March 17, 2008 While we may have to wait a while for plug-in electric cars to be viable for highway use, there's plenty of other applications where battery-powered vehicles already make a lot of sense. One such application is for agricultural and industrial utility vehicles, which are driven around primarily on a business's premises. Distances are generally quite short, speeds low and use often infrequent - but they need to have good carrying capacity for heavy gear, and be cheap to run and maintain. Boshart's electric Tersus, based on the Phoenix SUT but with a smaller, much less expensive battery, provides a viable, green alternative utility vehicle around a private campus, with speeds up to 25mph, 4-passenger plus 1000lbs payload capacity and a 1-hour recharge to 80% capacity.

The roadgoing Phoenix SUT, with its 95mph top speed, 130-mile range and 10-minute fast charge ability, looks great for an electric getabout - but the lithium titanate battery pack that allows for such awesome figures carries an equally fearsome price tag, which is causing severe headaches for the manufacturer. Headaches like a possible US$200,000 loss per unit sold.

Boshart Electric Vehicles, who spent a bit of time working on the Phoenix, have produced an alternative vehicle, using the same Ssangyong body but with a greatly reduced battery capacity and a smaller motor to cater to the industrial utility vehicle market. Exclusively for off-road use on private grounds, the Boshart Tersus is available for less than US$30,000 and ready to roll.

It will charge fully from flat in 3 hours on a quick-charger, reaching a very usable 80% within an hour. Without a quick-charger it's more like 6 hours to fully charge. which makes it a simple overnight job. It will carry 4 passengers and 1000lbs of cargo to a governed max speed of 25mph. Aircon and a sound system are optional.

While we hope Phoenix will resolve its SUT's market issues and get it on the road soon, we're glad to see the less ambitious Tersus getting out there and proving its immediate viability.

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