Sweden’s Green Push Now Includes Electrifying Snowmobiles
(Bloomberg) -- Sweden’s rush to electric mobility is entering a new frontier: snowmobiles.
Startup Vidde Snow Mobility AB plans to deliver its first 1,000 electric snowmobiles in late 2024, with orders from the country’s resort operator Skistar, electricity producer Skelleftea Kraft and the Icehotel in Jukkasjarvi. Its prototype — named “Frank” after Frankenstein’s monster — is set for a design makeover by Pininfarina SpA, the Italian design house known for luxury cars.
Vidde joins a growing list of clean-energy innovators setting up shop in Sweden’s subarctic, taking advantage of the bountiful supply of renewable energy and steady flow of venture capital. The area, dubbed “Sustainability Valley” by consulting firm McKinsey, already plays home to startups including X Shore, Candela, Heart Aerospace, Cake and dozens of others making electric boats, ferries, planes, trucks and motorcycles.
Roughly 135,000 fossil fuel powered snowmobiles are sold worldwide each year, according to RISE, a research center partnering with Vidde. Within that industry, Canadian recreational-vehicle manufacturer Taiga Motors is the only company so far to have delivered series-produced electric snowmobiles to end customers, according to Vidde Chief Executive Officer Christian Lystrup. In April 2022, Skistar announced it was testing two Taiga snowmobiles.
“Compared to a traditional scooter, we are lowering the carbon footprint to a seventh,” Lystrup said in an interview. The vehicle will be easy to upgrade and “built to last.”
Manufacturing will take place in Jörn, not far from Skellefteå where battery maker Nortvholt AB has built its first plant. Northvolt’s decision to manufacture in the region has been a “big inspiration” for Vidde, Lystrup said.
The eventual look of Frank will be sleek and efficient, using the “minimum required” materials, said Xavier Blanc Baudriller, a design executive for Pininfarina. The process is “quite far away from designing a Ferrari.”
©2023 Bloomberg L.P.
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