It’s a fact we have to face: Nearly everything is electric these days. From the hot water heater in your home, to the way many of you are reading this story on a phone – it’s hard to imagine life not being propelled by its many uses.
In recent years the use of electric for mass transportation has also increased, from single-passenger smart cars to city buses and trains that carry thousand of passengers a day.
But would you ride an electric snowmobile when it’s time to go out and play?
In recent years several companies have been developing electric snowmobiles that will be marketed for consumer use. One of them, the Aurora eMotion, offers zero carbon emissions, but also has a limited range of 15 to 25 km (or roughly 9 to 15 miles) on a single battery charge, offering an emphasis on “eco tourism” in destination vacation areas such as the Lapland regions of Sweden, Finland and Norway. Not at all practical for recreational snowmobilers like us, but they might have their place.
“Especially in tourism, there is this ‘eco’ point of view that when you come far away to Lapland, to fragile areas, and you don’t want to ruin the silence of nature and the feeling how is it to be in the deep down forest,” said Olli Haavikko of Aurora eMotion.
Four engineers have been developing the eSled since 2010 and the vehicles are manufactured in a factory in Rovaniemi, Finland.
Meanwhile, Canadian-based Taiga Motors began making its own headlines last season when it announced the launch of its own electric snowmobile platform. Its TS2 sleds claim an even longer range of up to 100 km (62 miles) per charge, while also boasting speeds of 0 to 100 km (or 62 mph) in only 3.2 second – making it one of the fastest claimed electric snowmobiles produced. If those acceleration numbers are accurate, it could seemingly compete with other sleds similar in size to its claimed 507 pounds.
According to its website, “The TS2 is the first electric snowmobile in history capable of outperforming the best combustion snowmobiles while being vastly more efficient.” It has since launched a full lineup that includes utility, touring, crossover and mountain models.
According to sled specs, the powertrain includes a thermally controlled lithium-ion battery and a standard onboard charger that completes a 100 percent battery charge in two hours, with an optional DC “fast charge” capable of producing 80 percent in 20 minutes. It offers double A-arm mono shock front suspension and independent multi-link rear suspension as well as features such as LTE, GPS, Bluetooth and Wi-Fi connectivity displayed on a 7-inch digital display. Both single and two-up seating is available.
Taiga Motors was founded in 2015 by, “a group of engineers that believed there shouldn’t exist a compromise between exhilarating powersport pursuits and sacrificing the environment. Be it carving through powder, across lakes or along dirt trails nothing beats instant torque at your finger tips, silent speed and fresh air.
Despite the technology still needing improvements to satisfy most sledheads’ criteria regarding speed and range, with continued development electric snowmobile could be here to say.
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2 thoughts on “Electric Snowmobile Technology Continues To Develop”
Nope. It will fail to become mainstream or even niche, because the inability to find charging or a quick charge fast enough. Here in the blue state of Illinois there have been many attempts to create charging stations for electric vehicle (EV) at grocery stores, shopping malls, Costco, gas stations, and other facilities, and most of these options have already disappeared. The main issue was not fast enough charging versus a five minute gasoline fill-up. The solution was to increase power capacity to these charging stations to 500,000 watts per EV for a fast vehicle charge of 20 minutes, but the main obstacle was not a robust enough infrastructure to deliver the power needed, even in Chicago. Furthermore, the lack of funds to upgrade the power grid became prohibitive. The result was people charging cars at home over night.
In the snowmobile world we see an even bigger struggle. How to get an enormous amount of electrical power to rural areas for FAST charging of multiple EV sleds (1 Million watts of energy for two sleds at one time for a 20 minute quick charge. Google it). The immediate need for quick refill of electrical power at BP in the middle of nowhere Wisconsin or UP, would be a monumental obstacle. Who would invest in the infrastructure to the gas stations, restaurants, and hotels, and would it be possible in rural areas to deliver 1,600 amps of electricity (@600v) to a restaurant or gas station? Probably not.
Maybe a rental business that can charge their vehicles after a low 120 mile ride much like golf courses do their carts, but ideally we would need a 200-300 mile range like the Tesla EV to satisfy most sledders, but is that capacity even possible, and at what cost?
On the other hand, most people believed four strokes would never become mainstream and look at them now, but they too drink the readily abundant fossil fuel.
I believe gas sleds will be around for a long time.
good idea but not practical no where to plug in on the trails