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An electric ATV is an all-terrain vehicle that runs off an electric motor rather than a gasoline-powered engine. These units tend to be lighter-duty vehicles that are not capable of high speeds or extreme driving, but are useful for other applications that call for low speeds, light work, and no exhaust. The electric ATV will feature one or more batteries that power the drive components. The size, shape, and features on such units will be similar to those of a gasoline-powered ATV, though the electric version is likely to be smaller and lighter.
Many kids' ATVs are electric models, since small children do not need the power output of a gasoline-powered engine. They run on batteries that can be recharged, and they can be driven over rough terrain for extended periods of time, but they will not run as long or have as much power for climbing or crawling as larger, gas-powered versions. Full-size electric ATV models also exist, and they are commonly used on farms or ranches, as well as by recreational riders looking for a less expensive and fun alternative to larger, more powerful ATVs.
Golf course and park managers often use electric ATV models for utility purposes. Such ATVs will feature a bed for hauling items or materials, as well as a cab that allows two people to sit side by side. A roll bar or canopy is usually included on these vehicles, and many even have windshields. Such electric ATV models often look like heavy-duty golf carts. The advantage of such models is the lack of exhaust fumes and the drastic reduction of engine noise, both of which are important on golf courses or other areas in which guests will be enjoying peace and solitude.
These advantages may also be necessary for other settings, such as farms and ranches, where animals can get frightened from engine noise and fumes can be damaging to workers and animals alike. The drawback to the electric ATV in such settings is its inability to run for as long as a gas-powered engine in some instances, as well as the need to recharge the batteries periodically. Unlike a gas-powered engine, which can be refueled anywhere, an electric model will need to be plugged in at a power source such as an outlet in a home or other building. This reduces the versatility of the vehicle for some users.