Driving a side-by-side like the Polaris RZR is one exciting experience and the owner of one particular RZR has made the vehicle even more thrilling thanks to a dramatic powertrain swap.
In standard guise, this RZR RS1 left the factory with a 1.0-liter two-cylinder engine mustering up roughly 100 hp. That’s a good amount of power for a vehicle this size and makes it perfect for driving through dirt and sand. However, this one has ditched its engine in favor of a rear-mounted electric motor from Tesla and two battery packs from a Toyota Prius Prime.
The Polaris has gained almost 440 lbs (200 kg) in its conversion to an electric drivetrain but that’s more than made up for by the fact that it now pumps out upwards of 303 hp and 370 lb-ft (501 Nm) of torque at the rear wheels. Those are figures more fitting of a sports car and a video of the RZR testing on the dyno shows just how potent it is.
While the RZR probably spends most of its time speeding through sand dunes, it is actually street legal and one fortunate YouTuber had the chance to put it through its paces in a parking lot. Unsurprisingly, he was left stunned by the performance that it provides. Sure, you probably wouldn’t want to be involved in a crash with this thing but the open-air design certainly adds to the driving experience.
Polaris doesn’t currently build an electric version of the popular RZR, although it has dipped its toe into the world of electric ATVs with the smaller Ranger EV, complete with an electric motor producing 30 hp.