You read that correctly, there is now an all-electric UTV, or side by side, that has more power than your standard supercar. It’s the brainchild of Nikola Motor Company and they might be on to something really spectacular. They realized that when it comes to most forms of off-roading, torque is king, and as it’s been proven time and time again that nothing creates torque like an electric motor. So Nikola’s mad scientists have gone and created a machine that not only has the performance of a supercar but has the torque of a heavy-duty pickup truck.
They call it the Nikola Zero and I should probably go ahead and tell you the specs on this absolutely bonkers side by side because it’s going to take you a little time to wrap your head around what’s going on here. The Zero comes in two different configurations. There’s the standard spec that comes with 415 hp, but you have the option of upgrading that to a whopping 555hp! Imagine having more horsepower than a Porsche GT3, plus four-wheel drive, 20 inches of suspension travel in a side by side. I have your attention now, right?
Notice I didn’t mention the torque specs, that’s because they need a bit of an explanation. Some reports indicate the Nikola Zero has 4,900lb-ft of torque on the 555hp trim level. That amount of torque is absolutely bonkers, we’re talking quite a bit more than you see in a semi-truck driving down the highway. While it technically does produce that amount of power, that’s only once the gear reduction comes into play. The Zero comes with an electric motor at all four of the wheels, and each motor produces roughly 138hp and 122lb-ft of torque, which for the record is more than the Can-Am Maverick MAX RS Turbo. Then each of the four motors is connected to a gear reduction system at the hub of all four wheels and that brings the torque figures to a frame twisting 1,222lb-ft of torque at each wheel. If you multiply that by four wheels, you get 4,888.
That’s why I said you’d need some time to wrap your head around the specs on this wicked off-road machine. The rest of the UTV is equally as badass. For example, the above mentioned 20″ of suspension travel, thanks to 3.0″ Fox Podium Internal Bypass Shocks on all four corners. That’s the same size shocks you’ll find on a brand new Ford Raptor only with an additional 6.5 inches of wheel travel.
And just like the late-night infomercial guy would say, “wait, there’s more.” The Nikola Zero has torque vectoring with rear steering as well as independent wheel power capabilities. You heard me correctly, torque vectoring, the same thing found in the Acura NSX, and the million dollar Rimac Concept One. And thanks to the electric drivetrain and strategically placed batteries, the center of gravity on the Zero is quite a bit lower than its competitors.
Everything on this machine paints the picture of a vehicle of the future and the Zero has the interior to match. There’s seating for four people, and it has a full infotainment system featuring a 10-inch screen plus a 7-inch gage cluster screen. It also allows you to charge and run all of your electric equipment off of it when you’re out in the backcountry.
It sounds similar to the Bollinger B1 Electric off-roader I wrote about of a few weeks ago. And like the B1, the main (or only) drawback about it is the range, bBut Nikola has you covered as best they can with the current technology. Like the performance options, you also have battery options. Depending on the size you choose, you’ll have a range of anywhere from 100-200 miles. Which is actually pretty good for something like a UTV because it’s more than likely going to be on a trailer up to the trailhead. And if you’ve ever gone on a 200-mile offroad adventure in a UTV, you’ll know it’s not an easy thing to do and is usually reserved for only the most hardcore off-road enthusiasts. For the rest of us, that should be more than sufficient to go out and get our backcountry fix. And for $35,000 this is an absolute steal if you ask me.