March 7th, 2012 by Jason Giacchino
All the hype about electric motors being the wave of the future has me wondering if it’s possible to swap out the internal combustion engine of an ATV with an electric motor & batteries? I have a 1987 Honda Fourtrax with a blown engine- rather than rebuild it, maybe this would be a way of giving back to the environment.
Since your question was simply whether or not such a swap is possible, the answer is yes. If you were asking if it’s probable, practical or remotely close to economical, all those answers come in on the NO side of the scale.
Let us, just for the sake of argument, pretend you would encounter no trouble in mounting the lithium ion battery packs into the cavity designed for your 4-stroke engine, drive train, and exhaust.
Additionally let’s for a moment ignore the fact that electric motors are actually located on the inside of the wheels and are incompatible with the rims/ brakes you currently have. Even still you would have to piecemeal an electric motor/ battery package from a manufacturer like Zero Motorcycles.
The motors alone would cost you around $4,000 and each battery pack (with charger) is $2,995 (you would likely need multiple batteries). In the end you could easily sink $10-large into a machine that would demand countless hours of backyard engineering, may or may not operate properly and still be riding on a frame/ chassis from 1987. When you consider that domestic manufacturers like Eco Electric ATV offer brand new electric motor equipped ATVs (like their E-Force) for around $8,000, going about it your way would have to be a labor-of-love for lottery-winners only affair.
More information on Eco Electric can be found here.