Taiga Motors, a start-up based in Montreal, Quebec, has revealed what it’s calling the world’s first electric snowmobile.
Taiga Motors was founded in Montreal, Quebec in 2015 by three former McGill engineering students, Gabriel Bernatchez, Sam Bruneau, and Paul Achard, who all worked on electric vehicle powertrains for the McGill Racing Team. They’ve now unveiled what they’re calling the world’s first electric snowmobile.
The company recently partnered with Whistler Blackcomb and Canadian Wilderness Adventures (CWA) to test the prototype of the all-electric TS2 snowmobile. According to an article that ran in the Whistler Question newspaper, the trials have been successful. “Everybody thought it was pretty impressive,” the paper quotes CWA general manager Craig Beattie as saying. “We had the odd glitch that happened, which I think that you have to have an expectation of, but all-in-all I think they were all blown away.”
Because it was designed from the ground up rather than taking an existing gas-powered sled and converting it, the TS2 weighs under 500 pounds (225 kg), which puts it on par with a contemporary sled. Taiga says the TS2 is “the first electric snowmobile in history capable of outperforming the best combustion snowmobiles while being vastly more efficient.” It’s electric motor is fed by a 15 kWh battery pack that’s good for 100 kilometres of range. It boasts 107 horsepower, 184 pound-foot torque and has a three-second 0-100 km/h acceleration sprint. The company also says its drivetrain requires much less maintenance than a gas-powered snowmobile and it’s platform can “easily be adapted for maximum performance in all snowmobiling segments: from deep powder exploration in the backcountry to smooth touring in variable terrains.”
And because we live in a fully connected age, the TS2 also comes with wi-fi connectivity and GPS, an all-digital dashboard, driver-selectable performance settings and over-the-air software updates.
Taiga says the charging times for the electric snowmobile are two hours at 240 volts or there will be an optional DC fast charger that will apparently charge the battery to 80 percent capacity in just 20 minutes.
One of the most exciting things about the new TS2 is that it has zero emissions. A typical combustion engine snowmobile emits 88 grams per kilometre of carbon monoxide, nitrogen oxide and hydrocarbons. That’s 22 times the amount emitted by a passenger car. The electric snowmobile does not have any emissions. The electric engine is also much quieter than a contemporary snowmobile.
The company is currently taking reservations with a refundable $500 deposit and aims to bring the TS2 to market next year at a starting price of US$15,000, which is closer to CAD$20,000 at current exchange rates.