Reinforcing its commitment to having electric-powered machines in all of its lineups by 2026 (yes, including snowmobiles), BRP and its Rotax powerplant division broke ground on a new research and development facility in Austria on June 21, 2022.
In previous interviews, BRP CEO and President has stated the 2026 timeline, although he has cautioned that adding electric options in snowmobiles will likely be the steepest hurdle, given where, when and how snowmobiles are utilized. That said, the innovative company did unveil a hydrogen fuel-cell powered Lynx snowmobile two years ago, and continues to research and develop other options as well.
Here’s the press release:
E-FUTURE AT BRP-ROTAX: GROUNDBREAKING CEREMONY FOR NEW R&D BUILDING IN GUNSKIRCHEN
The launch of BRP-Rotax’s large-scale E-future will be marked this summer by the construction of a modern R&D building for the development of future innovative electric drive components in Gunskirchen. Yesterday the company held a groundbreaking ceremony for this forward-looking project.
Gunskirchen, June 22, 2022 – With its innovative drive systems “Made in Upper Austria”, BRP-Rotax is the leading manufacturer of engines in the leisure and powersports sector. In addition to combustion engines specialized in power sports applications, the Gunskirchen-based company is also a pioneer in sustainable propulsion models with projects such as the zero-emission, fuel cell-powered Lynx HySnow snowmobile and the high-performance e-kart series. However, its Canadian parent company BRP is now going one step further and will also introduce electric models as standard in every single vehicle line by the end of 2026. This landmark decision is also of crucial importance for Rotax: In the future, the required electric drive components will be developed in Upper Austria.
New R&D building as the heart of the E-future
The start of the large-scale E-future will be marked this summer by the construction of a modern R&D building for the development of future innovative electric drive components at the Gunskirchen site.
“With the introduction of electric drives in all our product lines, we are pursuing an ambitious goal for a more sustainable future in the world of powersports. Therefore, we are using our technical know-how and innovation capabilities to implement the best strategy for the development of electrically powered products. The construction of the new R&D building in Gunskirchen is a key milestone in our electric journey to achieve this,” explains Thomas Uhr, Chief Technology Officer BRP and Managing Director of the BRP Holdings (Austria) GmbH.
“In the future, this R&D building will form the heart of our ambitious venture in the field of electromobility. This is where our electric drive components will be developed and extensively tested. Equipped with state-of-the-art technology and infrastructure, our experts in this building are laying the foundation for technological change in the leisure and powersports sector,” explains Stefan Arndt, GM BRP-Rotax / Member of the Management Board, VP R&D Powertrain.
Covering an area of around 7,600 m2 [Editor’s Note: That equivalent to 81,800 square feet] on four floors, the new R&D building on the company’s premises includes an EV development laboratory and workshop, test infrastructure with sophisticated EV test benches, and important office space, among other things. Completion and commissioning of the R&D building is scheduled for August 2023. From then on, around 200 highly qualified employees will work in this new building.
Festive groundbreaking ceremony with prominent guests of honor from politics and business
With decisive infrastructure investments, BRP-Rotax not only ensures a further technological upswing in Upper Austria, but also creates a large number of new high-quality jobs in the region over the next few years. The company celebrated this important step into a successful and sustainable future at BRP-Rotax yesterday with high-ranking representatives from politics and business at the groundbreaking ceremony for the new R&D building.
The guests of honor included Denys Lapointe, Chief Design Officer BRP and Thomas Uhr, Chief Technology Officer BRP as well as Doris Hummer, President of the Upper Austrian Chamber of Commerce, Joachim Haindl-Grutsch, Managing Director of the of the Upper Austrian Federation of Industry, Christian Schöffmann, Mayor of Gunskirchen.
Statements about the big future project of BRP-Rotax
“Our Upper Austrian companies are among the European pioneers in environmental and climate protection. BRP-Rotax is taking exactly the right steps in this direction with its electromobility future. With this investment, BRP-Rotax, as a leading company in Upper Austria, not only ensures a further technological upswing, but also creates new, highly qualified jobs.”
Mag. Doris Hummer
“The transformation of the mobility system toward CO2 neutrality is one of the central global challenges of our time. Technological leadership is the decisive competitive factor in order to be able to secure value creation and jobs in Austria in the future as well. BRP-Rotax is a leading company in the domestic automotive industry. The Federation of Austrian Industry congratulates BRP-Rotax on this promising step towards the construction of a new R&D building in Gunskirchen as a prelude to an e-future.”
DipI.-Ing. Dr. Joachim Haindl-Grutsch
“As the mayor, I am very pleased about this innovative development at the Gunskirchen site and I wish much success with this future project!”
Christian Schöffmann, Mayor of Gunskirchen