Montreal-based Taiga Motors is taking US$500 deposits for its battery-powered all-terrain vehicles, which offer a whopping 180 horsepower to move just 586 pounds of weight. That means zero to 62 miles per hour in just 2.9 seconds—actually faster than any Tesla Model 3 (3.1 seconds).

That it’s also the quickest snowmobile ever goes without saying. The range is about 86 miles, and the snowmobiles—which will come in three models—start at US$15,000. They’re expected to reach reservation holders early in 2022.

The Taigas look like other snowmobiles. You can still use them to haul stuff or get around in snow country. But there’s a huge performance edge here. “Instant torque, no matter the elevation, temperature or riding style,” the company says. “Zero throttle lag and a perfectly linear response enable delicate control for technical maneuvers while an endless torque band provides unmatched towing and climbing capabilities.”

Although winter weather is somewhat on the retreat because of climate change, there’s still plenty of snow around the U.S., and Americans love their snowmobiles. There are 1.2 million of them registered in the U.S., the International Snowmobile Manufacturers Association said, and 133,100 have been sold globally this year (59,234 in the U.S. and 50,567 in Canada).

In the U.S., it’s a US$26 billion annual industry—with the average user spending US$2,000 each year on related activity.

The four major companies that build snowmobiles are Arctic Cat (Minnesota), Polaris (Minnesota), Yamaha (Ontario, Canada), and BRP (Quebec). None of them have fielded electric models, though Polaris does make an electric ATV (Ranger XP Kinetic), so it just seems like a matter of time.

Although winter weather is somewhat on the retreat because of climate change, there’s still plenty of snow around the U.S., and Americans love their snowmobiles. There are 1.2 million of them registered in the U.S., the International Snowmobile Manufacturers Association said, and 133,100 have been sold globally this year (59,234 in the U.S. and 50,567 in Canada).

In the U.S., it’s a US$26 billion annual industry—with the average user spending US$2,000 each year on related activity.

The four major companies that build snowmobiles are Arctic Cat (Minnesota), Polaris (Minnesota), Yamaha (Ontario, Canada), and BRP (Quebec). None of them have fielded electric models, though Polaris does make an electric ATV (Ranger XP Kinetic), so it just seems like a matter of time.

Entry-level snowmobiles are light, and offer such amenities as electric start and electric reverse, and engines of about 60 to 70 horsepower. Slightly heavier performance snowmobiles up the ante to 85 horsepower and up, with more sophisticated suspension systems. You’d want that when crossing a frozen lake at 100 mph.

According to Snowmobile.com, “These sleds generally favor an aggressive riding position and comfort is sacrificed in favor of adrenaline-inducing performance.” Touring snowmobiles, by contrast, offer longer range and more comfortable seating.

The three Taiga models are the Ekko mountain bike, the Atlas crossover and the Nomad utility. All three have thermal management systems for their battery systems, to keep power supplied even in below-zero conditions. They support DC fast charging. The Taiga company also makes an electric personal watercraft, the Orca, with two-hour riding on a charge.

The first Taigas were completed around Christmas. Taiga CEO Sam Bruneau said in a recent statement that the company was “excited by the idea of our customers being able to ride on these cutting-edge machines that embody winter exploration without compromise.” Taiga is going public in a SPAC deal, and hopes to raise $100 million.

One of the big challenges for electric snowmobiles will be building an adequate charging network. According to Mark Lester in Supertrax magazine, “So what if a Taiga could go 200 miles on a charge? How many charging stations will be available—given the remote, rural environment snowmobiling is practiced in?… If the rumored ‘super battery’ could pump up Taiga range to the 300-mile level, then there would be some potential for this concept in the hands of the trail-riding public. In the absence of this kind of range the Taiga will remain a specialty vehicle practical only for specialized usage.”

But resorts that offer snowmobiling trails will undoubtedly provide fast-charging stations along with the e-snowmobiles available for rental.