— Testing the Lithium CU800 SC model —
Greenworks Commercial is a lawn care and landscaping company specializing in lithium-ion battery-powered power tools, mowers and now UTVs. Greenworks’ all-new 82-volt CU800 SC UTV was voted Innovative Product of 2019 by Popular Mechanics, and we got a chance to try out the stealth CU800 SC at Greenworks’ 2019 media launch at Mooresville, North Carolina. The CU800 SC could well be the ultimate UTV for hunters and fishermen, as it has an 82-volt motor, and all the other electric UTVs on the market have 48-volt power.
WHAT’S A GREENWORKS LITHIUM CU800 SC UTV?
Greenworks produces lithium-ion powered hand tools for Craftsman, Kobalt and Stihl (chainsaws), and it is the first company to manufacture lithium-powered trimmers, mowers, and blowers. Greenworks has a complete line of Outdoor Power Equipment (OPE), including commercial push mowers, self-powered mowers, Zero-Turn Radius (ZTR) Stand-On and Riding mowers, Snow Throwers, Cultivators and now UTVs. The CU500SC and CU800 SC UTVs use the same 13.8-kWh lithium battery as the high-end ZTR riding mowers, and a single 82-volt motor with gear reduction rides under the tilting cargo bed. Unlike the Nikola NZT, which has an electric motor for each wheel, Greenworks UTVs have a more normal driveline with a rear transfer case with disc parking brake on the front driveshaft, which powers a locking front differential. Dual A-arms and compression-adjustable piggyback shocks ride on all four corners, and a front sway bar fights body roll. Styling is much like a Can-Am Commander with quad LED headlights, and the huge lithium battery rides under the bench seat. It seats two comfortably.
HOW DOES COST COMPARE?
The Greenworks CU800 SC Lithium is $24,999, while the CU500SC is $22,999. The 2019 Polaris Ranger EV starts at $11,899, while the Polaris Pursuit Camo EV is $12,499. While the Greenworks CU800 SC is twice as much initially, it has an 82-volt motor versus a 48-volt for more top speed, 28-inch tires instead of 25-inch turf tires, and high-end lithium batteries instead of lead-acid batteries. The lithium batteries provide many more charge cycles before replacement than the lead-acid batteries. Also, EPS is standard, while EPS isn’t available on the Polaris EV. Can-Am dropped its Commander E LSV after 2015. Hisun’s Sector E1 is $10,999, while Arctic Cat’s (formerly Bad Boy Buggy’s) four-seat Prowler EV is $10,499, and the Prowler EV is $13,499. The Intimidator Classic 48V Electric is $15,399.
WHAT POWERS IT?
An 82-volt brushless DC motor and huge 13.8-kWh lithium-ion battery! The technology has long been powering radio-controlled cars, but now Greenworks has applied it to full-sized UTVs. Charge time is 12 hours using your standard 110-volt power outlet and the included 1.5 kW, 15-amp charger. The plug is located inside the faux gas cap. The motor sits on top of a gear-reduction case, which powers the driveshaft. There is a three-year warranty on the lithium battery and motor and a two-year frame warranty.
HOW IS THE DELIVERY?
Super smooth! Greenworks tuned the CU800 SC for a smooth delivery instead of a more abrupt, jerky power curve. The direct-drive electric motor is super smooth and torquey, and it delivers smooth acceleration in low, mid or high. Top speed is 10 mph in low, 20 mph in mid and 30 mph in high for getting to the tree stand or hunting camp quicker. The 13.8 kW, 82-volt lithium battery delivers a 61-mile range in high and 68 miles in mid. It is claimed to go up to 90 miles in low. The CU500 SC is claimed to go 63 miles in high and 74 miles in mid. The 2WD/4WD/diff-lock control is smooth and quick to engage, too, and there is no CVT belt to break. When the charge level drops to below 10 percent, it goes into limp mode to get you home.
HOW DOES THE CU800 SC HANDLE?
It’s agile, stable and planted. Between the smooth power delivery and vehicle weight, the CU800 SC is very planted to the ground, and it doesn’t do anything unexpected. That said, it’s also very agile with its 76.5-inch wheelbase, 61-inch width and front torsion bar to fight body roll. It has great EPS assist and a tight-turning radius for snaking through tight woods with minimal pilot effort. The CU500 SC has a 72.5-inch wheelbase and 62-inch width for even more agility.
WHAT ABOUT THE SUSPENSION?
It’s firm and well-tuned. Its has good ride quality on roots and rocks, yet firms up to handle water bars and other big bumps. We didn’t get a chance to play with the compression adjusters on the shocks, but the valving and spring rates are well-matched for a high-quality ride with very little body roll. Travel is 10 inches front and 10 inches in back, and the Sair piggyback shocks are position-adjustable.
HOW QUIET IS IT?
Super quiet. The motor and drivetrain are silent, so the only sounds you hear are tires chirping and flung rocks hitting the wheel wells and undercarriage—unless you hit reverse, then there is a safety beeper when backing up.
HOW POWERFUL ARE THE BRAKES?
They could be stronger. That said, chop the throttle and the electric motor’s regenerative charging feature mimics compression braking, and there is no CVT to freewheel. Four-wheel hydraulic calipers squeeze large perforated rotors, and there is a fifth disc parking brake engaged by the brake pedal.
WHAT ABOUT CABIN COMFORT?
It’s in the hunt! The bench seat is comfortable, and the shoulder belts hold you in place well. The plastic half doors and roof are very nice. Controls are adjustable, as the bench seat is not. The tilt steering wheel has comfortable over-molding with thumb nubs, plus a horn! Toggles in the dash center control lights, high-low beams, 2WD/4WD, diff-lock, turn signals and hazard lights, forward/reverse, drive mode and the optional 3500-pound winch. There are also 12-volt DC and USB ports below the analog speedo and voltmeter and selectable digital icons and readouts, including battery charge and heat. The glove box is large and holds a tool kit, complete with shock preload spanners and Allen wrenches. Vibration and exhaust noise are nonexistent, and nothing rattled. The CU800 SC even comes with a phone holder.
Our test unit was fitted with an accessory 3500-pound winch, split windshield, large side mirrors, chainsaw mount and front cargo rack. The chainsaw holder is handy when in deep woods; silently cut fallen logs with the Greenworks GS181 chainsaw, then pull them out of the way with the accessory winch.
WHAT’S OUR FINAL ANSWER?
In the press conference for all of its commercial power tools, Greenworks discussed the costs and benefits of operating lithium blowers and mowers versus their gasoline-powered counterparts, and savings over 1000 hours were substantial: $13,590 for operating the GZ60R ZTR mower. Owners can expect similar savings with the CU800 SC UTV, as charges cost pennies and motor maintenance isn’t required. The CU800 SC is the fastest, quietest electric UTV on the market, and its stealth propulsion makes it the ultimate hunting UTV. It’s an agile, well-equipped UTV built by a company that has been building dependable commercial lawn-care equipment for many years. Watch out, Bambi—and big oil!
2019 GREENWORKS LITHIUM CU800 SC UTV
Engine type 82V brushless electric
Bore x stroke N/A
Compression ratio N/A
Lubrication system Oil-bathed gears & diffs
Additional cooling None
Starting procedure Turn ignition switch w/brake on
Transmission Direct drive
Reverse procedure Toggle “gear” to “R”
Drive system Selectable 2WD/4WD w/diff lock
Final drives Shafts
Fuel capacity 13.8 kW 82V lithium battery
Overall length/width/height 118”/61”/75.5”
Ground clearance 12.0”
Claimed dry weight 1,676 lb.
Bed weight limit 550 lb.
Towing limit 1,500 lb.
Frame Steel square tube
Front. Dual A-arm w/ prel./comp.-adj. shocks/10”
Rear Dual A-arms w/ prel./comp.-adj. shocks/10”
Front Hydraulic discs/left-side pedal
Rear Hydraulic discs/left-side pedal
Parking Lever on console
Front 28x9R14 Cornelius Obor
Rear 28x11R14 Cornelius Obor
DC outlet Right-side console, USB
Front 2 LED hi/lo headlights
Rear Dual LED brake/tail lights
Instrumentation Digital speed/odo/trip/hour/rpm/fuel/
Colors Black, Camo
Minimum recommended operator age 16
Suggested retail price $24,999