Taiga Motors is one of the rare companies working to bring to market an all-electric snowmobile, which is actually a segment of transportation that desperately needs cleaner solutions.
The startup is unveiling today its new lineup of electric snowmobiles with some impressive specs.
With little to no standards and many two-stroke engines, current gas-powered snowmobiles are generally incredibly polluting – sometimes 50 times more polluting than an average car. People operate the machines to experience the great outdoors and it’s a shame to have to pollute your environment to do it.
An electric snowmobile would result in a zero-emission riding experience and it would also greatly reduce the noise pollution on snow trails since gas-powered snowmobiles are extremely loud.
That’s part of the reason why Taiga Motors set out to make the first production electric snowmobile. The company spun out of McGill’s racing team where the three co-founders, Paul Achard, Gabriel Bernatchez, and Sam Bruneau, worked on electric powertrains during their engineering studies at the university back in 2015.
Last year, the Montreal-based startup invited us to Mont-Tremblant to test out their TS2 prototype and we came out of the experience fairly impressed despite some issues with the prototype at the time.
More than a year later, they refined their product and today, they are launching their lineup of the electric snowmobile to go into production next year.
Taiga Atlas Electric Snowmobile
Taiga Ekko Electric Snowmobile
Taiga Nomad Electric Snowmobile
As you can see, some of these models have impressive specs, including 0 to 100 km/h (62 mph) acceleration in just 2.9 seconds.
I experienced the acceleration of Taiga’s last electric snowmobile prototype and it was exhilarating:
Having driven most electric vehicles under the sun, I am used to the direct acceleration of an electric motor, but it’s a different thing to experience it on snow.
But acceleration is the one thing that we all knew they could get right. What about all the rest?
One of the main problems when making any kind of electric vehicle is to have a big enough battery pack to give the vehicle a decent range without significantly increasing the weight of the vehicle.
This is especially important for a snowmobile since any weight gain will significantly reduce its efficiency due to the terrain on which it operates: snow.
Taiga managed to fit a 27 kWh battery pack in its snowmobiles while keeping the weight under 600 lbs.
Depending on the configuration, it results in a range of 96 km (60 miles) to 140 km (87 miles). It may sound short to some for a 27 kWh battery pack, but Taiga is taking into account that its vehicles are going to be used in cold weather.
Taiga is aware that it will not fit the needs of all snowmobile riders, but they argue that it is more than enough for many use cases and with tons of advantages.
Less emission and pollution is the most obvious, but with no transmission nor oil, there’s virtually no maintenance. It means less time spent in the garage and more time riding.
No more gas means savings and more convenience. If you are only using the machine on the weekends, you can easily charge on a regular outlet at home.
If you’d like to be able to go back out faster, you can use a 240-volt level two charger and if you are on the go, you can bring the Taiga electric snowmobile to a fast-charging station for a charge to 80% in 20 minutes.
Taiga’s electric snowmobiles start at $15,000 USD before taxes and incentives. You can reserve one today and they expect deliveries to start late next year.
This is awesome. At Electrek, we believe that every mode of transportation and all types of vehicles are going to become all-electric at some point.
It’s encouraging to see startups trying to address the electrification of some different segments like snowmobiles.
The product is clearly not perfect and people will certainly complain about the range, but for a first entry into the space, I think it’s surprisingly good.
As the energy density of batteries improves, we are going to see lighter options with more range.
In the meantime, some early adopters are still going to be able to enjoy some zero-emission riding in the snow.
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