It is a refreshing change to see a British designed and manufactured environmentally friendly product making an impact around the world. The Eco Charger all electric quad range is doing just that.
From innovative beginnings on a North Devon Farm, Eco Charger has rapidly grown to become a world leader in the development and manufacture of Electric All -Terrain Vehicles (E-ATV’s – Quad bikes).
Eco Charger’s founder Fred Chugg hails from a long established Devon farming family and the family farm, ‘Keypitts’, near Ilfracombe has been in the Chugg family since the 15th century. Like so many farmers facing unrelenting pressures and challenges, the Chuggs followed the family tradition of embracing change and set out in the late 1990’s to diversify the business. The result was that Keypitts developed as a major North Devon outdoor visitor attraction featuring, horse riding together with quad bike driving and country trail experiences. By 2009, the family found themselves running one of the UK ‘s first and largest conventional Quad Bike experiences. The operation employed over 40 people and at one point was operating over 100 various types of Quads.
A natural entrepreneur and innovator, Fred discovered that the Quad Bike side of the business offered him a valuable insight into the market potential for these unique vehicles, both in terms of working with the available technology, as well as gaining extensive practical experience studying how Quads performed across a wide range of terrains and weather conditions. This invaluable experience convinced Fred that the time was right to explore the concept of developing an electric powered ATV initially to use in his own Quad Park.
The available petrol driven Quads were unsuitable for both the local natural and agricultural environments as they caused pollution, were noisy and expensive to run and maintain.
This nascent interest in electric power harmonising with the family’s desire to run a ‘Greener’ farm experience complemented their strategic move to sourcing their energy requirements through Wind and Solar PV technology. Keypitts Farm is often referenced as an exemplar of ‘best practice’ environmental sustainability and ‘clean’ energy generation in the agricultural sector.
Initially the development team, led by Fred, experimented with adapting and converting existing petrol quads. They created the first working trial concept vehicle but it soon became obvious that to work successfully it would be necessary to design and build a completely new vehicle format that would be robust enough to fulfil a wide range of tasks.
In 2011 the first Eco Charger E-ATV was released to market as a pre-production prototype. This proved phenomenally successful and the vehicle is still in active use – including a stint as a stable camera platform for the World Athletics event staged at the Olympic Stadium in London. In 2013, it became clear there was a demand for a high-quality E-ATV but with a marked resistance on price at the lower entry level. At this point the Eco Charger enterprise was separated out from the Chugg farming businesses and established as a stand-alone company.
In 2014, the directors decided to position the growing range of vehicles firmly as high standard, robust working vehicles applying for CE registration marking whilst simultaneously upgrading supplier sourcing across the range to select only the best components – predominately and increasingly from UK companies. Emphasis also moved towards building vehicles to exacting engineering specifications rather than to a unit cost. The emphasis was on the environmental advantages of electric power, zero emissions, reduced noise, and recharging capabilities enshrined as key drivers.
From this point on, Eco Charger rapidly expanded their business operations in terms of new vehicle development; volume production, adoption of new technologies, active marketing and buoyant sales both in the UK and increasingly export markets.
The company has established a continuously developing network of agents and dealerships, across Europe, Australasia and Southern Africa and more recently the USA.
The current vehicle range of five models has been refined to offer both 2WD and 4WD models with options for lead acid power supplies and more recently introduced Lithium technology.
Expanding demand led the company to establish its principal manufacturing base at Weston Super Mare with up to date facilities and excellent UK and international logistics links. Further expansion took place in 2021 and a Heritage Interpretation & Education Centre opened encouraging interest in Energy Generation, Environmental Conservation, sustainable farming practices and the Eco Charger story. An additional 210 m² of floor space was also set up to function as a multi-function stores facility, distribution, customisation and UK service centre for the company’s entire UK and export operations.
The quad bikes are designed, developed and produced in a truly alternative factory. They are assembled using 100% renewable energy with 8kWp on-grid and 8kWp off-grid solar arrays and a 4kWp wind turbine supplying a 24kW battery bank. When the battery bank is full a control light comes on, meaning the Production Team can use the power tools. When the battery bank is depleted the Production Team revert to hand tools. This is a simple and revolutionary process that reduces the carbon footprint of these bikes.
The Eco Charger ATV is designed and built as a workhorse, rigorous testing, controlled production and quality components make it a machine to rely on. It has amazing torque for towing, regenerative braking to preserve power and quiet when approaching horses and livestock are additional benefits.
Most ATV owners spend £1,500/year – at current prices. £6.36/gallon, that’s 236 gallons. With a typical 20mpg quad that’s 4720 miles travelled. The Eco Charger travels 30 miles per charge. 4720 miles needs 157 charges, at 50p per charge, that’s – £79/year or free if you are generating your own solar or wind energy.
There are five models available all with hi/low range from the 50km/hr 2WD Dominator designed for lighter duties starting at £9,995.00 to the Lithium Prestige 50 km/hr 4WD with diff lock and a range of 110km for £19,995.00.
All models are charged via a domestic plug.
If you work the land in these challenging times, Eco Charger want to give you one less thing to worry about:
To demonstrate the confidence they have in their bikes, they offer, on top of the standard 1 year manufacturer’s warranty, an extra 2 year extended warranty, so you can enjoy 3 years stress-free quad bike usage.
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