Some time back I had an opportunity to spend a week testing a 4WD electric “utility vehicle” by Stealth. I have been using a modified electric golf cart for my woods buggy for several years, and have found few faults with it – but the Stealth is what my little buggy would like to be when it grows up! Instead of being powered by an electric motor under 4 hp in power like a stock gold cart, the Stealth uses a 30 hp motor producing 120 ft lbs of torque. Instead of 36 volts of electric power, the Stealth I tested had 64. The entire vehicle, from the frame up, was built expressly to go off road – not just a beefed up golf cart frame. It rode on 12″ wheels mounting 25″ tires, with a 7.5″ lift to the frame. Seating is comfortable, with a rear seat that fold down into a cargo platform. The roof and supports are very solid, and all metal is powder-coated for rust protection. Stealth’s biggest competitor, Bad Boy Buggies uses two electric motor to get 4WD – one on the front axle, the other on the back. Stealth chose to use the single, larger motor and run a driveshaft to the rear, as in a more conventional 4WD.
Although my golf cart is a bit modified – with a 16 hp, high torque motor and high amp controller – I have never been quite able to get it stuck in mud. I could not find mud to try the Stealth, so we hauled it to the beach. I ran it through the softest sand I could find in 4WD, then went back through in 2WD – no problem in either one. Unless your use involves a lot of hill climbing or use over swampy, marshy terrain, the 4WD may not see much use. Still it is really nice to have if you ever need it. This Stealth also came with a 12 volt winch. Most of the newer, 48 volt golf carts have done away with the old shifter on the front of the seats in favor of a big rocker switch, and this was what the Stealth uses, also. BIG improvement. There is also an on-board battery charger.
An electric vehicle with this kind of power is only bettered by a gas or diesel powered machine in range – as the batteries will run down before a gas tank would be empty. The Stealth can be fitted with a rooftop solar charger as an option, that will extend the range quite a bit, but the newest models – which have jumped the battery power up to 72 volts – are of a “hybrid design” that uses a 17.5 hp gas engine in combination with the electric power. This is said to give the buggy a 100 mile range, and a top speed of 25 mph. On the plus side, the electric buggy is quiet and pollution free – great for the environment. Their is even a possibility of getting a “green energy” credit from the Feds for switching to one. The electric motor operates great to well below freezing temperatures, and always “cranks” if the batteries are charged. Pricing on the upscale Stealth is as high or a bit higher than a comparable gas power utility vehicle, but you get a lot for your money.