November 8, 2022
Today, we bring you an exclusive first-drive review of the Theron Reever, an electric ATV that could make you stop waiting for the Tesla Cyberquad and set the stage for a new segment being electrified.
Over the last few years, we have seen the wave of electrification taking over the auto industry spilling over to motorsports.
Now we get to present you with a first step into electrifying a new segment in a serious way: electric ATVs.
There have been a few electric ATVs on the market already, but most of them have not been designed to be electric from the ground up; they are often converted from gasoline-powered ATVs and often with lead-acid batteries.
The Theron Reever is different. The team behind it has designed the ATV from the ground up to be the best ATV possible – to do that these days, you have to do it with a battery-electric powertrain.
Theron Sport is a small start-up based in Shawinigan, Quebec, founded by engineer Bastien Theron with the goal of bringing an electric ATV to market.
Bastien, along with two partners, built a small team that developed the Reever, which could end up being the first production electric ATV built to be electric from the ground up.
The team is building the ATV itself down to the frame, and it made a point to try to source parts as locally as possible and reduce the reliance on China, where supply chain issues have immobilized many vehicle programs over the last few years.
When touring Theron’s shop, I was impressed by the level of knowledge that Bastien, the CEO and cofounder, had for every single component that was going into the electric ATVs down the wire harnesses.
One of the best examples is Theron’s battery module in the Reever. With the prototype, Theron used modules from a salvaged Tesla vehicle.
Since Tesla has open-sourced its patents, the company had the opportunity to take a lot of inspiration from the Tesla module (left) for its own battery module (right).
Theron is using similar cylindrical li-ion battery cells as Tesla’s and with its battery modules, it is able to put up to 20 kWh of battery capacity in the relatively small form factor that is the Reever ATV.
In comparison, the original Nissan Leaf, a full-size car, had a 24 kWh battery pack.
It’s hard to talk about what kind of range can be enabled with 20 kWh of battery capacity since it completely depends on how you use the ATV, but Theron quotes a range of 180 km (110 miles), which is more than the average ATV rider needs for a whole week.
It’s a two-seater, so whether or not you are alone on the ATV will have a major difference. It also has a towing capacity of up to 1,500 pounds, and it can be used as a workhorse. All those situations will affect your range.
The Theron Reever can be charged on a regular outlet overnight, or if you have a J1772 level 2 charger (like for electric cars), it will be charged up in just three hours.
The ATV’s battery pack powers a 52 kW electric motor that enables a top speed of up to 100 km/h (62 mph), which is probably faster than you ever want to go on an ATV.
Over the last year, Theron has produced several advanced prototypes of the Reever, and several of them are already in the hands of customers. It has an interesting approach to including its early clients in the development process by delivering them prototypes that they test for them. Theron regularly picks those prototypes back up to update them with production parts until they have a full production version of the Reever.
I had the opportunity to play with one of those electric Reever ATV prototypes last weekend and put a first-ride review together.
Here’s my first-ride video review of the Theron Reever electric ATV prototype:
The company has been mostly operating in stealth mode until now. It is now advanced enough in the development process that it is comfortable taking reservations.
Simultaneously, it is currently in the process of closing a financing round that would finance its production line, which is currently being designed to bring the electric ATV to volume production next year.
You can reserve the Theron Reever for a $450 USD deposit on the company’s website.
The electric ATV starts at $14,000 USD for the version with the 10 kWh battery pack.
If you want the version with a bigger 20 kWh battery pack for more range and energy capacity, you are going to have to pay $17,500.
Both versions can be upgraded with a second motor for an all-wheel-drive powertrain for $4,000 USD.
Based on my discussions with the company, production will be limited to about 100 units in 2023, but the plan is to ramp up significantly from there with the volume production line. It is going to be a first-come, first-served kind of thing.
I am extremely excited about this project. As I have stated before, I am often skeptical of small start-ups in the EV sphere just because of how difficult it is to bring a vehicle to market, but I am more optimistic about projects like this that don’t involve an actual car.
It’s still extremely difficult to bring an ATV to production, but the entire homologation process and regulatory space is an order of magnitude less complicated and expensive to navigate, which greatly increase the chances of success for a project like this one.
Theron is not out of the woods yet, but I like their chances, and I think that they have a good team with the right approach.
After meeting them, it has become clear that they are EV nerds who are also EV enthusiasts, and they want to create the best ATV experience possible with an electric powertrain.
They are currently completely focused on bringing the Reever to production, but there are quite a few cool things to come after that will make the ownership experience even cooler. First off, the company plans to enable Reever owners to turn their ATVs into power stations. You will be able to power most electric tools and devices anywhere using your ATV’s battery packs.
Theron also designed the vehicle to be compatible with accessories that will also be powered by the battery pack, like an electric snowblower and an intelligent trailer.
It’s hard not to get excited by this project. I reserved one, and I can’t wait.