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Thread: Electric snowmobile

              
   
   
  1. #1
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    Electric snowmobile

    I bet this electric snowmobile really sucks the juice, especially when the riding conditions are likely to be well below freezing:
    https://electricmotorcycles.news/tai...or-production/
    Richard - Current bikes: 2018 16.6 kWh Zero S, 2016 BMW R1200RS, 2011 Royal Enfield 500, 2009 BMW F650GS, 2005 Triumph T-100 Bonneville, 2002 Yamaha FZ1 (FZS1000N) and a 1978 Honda Kick 'N Go Senior.

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    A lot of colleges in the north USA have electric sled competitions. Mine did. They are horribly inefficient, fun, but low range. We also had a clean sled team for quiet ICE sleds with real mufflers and they honestly were amazing with very little engine noise. There is just very little market for either. I think E-dirtbikes with a timbersled rear is my next step.

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    Our local dealer is supposed to get in some Taiga snowmobiles for demos. Very excited to try them. We ride in the mountains so it will be interesting to see if they have a good handling mountain sled. Easy to get a trail sled to handle, but very competitive advancements every new chassis for mountain sleds and mountain riders are pretty picky on handling. The electric motor won't suffer from loss of power at altitude so their 180hp sled will still have 180hp at 10,000 feet rather than being down to 126hp (30% drop since 3% drop per 1,000 ft elevation). Most 800/850 mountain sleds are about 165hp so down to 115hp at the elevation where we ride. Only sleds with turbos are up in the 180+hp range at elevation (and that adds another $5,000 to the price of an ICE snowmobile).

    If Taiga's stats are correct, the weight is reasonable compared to ICE sleds. I think they were about 500lbs on their mountain sled which is about what a ICE sled weighs full of fuel...though gasoline is burned throughout the day so ICE sleds get lighter as the day progresses where a battery sled stays the same weight all day. I think Taiga's range estimate on the mountain sled was around 80 miles which is about the same range we get out of the typical 10 or 11 gallons of gas on an ride with setup snow. In deep powder, we might burn through that same 10 gallons in 40 miles. That might sound like a short ride for trail riders, who rack up 100 - 200 miles a day, but it takes 4 - 6 hours (what we consider a typical "all day" ride) to put on 40 - 50 miles in deep snow mountain terrain. I'm assuming Taiga's 80 mile estimate was on setup snow but in actual winter temperature riding and not a lab estimate so that should account for cold winter temps. They have had their sleds out testing for a couple winters now. If they get 80 miles on setup snow and 40 - 50 miles in over-the-handlebar deep powder, that will be plenty. Only issue will come with running out of battery power. On a sled, you can pour in some gas from your backup gas can or from a buddies sled. Out of power on a Taiga would mean a tow out of the mountains since even a generator would take too long to get you enough power to ride out.

    I've been riding sleds 40+ years and snowbikes for 7 years. I was again on a snowbike fulltime this season. Problem with batteries on snowbikes is there is far less room for them and the weight would be higher up. It would be great for a manufacturer to pack enough kw into the frame to give the needed range but their isn't near as much room as on a sled. I'm all for it, though, and would love to buy an E-snowbike. The loud exhaust, even on a stock dirtbike is one of my biggest complaints about riding them. They are way louder than snowmobiles.

    The cost to buy a dirtbike ($8000 - $10,000), snowbike kit ($4,500 - $9,000), and about $3,000 of mods on top of that puts you over $20,000 in a hurry so snowbikers are spending a lot more than snowmobilers $15,000 or so (though many are over $20,000 with aftermarket accessories and/or an aftermarket turbo). Snowbikes are very low on power compared to a sled (55hp vs 160hp). And that 55hp is at sea level so roughly 38hp at elevation we ride. If an Esnobike put out 50hp you'd be the same at sea level and way up on power at 10,000ft. It could be as "standard" mode. but then also make the electric motor capable of 80 - 100 hp which would make a snowbike a rocket compared to what they are now. That would burn the battery faster, but would be worth it even if you only used it when needed in specific climbs. Like a "turbo" button and it would give you that power for a set period of time, like 1 or 2 minutes.

    Thinking this through, would be nice to have 3 settings:
    Eco/Trail (power limited for new riders and good for economical trail ride out and back. Maybe 25hp equivalent).
    Standard (50hp equivalent)
    Sport (75hp equivalant)
    plus a "turbo" button that gave 100hp equivalent for 2 minutes or so and then dropped back down to whatever mode you were in when you activated it. That would be useful for when you want to do a big climb or are in the middle of one and the mode your in becomes not enough and you need a momentary bump in power.

    Right now, on snowbike conversions, we spend about $2,000 - $3,000 to add all the things you need to make a dirtbike and snowbike kit work well in the snow: thermostat, intake modifications, engine guards, pipe guards, and engine/radiator blankets to keep temps up high enough in the snow and make them run right. Some add a tunnel heat exchanger to replace one radiator. On an Esnowbike, the battery and motor could be sealed (with whatever provisions needed for cooling). No worries about intake getting clogged with snow. No oil changes after every ride or two like we do on snowbikes because they overfuel when cold and a bit of fuel gets into the oil and dilutes it). No struggling to keep warm in deep snow (or warming up the engine for 10 - 20 minutes at the trailhead and after each short snack break because after even a short break, they cool to below 100degrees F and you want to keep them at 160degrees F as much as you can (for four strokes). Taiga snowmobiles do have a warm up requirement/feature for when you first start out in the morning (unless its plugged in in which case it keeps the battery warmed up and you are ready to unplug and ride immediately). But you warm up 2stroke sleds to 100degrees F and start out riding them easy the first few miles to let engine warm up as well as the track and belts so not much different there.

    Like electric motorcycles and autos, when you stop, it isn't using any "fuel". Plus it's quiet. Stop on a ICE trailbike or snowbike/snowmobile, and everyone has to shut down to talk then start up again. On Emotorcycle, Esnowmobile, Esnowbike, you pull up and talk because there is no engine noise...or even ride slowly along and talk without coming to a stop.
    Last edited by Chadx; 14 April 2020 at 0734.

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  6. #4
    Senior Member Stevo's Avatar
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    I'm guessing the batt packs are overbuilt as the low temps you guys ride in must reduce the range of the Li batts. I know my Nissan Leaf modules had a real drop off in range during the winter months, then went back up to normal when the temps started warming up again. Do these sleds have heated batt packs?
    Current rides: '96 Honda Ohlins VFR, '03 Cannondale C440R, '03 Cannondale Cannibal, '06 Yamaha 450 Wolverine 4x4
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