Canadian company launches electric snowmobile campaign in Stowe
STOWE, Vt. (WCAX) - Some electric snowmobiles are making their debut in Vermont. Taiga Motors, a Canadian company developing different electric recreational vehicles, launched its international electric snowmobile campaign in Stowe, among state officials and leaders in the local snowmobile scene.
The electric snowmobiles run on batteries rather than gas, which means they’re a lot quieter.
“For snowmobilers, it’s definitely a great option for us,” said Cindy Locke of the Vermont Association of Snow Travelers, or VAST.
Gov. Phil Scott, R-Vermont, says $2 million out of his $200 million proposed to combat climate change is going to recreation.
“If they move forward with some of my budget proposals, it will include some incentives for snowmobiles and E-bikes, anything electric from an E-recreation standpoint, so it’s important that we embrace this holistically,” said Scott.
Scott also says he’d eventually like to see state offices that rely on snowmobiles also make the switch, like the Department of Fish and Wildlife.
Sam Bruneau of Taiga says you could use an at-home charger, but the company also hopes to install 1,100 level 2 and level 3 public charging sites throughout the country by 2025.
“We’re building out beyond where the road kind of stops today to enable people to travel on the most popular routes in Vermont across other states and in Canada in the more remote locations where car manufacturers wouldn’t be installing chargers for the vehicles,” Bruneau said.
Taiga’s website says its electric snowmobile’s can ride for up to 62 miles on a single charge.
“I think its definitely something a lot of rental and tour agencies and ski resorts and even your local farmer will start looking into,” said Steve Torrey of Snowmobile Vermont.
The state says the goal is to help make recreation a little bit greener. Some snowmobilers in Morrisville say they’re not ready to get one just yet, and for now, they’ll stick with what they know.
“I like what I’m riding now. I’ve been riding since 1968,” said Bill Barry of Waterville.
Others say they’d be concerned about running out of a charge and getting stranded.
Topsham “We do a couple hundred miles a day on our sleds. You’re not gonna get that on an electric snowmobile,” said John Hughes of Topsham.
“Maybe if you were in Yellowstone Park on a tour and all lined up and going, then it might be fine, but for the average person, no,” added another snowmobiler.
The Vermont Association of Snow Travelers says they expect the evolution of gas to electric to take some time.
“I think it’s just gonna be like electric cars. It’ll be a gradual thing,” Locke said. “We just look at it as an alternative and something new and something to move towards.”
The E-snowmobiles cost around $2,000 to $4,000 more to their comparable gas-powered counterpart, but Taiga says the money you save on gas will make the purchase worth while.
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