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    Electric Snowmobile: Here to Stay?

    Posted by Ross Halvorson
    on Friday, April 21, 2017

    This image was seen on the Avalanche1 Facebook page recently. The Taiga Motors electric snowmobile appears to be based on a Ski-Doo chassis, and sport FOX Float shocks.
    The drive for electric snowmobiles has been ongoing since the EPA decided it should regulate the snowmobile industry. Quebec-based Taiga Motors thinks it may have finally come up with an electric sled consumers will accept, and the market is already buying in. 

    Taiga Motors claims it has the world’s first production electric snowmobile, producing zero emissions, requiring zero maintenance and offering zero compromise in performance. Those are some mighty bold - and border-line unbelievable - claims. 

    Little is known about this new product. AmSnow has reached out to Taiga Motors for further information, which will be coming soon. Still, we were able to garner some information from the bits of info on the Taiga website and others. 

    The main problem in producing an electric snowmobile for consumers has been a sacrifice in performance. Batteries just don’t operate well enough in cold temps to produce the performance many snowmobile enthusiasts demand.

    Taiga claims the battery in its sled is capable of running at 95% capacity at temps as cold as 40 degrees below zero (your C and F temps are all the same number when it’s that cold!). That’s about as good as we’ve seen from an electric snowmobile. And with a claimed range of up to 100 km (approx. 60 miles), that’s fairly comparable to about the time most snowmobilers start thinking about fuel. Recharging the battery apparently can be done in as little as 50 minutes, thanks to a “rapid recharge” capability. 

    The company also claims “superior handling” thanks to a lowered mass, although it’s unclear what the comparison is. The stated weight of 230 kg (507 lbs.) is impressive for an electric sled (or any sled for that matter). The most eye-catching stat, however, is that Taiga claims the sled goes from 0 to 100 km/h (0-62 mph) in 3.2 seconds. As far as acceleration goes, that would put this machine on par with the Yamaha Sidewinder and Arctic Cat Thundercat. 

    The “zero maintenance” claim by Taiga is nearly unfathomable. According to the company, there’s no oil or belts, and there's only one moving powertrain component. We can’t quite figure this out without the sled or schematic in front of us, but if there’s no belt, then it would stand to reason there is a chain. If that’s indeed the case, then you’d probably still have to lubricate it, presumably with oil, right? But there are other options out there and we are interested to hear what Taiga has to say on these points and more regarding chassis, suspension, drivetrain, etc.

    That may all become clear sooner rather than later. According to an article from the Whistler Question, two commercial fleets in Canada will run the Taiga Motors sleds next season – Canadian Wilderness Adventures and Whistler Blackcomb

    While electric snowmobiles may be creeping ever closer to consumer reality, this will never be a "zero emission sport," as nothing out there really is. Unless you live where you recreate or ride, you’ll still have to drive to wherever you are going to do your activity. For snowmobilers like us, that means trailering your electric sled somewhere with a truck, getting 10 mpg … unless they’ve upped the towing capacity of a Prius.

    Ross Halvorson, Senior Editor

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