Taiga Snowmobiles – The E-Snowmobile is coming to Atlantic Canada.
Earlier this summer, there was some buzz around the Sledworthy office…which was actually a virtual office and it consistent of a text from a buddy saying…Keith Noble at Mid Island Motorsport was going to bring the Taiga Motors brand to Atlantic Canada. For those of you living in the garage, Taiga Motors is the first powersports company to release the equivalent of the Tesla for the snow, a fully electric snowmobile and PWC, which makes Taiga contenders for the full year.
The story behind the brand is really cool. These three McGill University Engineering students entered this concept into the McGill Dobson Cup Challenge and came away with the first place and a purse of $15,000. The founders; Gabriel Bernatchez (EEng’16), Sam Bruneau (BEng’15) and Paul Achard (BEng’14), all McGill graduates, founded Taiga Motors in 2015. After the competition, the team started getting phone calls from fans as far away as California with fans “asking to buy”. The team quickly reached out to a number of ski hills across North America to gauge reaction and it was an unexpected and enthusiastic ‘yes!’
Leapfrog ahead five years and we find ourselves, thinking about the silent arm-wrenching torque of this Tesla of the snow…how will it stand up to market expectations, ride range, horsepower classification…and more interesting, who will be the first person in Newfoundland & Labrador to own the Taiga Snowmobile, the world’s first electric snowmobile?
We caught up with Keith Noble of Mid Island Motorsports, the first Taiga Motors dealer for Atlantic Canada…and of course, we had a bunch of questions.
Sledworthy: Keith – How did you first hear about the Taiga Electric Snowmobiles?
I actually first seen their prototype leaked on Facebook 2 or 3 years ago and have been following their designs ever since.
Sledworthy: Mid-Island Motorsports will become the first Taiga Dealer for this province…Why?
I reached out to Taiga last fall and expressed my interest in the brand. Earlier this year they contacted me with more details and kind of picked our dealership for the region. For the foreseeable future, we will be the only dealer on NL Island. I don’t see this being much of an issue to many possible customers as we ship parts, deliver snowmobiles and attend snowmobile races island wide all winter long.
Sledworthy: What’s your plan to introduce the Taiga Electric Snowmobile to the NL market
Our original plan was to have a demo sled here the whole winter and I was going to take a couple of weeks to trailer it around the island and just have chats with guys and let them take it for a spin. Since COVID-19 has delayed some timelines, were currently unsure if we will have a demo this winter or how long we`ll have it.
Sledworthy: Head to Head…is there a fair comparison to a Gas Power sled?
When you compare numbers, overall, there is no real comparison in a gas sled to Taiga models. And to make it even better, prices are about the same. Most common question is horsepower, which is 180 HP with no lag compared to 160/165 in gas powered 800s across the industry.
Sledworthy: Who’s going to be your first customer for a Taiga?
There is actually a sled already reserved on the island. It’s being delivered on the Western part of the island!
Sledworthy: E-Sleds…. fade or here to stay?
Without a doubt here to stay. Every aspect of life is changing towards renewable and green energy. I think like most things, Newfoundland may be a couple years behind on their timeline of making these vehicles “main stream” but it is coming.
Sledworthy: Everyone got questions…. price, battery life, weight, warranty, user maintenance, etc….we need answers?
Depending on model, you can compare your model equivalent in price to any regular competitor. Price is actually about the only similar things about these sleds! Lets use the Crossover for example, its comparable to a Riot X or Renegade X.
However, it weighs less then 600 pounds and has 180-horse power while getting up to 140 kms per single charge. You can also do “quick charges” which give 80% charge in 20 minutes. The 100% electric powertrain is patented by Taiga and offers zero engine lags and zero impact by elevation levels.
Another great feature when comparing to gas models is the lack of maintenance required, users will no longer have to worry about gear boxes, oil, belts, spark plugs, etc. The only real maintenance required is periodically checking/adjusting your track tension.
Every model comes with a fantastic 5 year /20,000 km warranty!
Sledworthy: What’s something about the Taiga Electric Snowmobile that you think might blow folks minds?
One of the coolest features with all new Taiga products is their remote updates and diagnostics. If any issues arise with your machine or new updates are released, it can be done remotely without traveling to our dealership. There is a Taiga app for smart phones where you can regularly monitor your machine and use the tools listed above.
Sledworthy: How much supply will you have access to for this coming season?
Currently all Taiga models are only being built to fill orders. So it is an order only system.
Sledworthy: How will you introduce the Taiga to the NL marketplace? Will folks have to come to your dealership to demo or will you bring it to the users at events…tell us more?
As talked about above, it is still hard to know at this time due to COVID but we will be posting updates on our Facebook page and website soon as we know.