me. While they’re wonderful machines, I struggle to comprehend how people drop as much coin on these things as they do. I mean, the profit margins on the upper end have to be positively outrageous. If you stand to inherit Scrooge McDuck’s fortune or already have, then good on you. Live it up.
But for the rest of us? Here’s the rub: twenty-five large buys a good, frugal, family-friendly, street-legal, all-wheel drive compact pickup now. If you’re okay with just front-wheel drive and want to burn as little gas and oil as possible, then things get even cheaper - both the cost of entry and operating costs. I’m talking about the Ford Maverick. Yes, it's fossil-fueled. Yes, the hybrid is only front-wheel drive for now. But even though its intended use and target buyers are worlds apart, I think there's enough potential overlap in work duties - and sadly price - that I'd be remiss not to mention it here. Here's the other thing. The Maverick will go electric eventually, and it will likely be cost-competitive with the Ranger XP Kinetic Ultimate. So before you hurl your stones of hatred at me, consider this: I’m right. The new Polaris Ranger XP Kinetic costs way too darn much.
Then again, it sold out within hours after launch. So what do I know?