GREENWORKS ELECTRIC UTV

— 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.

Unlike other electric UTVs, the CU800 SC is powered by an 82-volt brushless direct-current electric motor, and the fly-by-wire throttle delivery is buttery smooth for optimum traction. The motor sits on top of reduction gears and the rear transfer case. The 800 is one of the few utility UTVs to come with adjustable piggyback shocks, and all A-arms have Zerk fittings for easy maintenance.

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.

Instrumentation is excellent, and the throttle and brake pedals are adjustable. Upper toggles control all the lighting features, 2WD/4WD and diff-lock, while lower toggles select drive modes. We suggested an additional toggle so the driver could select between Eco and Sport modes, like Can-Am Mavericks.

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.

Greenworks Commercial was formed in 2002 and launched its lithium-powered Zero-Turn Radius mowers in 2018. Now Greenworks applies its lithium-ion technology to produce the first 82-volt UTV on the market, the super-stealth CU800 SC.

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.

The CU800 SC is very agile with a short wheelbase and great EPS assist for effortless turning. The power is so smooth that the Greenworks stays planted with zero wheelspin, even in 2WD.

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.

The front diff locks for extra traction, and the electronic power steering unit is well-tuned for effortless, agile turning. Perforated discs have guards, and the calipers have braided-steel lines with spring guards. A stiff sway bar mounts in front of the diff.

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.

Tilt steering is standard, and the tilt cylinder is very stiff, as are the steering column and steering wheel. We like the steering wheel’s over-molding, shape and horn button, in case Bambi doesn’t hear us coming.

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.

Width is 61 inches, and ground clearance is a foot with 28×9-14 front tires. The huge bumper and brush guards are standard to protect the quad LED lights with halos. The front rack, side mirrors, winch and windshield are optional.

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.

Front and side bed rails are standard and accept optional tool, rifle or bow mounts. The bed has a gas-assist lift, tailgate with center latch and 500-pound capacity. It tows 1500 pounds via the automotive-style 2-inch receiver, and it even has a lit license-plate bracket.

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! 

SPECS:

2019 GREENWORKS LITHIUM CU800 SC UTV

ENGINE/TRANSMISSION

Engine type 82V brushless electric

Displacement N/A

Bore x stroke N/A

Compression ratio N/A

Lubrication system Oil-bathed gears & diffs

Additional cooling None

Induction None

Starting/back-up Electric/none

Starting procedure Turn ignition switch w/brake on

Air filter:

  Type None

  Access N/A

Transmission Direct drive

Reverse procedure Toggle “gear” to “R”

Drive system Selectable 2WD/4WD w/diff lock

Final drives Shafts

DIMENSIONS/CAPACITIES/WEIGHTS

Fuel capacity 13.8 kW 82V lithium battery

Wheelbase 76.5”

Overall length/width/height 118”/61”/75.5”

Ground clearance 12.0”

Claimed dry weight 1,676 lb.

Bed weight limit 550 lb.

Hitch Yes

Towing limit 1,500  lb.

ROLLING CHASSIS

Frame Steel square tube

Suspension/wheel travel:

  Front. Dual A-arm w/ prel./comp.-adj. shocks/10”

  Rear Dual A-arms w/ prel./comp.-adj. shocks/10”

Brakes/actuation:

  Front Hydraulic discs/left-side pedal

  Rear Hydraulic discs/left-side pedal

Parking Lever on console

Tires:

  Front 28x9R14 Cornelius Obor

  Rear 28x11R14 Cornelius Obor

ELECTRICAL

DC outlet Right-side console, USB

Lighting:

  Front 2 LED hi/lo headlights

  Rear Dual LED brake/tail lights

DETAILS

Instrumentation Digital speed/odo/trip/hour/rpm/fuel/

gear/clock/2WD-4WD

Colors Black, Camo

Minimum recommended operator age 16

Suggested retail price $24,999

Contact Greenworks

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