Volcon Stag Electric Side By Side: First Drive
For an initial review, we like to drive a new UTV at least 100 miles and get through a feel for it. For a full evaluation, and the confidence to give it a recommendation, that requires over 1000-miles of seat time. Well for this Volcon first drive we were only teased with a 6.5 mile drive and 11 minutes of seat time. That’s not to say we weren’t impressed with our findings however.
WHAT IS THE STAG
This vehicle is set to be the first electric side by side in the recreational segment. The unit is still in the prototype phase. However, production units are said to be rolling off the assembly line as soon as September with a starting MSRP of $39,999. Size and capability wise, we would compare this unit to a 4-door Polaris General and it is 64 inches wide. The Stag is only available as a four seater for now but other models, sizes and styles are in the works.
WHAT POWERS IT
Volcon sourced the powertrain for the Stag directly from GM. In fact, the 42KW battery pack and 125HP-140 HP, electric motor are very similar to what you would find in a Chevrolet Bolt. The front and rear differentials both come from the Chevrolet Blazer and feature, electronic lockers and un lockers.
IS IT FAST
It’s quick. Although our test drive was brief, we would compare the power to a good working Turbo powered 4-seat RZR or X3. Unfortunately, the two prototype Stags we drove didn’t have front differentials in them, so, getting the power to the ground on a dry hard-packed track was tough. The highest top speed we saw was 58 MPH but the claimed top speed is 80. On more than one occasion, our drivers head was pinned back to the seat when the Stag found traction. It is quick, we just cant say for certain that its quicker than other cars out there until we get it head to head.
WHAT SUSPENSION DOES IT HAVE
All four corners use beefy, dual A-arms controlling 14-inches of wheel travel. Big front and rear swaybars do a great job controlling body roll. As for bump absorption, 2.5 inch, fully adjustable Elka shocks with remote reservoirs do an excellent job considering the vehicle weighs a claimed 2600 pounds. Most of that weight is battery and is situated along the bottom of the frame rails contributing to a very low center of gravity. The A-arms appear to be bigger and stronger than what you would find on a Polaris General or the new XPEDITION. Volcon uses automotive style unitized hubs on all four corners. These are the exact same 5-lug hubs as are found on the Polaris RZR Pro R.
HOW DOES IT HANDLE
The vehicle has very little body roll. It never felt tippy, wanted to two-wheel or have too much front end dive under braking. Volcon and Elka engineers did an excellent job tuning the shocks to handle the weight of the machine. We were able to hit a few small table top jumps and the vehicle flew straight and landed pillow smooth. It’s interesting to note, that they did design the steering system with the tie rods connecting forward of the spindles. This is similar to how Arctic Cat builds the Wild Cat and Robby Gordon does it in the Speed UTV. It translates to a very flickable vehicle. Electronic power steering is handled by an EZ steer set up. It was light and offered very little feedback but again, we were only driving in 2WD. With lots of power on tap, it was very easy to slide the rear end around and make tight turns quickly.
WHAT ABOUT RANGE AND CHARGE TIME
Since our ride time was brief we did not get to confirm any of the Volcon claims on battery life or charge times. However, the claims do not seam too far fetched. Of course milage can vary dramatically depending on how heavy your foot is, terrain and temperatures. Volcon states you can likely get anywhere from 40 miles flat-footed to 160 at a creeping pace so to be safe, they say it will go 100 miles between charges. Furthermore, if you do get down to a 20-percent charge, power output is limited to make sure you get back to where you need to plug in.
You can charge the Stag using any standard Level 1 (household 110v outlet), Level 2 (240v) or Level 3 (Super Charger) methods through the onboard, automotive style, J1772 plug. A full Level 1 charge could take up to 42 hours, Level 2 charging will top you off in 4-6 hours and a super charger can get you going in about 15 minutes. To test this for ourselves, we have already mapped out a 2-day test loop in the Mojave Desert complete with Level 2 and 3 chargers that are accessible by OHV’s. Stay tuned for that test when the production models are released in the Fall.
IS AN ELECTRIC UTV IN YOUR FUTURE?
There are five good reasons to own any electric UTV. One, your driving experience will be relatively quieter. Sure if you ride fast, wind noise will be there, but if you ride slow, your journey could be in near silence or better yet, you will be able to hold a conversation with your passenger. The Volcon had very little rattling from bodywork or gear noise. Two: Maintenance will be cut in half. There will be no more oil changes, air filter cleanings or servicing the transmission. In the Stag, you would still need to change the oil in the differentials and keep a close eye on wheel bearings, ball joints and A-arm bushings. Three: No more gas or exhaust smell. Trips to the gas station or hauling jugs of gas to the ride area will be a thing of the past. This also might come in handy depending on where you store your vehicle as some storage units don’t allow gas powered vehicles to be stored.. Four: It’s conceivable that you would able to power a circuit of your house or motorhome with your Stag. Imagine being in a black out, tornado or hurricane and the whole town looses power. If you keep your machine charged and ready, power is still available and better yet, it’s portable, incase your neighbor needs it more than you do. Imagine that!
Five: The thrill and power of driving an electric vehicle is something everyone wants to experience whether they will buy one or not. You will be the talk of the town, riding park or race track at least until a few more guys purchase them or other top manufacturers come out with one. For now, the Volcon Stag is it.
2024 VOLCON STAG
Motor: 100+ KW
Range 100 mile + or –
Final Drive: Shaft
Suspension/wheel travel: Dual A-arms 14” / 2.5” Elka
Tires/wheels: 30×10-15 BFG KM3/Raceline
Brakes: 4 wheel disc with Regen braking
Overall Length/Width/Height: 155”/64”/78”
Ground clearance: 14”
Payload capacity: 1200lb
Cargo capacity: 650lb
Tow rating: 2000lb
Drive modes: Sport, Explore, Stroll
Navigation: Garmin (optional)