Utility Vehicles: Power and Fuel Considerations

By Cathy Walker  
OTHER PARTS OF THIS ARTICLEPt. 1: Buying Utility Vehicles: Determine Needs, Improve EfficiencyPt. 2: This PagePt. 3: Utility Vehicles: Size and ManeuverabilityPt. 4: Roll-Over Protection and Attachments for Utility VehiclesPt. 5: Utility Vehicles Save Time, Money

The most powerful utility vehicles are equipped with gas or diesel engines — either liquid- or air-cooled — with a range of 8-40 horsepower (hp). Some models offer high-flow hydraulics and power packs for attachments that require more power. Managers should look at higher-hp vehicles if users need to perform heavy work, such as hauling materials, driving on rough or steep terrain, and removing snow. Many vehicles now can haul up to 1,500 pounds and tow up to 2,000 pounds.

Models that run on electricity often are good options for areas where noise and pollution are concerns. They might lack the power and speed to haul the heaviest loads, but some models can efficiently carry people and pull a cart of hand tools.

Electric utility vehicles no longer are simply golf carts, and managers can expect to find more advances in these vehicles as environmental concerns become an even higher priority. For example, three counties in Arizona have banned the use of gas-powered equipment for grounds maintenance. Refueling these vehicles also requires adequate recharging facilities and possibly special outlets.

With electric vehicles, traveling distance per charge might be a concern. Electric vehicles have a more limited traveling distance per battery charge than a typical gas or diesel engine has per tank of fuel. An electric vehicle might travel 40-120 miles per charge, depending on the terrain, battery type, climate, and load.

Managers also will find a wider selection of hybrid vehicles — those that run on either electric or gas — that provide fuel efficiency, along with the power and speed needed for top performance.

Some utility vehicle models support a propane attachment, which allows the vehicle to run on propane instead of gas or diesel fuel.

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  posted on 10/1/2008   Article Use Policy

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