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Utility Vehicles: Assessing Power and Speed

electric utility vehicles, liquid-cooled engine, air-cooled engine

This is Chris Matt, Associate Editor of Maintenance Solutions magazine. Today’s tip is assessing the power and speed of utility vehicles.

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

Models that run on electricity 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. Plus, they can be viable options for areas where noise and pollution are concerns.

Electric utility vehicles go beyond golf carts, and managers can expect to find more advances in these vehicles as environmental concerns become an even higher priority. But keep in mind, refueling these vehicles requires adequate recharging facilities and maybe even 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 for each tank of fuel. An electric vehicle might travel 40 to 120 miles per charge, depending on the terrain, battery type, climate, and load.

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