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2013 Can-Am Commander Electric Preview


by Guillaume Rivard ,

Side-by-side vehicle owners who want to reduce their carbon footprint and quietly venture off the road have probably heard about the new Can-Am Commander Electric, which was developed at the Centre de technologies avancées BRP-Université de Sherbrooke (CTA) along with other specialized products such as the Can-Am Spyder Hybrid roadster.

The concept made its debut in Montreal during Club BRP 2011, the biggest event in the company's 70-year history. In light of the reaction from dealers, distributors and media from around the world, along with funding from the federal government’s Automotive Partnership Program, BRP decided to go ahead and market the Can-Am Commander Electric for the 2013 model year.

2013 Can-Am Commander Electric

Same Commander, only greener
BRP didn't reinvent the wheel, here. Based on the regular Commander, the 2013 Can-Am Commander Electric boasts the same rugged construction, rider-friendly layout, and convenient features -- not to mention selectable 2WD/4WD with on-demand locking rear differential. However, instead of a 71- or 85-hp Rotax engine, this gas-free variant relies on an air-cooled 23 kW (approx. 31 hp) electric motor with AC induction that draws energy from a maintenance-free 9.4 kWh lead-acid battery pack.

Adding an extra 600 pounds or so, it definitely won't be as quick and explosive as the Commander, let alone the Can-Am Maverick 1000R sport side-by-side vehicle, but with no emissions and no disturbing noise, the 2013 Can-Am Commander Electric might just become nature's new best friend -- unless it's being used by hunters who want to remain stealthy when tracking their prey.

Of course, don't expect to find a charging station on your way down the trails!

Still, the 2013 Can-Am Commander Electric can reach a speed of 40 km/h and cover anywhere between 40 and 160 km on a full charge. In order to get that far, though, you'll have to purchase the optional fast-charging lithium battery system (up to 21.2 kWh). Regenerative braking is also part of the equation.

Who is it for?
While some may question the actual purpose of an electric side-by-side vehicle, especially with regard to performance and capability, anyone from park managers to farmers to landscaping and groundskeeping city departments could use the 2013 Can-Am Commander Electric. Heck, it could serve as a beefed-up golf cart around campgrounds and RV resorts.

Available in yellow, white or a special camouflage package, the 2013 Can-Am Commander Electric offers a choice of over 50 accessories as well as a Low Speed Vehicle package for street use.

Sales are initially limited to select Can-Am dealers across Canada as well as in a handful of U.S. states. Contact your local retailer for exact availability and pricing.