Polaris Loans Electric Low Speed Vehicle

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The loan of a Polaris EV LSV to John Day Fossil Beds National Monument will enable park staff to test energy self-sufficiency

Recently, at Byron’s John Day Polaris, Jim Hammett, Superintendent of John Day Fossil Beds National Monument and Scott Ritner, the National Park Service Ranger at Painted Hills, took delivery of an electric Low Speed Vehicle from Polaris Industries.

The vehicle, a Polaris EV LSV, will be on loan to the park for a year and will enable the park to test whether the Painted Hills Unit of the monument, located near Mitchell, Oregon, can become carbon neutral in its operation and self-sufficient in its energy use.

With the recently completed construction of a new park house that generates far more energy than it uses, park staff hoped to make the Painted Hills Unit carbon-neutral and energy self-sufficient in housing, administration and transportation.

Due to fiscal constraints, the monument did not have sufficient funding this year to both construct the house and purchase a rechargeable electric vehicle. However, through a generous loan from Polaris, they will be able to test their energy calculations in the coming months and see if reality will match engineering calculations.

Creating a renewable energy economy is one of the nation’s top goals, and one which the Interior Department and National Park Service takes seriously. Last year, Jon Jarvis, the NPS Director, challenged each park superintendent, “…to reduce their carbon footprints, to set a very high standard for carbon neutrality, and to be an example of sustainability for the entire world.”

John Day Fossil Beds took this challenge seriously. “I think we have a shot at being one of the very first park units with moderately high visitation to be carbon neutral and energy self-sufficient,” said Superintendent Hammett. “Our engineer that did the initial energy calculations showing it was possible used a Chevy Volt as his basis for calculating transportation energy. Obviously, for the gravel roads at Painted Hills, and for transporting trash and maintenance supplies, a Chevy Volt is not very practical. This is why we are thrilled with this generous loan from Polaris – we will have a very functional electric vehicle, ideally suited for our Painted Hills ranger, and we’ll be able to plug it in at the house and use the surplus solar-based energy it generates to charge it.”

The Polaris EV LSV, includes the necessary features to classify the vehicle as a low speed vehicle per the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, such as a horn, turn signals, automotive-quality windshield and rear view mirror.

The unit features a 30-horsepower electric motor, up to a 50-mile range, 25 mph top speed, 1,000-pound payload capacity, 1,250 lbs. of towing and a 500-lb cargo box. The unit can be used in three modes; High for speed, Low for towing and hauling, and Max for maximum range to ensure the best use of power and battery life for any application.

The Polaris EV LSV also has VersaTrac with one-wheel, rear-wheel drive for a tighter turning radius that is easier on terrain.

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