Polaris Inc. and the Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC) launched an electric off-road vehicle charging network in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula with a grand opening. Just under a year after Polaris received a Mobility Public-Private Partnership and Programming (MP4) grant through the Michigan Office of Future Mobility and Electrification’s (OFME) program to develop and maintain an off-road trail charging network in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, the off-road charging network officially opened.

The first off-road charging network in the U.S. supports 100 miles of off-road trails in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula.

“It is an honor to mark the opening of this unique off-road electric charging network developed in partnership with the State of Michigan and the local communities along this trail system. Polaris and Michigan are connected in our efforts to bring exciting innovation and the latest technology to outdoor recreation,” said Andrew Chasse, vice president of strategy and partnerships at Polaris. “I’d like to thank the Michigan Economic Development Corporation in particular for allowing Polaris the opportunity to play a role in such an important initiative for the state and this standout milestone for the powersports industry.”   

“Michigan is known as a Make-It State, leveraging our incredible talent pool that brings together innovation, grit, determination, and visionary products of the future,” said Justine Johnson, State of Michigan’s chief mobility officer. “Working in tandem with Polaris to launch an electric off-road vehicle charging network in the Upper Peninsula exemplifies how working through public/private partnerships brings ideation to fruition in every corner of Michigan.  We applaud Polaris’s effort to support the growth of a reliable EV charging infrastructure in one of Michigan’s favorite ORV riding destinations.”

Michigan’s MP4 grant supports the State’s modernization mobility offerings and its outdoor recreation industry as it transitions to more electric and tech-enabled vehicles.

In June 2023, Polaris announced that Michigan selected the company to receive a $700,000 grant to develop and maintain an off-road trail charging network in its Upper Peninsula. Free to use, the EV charging stations enable the use of various electric off-road vehicles or other trail-approved electric options on the public trail system. There are four installed electric vehicle charging stations on state-designated ORV trails in the woods of Ontonagon County. The four chargers are inOntonagon, White Pine, Bergland, and Greenland.

Polaris partnered with Texas-based Yotta Energy, a renewable energy storage, to provide the charging hardware. Yotta’s REV charging station is an integrated, scalable EV charging solution with solar production capacity and 120kWh of onboard energy storage. The solution can be grid-connected or operated off-grid, making it suitable for use in remote areas and urban locations.

With the development of the off-road EV charging network, Polaris also announced that local Polaris Adventures Outfitter, Hamilton’s North Coast Adventures near Ontonagon, MI., is the first in the U.S. to offer a rental fleet of Polaris’ all-electric off-road vehicle, the Ranger XP Kinetic, for exploring Michigan’s Western Upper Peninsula’s Pioneer ORV Trail in one of the company’s newest electric off-road vehicles and use the new off-road charging network. 

“Polaris Adventures was started with the goal of helping more people experience powersports and discover new ways to enjoy the outdoors, and this launch of our first electric off-road vehicle rental experience in the country will continue to do just that,” said Gray Rentz, vice president of Polaris Experience, Polaris.

“Our approach to electrification remains centered around understanding where we can best incorporate EV technology to enhance the riding experience and provide an incredible offering to customers. For utility customers, we’ve shown how electric technology can help us build one of the best utility off-road side-by-sides on the market, while data and insights from this effort in Michigan can help us refine our view on opportunities within the recreation off-road space,” Chasse continued.

Looking more broadly, Polaris is focused on testing electric prototypes across its product platforms and will commercialize purposefully where electrification improves the customer experience.

Polaris’, founded in 1954, line-up includes the Ranger, RZR, Polaris Xpedition and General side-by-side off-road vehicles; Sportsman all-terrain off-road vehicles; Military and Commercial off-road vehicles; Snowmobiles; Indian Motorcycle mid-size and heavyweight motorcycles; Slingshot moto-roadsters; Aixam quadricycles; Goupil electric vehicles; and Pontoon and Deck boats, including Bennington pontoons. Polaris also offers a robust portfolio of parts, garments and accessories. Headquartered in Minnesota, Polaris serves nearly 100 countries globally.

Image courtesy Polaris