Who’s up for a winter safari on a nearly silent electric snowmobile?
The short version:
- Aurora Powertrains, creator of the electric snowmobile eSled, has entered into an agreement with Hurtigruten Svalbard to deliver 8 electric snowmobiles.
- Hurtigruten is the world’s greenest cruise- and travel operator and has already invested billions in battery-powered ships and green technology.
- The company plans to start offering eSled safaris in December 2019.
- Aurora currently has a fleet of 25 electric snowmobiles that they use for safaris themselves.
- Aurora uses chassis from BRP which allows them to focus on electric drivetrain advancements.
I really hope this goes well for Aurora Powertrains. There a few hurdles I see. First, just the business. This order from Hurtigruten represents almost 33% of their current manufactured units. Anytime a startup lands a deal that large there is a high potential for growing pains. The kind that can destroy a company. Supply-lines, working capitol, even just the legal fees to construct the deal can put a breaking strain on a startup.
Once you work through those, you have the issues related to the product. For the most part, there is a “survivable” infrastructure in place for recharging your electric car. If you run out of power on your electric dirt-bike you may need to hike for a few miles, even spend the night, but you may or may not be in any real danger. However, running out of power on a snowmobile, in the middle of the arctic tundra, presents an entirely different level of challenges. I’m sure that these safaris will be closely supervised, but I’m not sure the consumer market is ready to explore the wild on their own with electric snowmobiles. Perhaps a reserve battery could solve the problem?