U.P. snowmobile trails are legendary. Sleds contribute huge economic benefits. They get us outside in winter to enjoy the season’s unique beauty. But there is a new opportunity available, a way to reverse the most ridiculous mismatch for our frozen forests.
Snowmobiles zip along at 60+ MPH with 150 horsepower, gas engines, a price tag of $10,000-$20,000, not including the trailer or tow truck, to push a ±200 lb. human across our winter wonderland. It’s ridiculous because a single horse, fueled only by grass, grain, and water can haul a log weighing 1,500 pounds. Horse loggers have done this for centuries and still do. Using 150 horses just to move a snowmobiler is severe overkill.
But I get it. The thrill, the feeling of power, speed, being on the edge, sticking that turn without going airborne into a tree, the shiny colors, the windproof heated gear, the chance to enjoy friends, good food, and an occasional beer. Sleds bring the roar of a combustion engine to our snowy silence, emitting 88 grams of carbon monoxide per kilometer, and 22 times the amount of nitrogen oxide and hydrocarbons emitted by a passenger car. But a new machine now cures the ills of those gas guzzlers.
Introducing— electric snowmobiles!
Acceleration? Zero to sixty in 3.5 seconds standard configuration (2.9 sec. performance configuration). 120 HP standard configuration (180 HP performance configuration); all under 600 lbs. Significantly more power than leading sled engines. Zero throttle lag. Unaffected by elevation, temperature, and riding style. Peak performance in all conditions. Range— 80 miles. DC fast re-charge to 80% in 20 minutes. AC 240V L2 charge in 2 hours. An advanced thermal management system ensures the battery will always be in its sweet spot—even when temperatures get as low as -40˚F. No starting problems ever. No pulleys, no oil, no maintenance, period. Save up to $2,500 in maintenance while spending less time in the garage, and more time riding.
Electric sleds are here. They outperform your existing fossil sled. For about the same price, you can end your recreational gas burning, and ride the hottest machine—cleaner, faster, more reliable, and absolutely quieter. Even those who live in the forest are more tolerant of sleds that don’t disturb our quiet winter. Electric snowmobiles have no emissions.
I know, you are going to freak out about charging. Everybody new to electric vehicles freaks out. “Range anxiety” is why you don’t already own an electric car. You worry about running out of energy. But thousands of electric car owners are beyond worry. They love their electric cars. Still, where do you charge your sled? What if you run out of charge?
The typical fossil sled has average fuel consumption of around 10-20 mpg so tank size matters. But how often do you ride 200 miles without stopping? If you can add 80% of charge to your sled in 20 minutes, you can get 60 more miles of charge in less time than you can drink a beer. Electric outlets are more abundant than gas stations. Your electric sled will be the center of attention. At $0.15kWh, a 27kWh sled battery costs $4 for a full charge from empty.
Electric sleds are another piece of our new way of life.
CO2 must go. Everything needs to be electrified—cars, sleds, ATVs, furnaces, trucks, stores, industries, mines, everything. Recreational gas burning must end. Electricity can and will fill the gap better, more cleanly, and more powerfully. The transition is happening now. The U.P. has finally started installing solar farms, bringing clean, stable, cost-effective energy to all of us. Feel the power. Ride electricity.
Steve Waller’s family lives in a wind- and solar-powered home. He has been involved with conservation and energy issues since the 1970s and frequently teaches about energy. Steve can be reached at Steve@UPWallers.net.
Excerpted with permission from the Spring 2021 issue of Health & Happiness U.P. Magazine. Copyright 2021, Empowering Lightworks, LLC. All rights reserved.