Trends in Off-road High-performance VehiclesDan Heilman | October 20, 2016
A report on the global off-road high-performance vehicle market by London-based Technavio highlighted three trends that are expected to impact the market from 2016-20.
First, OEMs will focus on technologies that can accommodate tough terrains. For example, Isuzu recently developed the D-max pick-up truck, and partnered with Arctic Trucks to create a capable off-roader in the form of D-max pickup truck. The pickup also boasts of wider and higher prolific tires that provide better traction control over uneven surface.
Apart from wider tires, OEMs are working on manufacturing specialized suspension systems with high ground clearance to help off-road vehicles achieve greater approach, departure, and break-over angles. Improvements are also being made at the vehicle body level with manufacturers incorporating tough and durable chassis as the foundation element in off-road vehicles.
Second, more government agencies will adopt all-wheel drive (AWD) vehicles. The latest police vehicles from Detroit automakers offer engineering that is advanced compared to cars of 1990s. The difficulty that police officers used to face while maneuvering their vehicles during a suspect chase is being mitigated by increased performance of the engine, tuned powertrain and rugged suspension, the report says. Manufacturers have also worked on vehicle stability and traction control part to keep patrol cars on course.
Police vehicles used to rely on either rear-wheel or front-wheel drive, but automakers such as Chrysler, Ford and GM now offer at least one police vehicle in an all-wheel or four-wheel drive configuration, the report says.
Third, electric off-road racing vehicles will gain popularity. California-based Strategic Recovery Institute has begun focusing on sustainable automotive design. It recently developed EV1, an electric off-road racer that is capable of delivering 750 lb. ft. of torque at zero rpm with a top speed of 125 mph. Until recently, off-road manufacturers showed little interest in making electric off-road vehicles, the report says. But with fuel and emission constraints, electrification of off-road vehicles may be a sustainable solution for off-road vehicle manufacturers.