Bill Engler, director of sales, Gravely Commercial, said the Atlas JSV is the result of a strategic partnership with Polaris, the Minnesota-based manufacturer of snowmobiles, ATVs and neighborhood electric vehicles.
"We’ve been working with Polaris for two years putting this product together," said Engler at a preview of the Atlas JSV two days prior to the 2014 GIE EXPO.
Much of the Atlas JSV is manufactured, at a Polaris plant in Iowa. The remainder of the vehicle is finished at the Ariens plant in Brillion, Wisconsin.
Dan Ariens, president and CEO of Ariens, said the strategic partnership between his company and Polaris makes sense for many reasons. The two Midwest companies sell to adjacent markets, both focus on serving outdoor customers, Polaris and Ariens share similar cultures and both are growth oriented.
The Atlas JSV utility vehicle comes in two new models – the Atlas JSV-3000 and the Atlas JSV-6000. The 3000 seats three people on a single bench seat. The extended cab JSV-6000 version fits six adults across two bench seats. Both models are available with either an EFI gasoline engine (1- cylinder, 570cc, DOHC Polaris) or a 1028cc, Kohler diesel engine.
I got the opportunity to put these vehicles through their paces on the rolling terrain of the Buffalo Trace Distillery in Frankfort, Kentucky. I maneuvered both versions (the Atlas JSV-3000 and the JSV-6000) over a hilly, grassy area of the 125-acre site. How foolish it would be to turn down the chance to spend an afternoon driving shiny, red, new vehicles with the sweet smell of whiskey mash hanging in the still, damp air.
While I found the Atlas JSV to be sturdy and responsive, the vehicle’s ability to handle heavy workloads impressed me the most.
The Gravely folks loaded the bed of one of the units with bags of sand, and then hitched a trailer containing two Gravely zero-turn mowers to it – more than 2,000 pounds. No problem. The Atlas JSV took its heavy load up a relatively steep paved road seemingly effortlessly. The Atlas has a 1,900 lb. payload and a 2,000 lb. towing capacity.
Supported by an on-demand, true all-wheel-drive system and De Dion rear suspension, the JSV provides the heavy-duty traction and suspension required to maintain full ground clearance and a smooth ride even when carrying maximum loads.
The all-steel MX-18 JobBox features 1,250 lb.-capacity steel walls to prevent bowing and four integrated tie-down points to secure cargo. The 48-in. X 57-in. bed easily accommodates standard wooden pallets. Electric cargo bed lift is standard on all Atlas models.
Engler said that contractors wanted a utility vehicle designed and manufactured specifically for work – for job site use – rather than a recreational or basic UTV.
"We are going to own jobsite space," he added. "There is nothing like it in the industry. Everything about the Atlas is designed for the jobsite, from the pedal spacing that accommodates work boots to the details of the cargo bed.
Gravely began rolling out the Atlas JSV to its dealers several weeks prior to the EXPO. The new units will be showing up in dealer showrooms by year’s end. Gravely, is the commercial line of outdoor power equipment offered by the Ariens.