Finland's eSled Shows the World What Years of Snowmobile R&D in the Arctic Can Yield

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Photo: Aurora Powertrains
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I recently covered an article on Pininfarina and Vidde, who are claiming to have built the world's first electric snowmobile. With that in mind, I asked myself the question: is there no one else!? Well, there is, and Aurora Powertrains is here to show us what they've been working on in recent years.
With the heavy interest in electric drivetrains in recent years, we're seeing an explosion of vehicles that were never electric nor imagined they would ever be. One vehicle taking the spotlight today is Aurora Powertrains' eSled, an electric snowmobile that, frankly, is showing up to the game with some rather impressive stats.

Now, I don't expect you to know who Aurora Powertrains may be, but all you really need to know about their eSled is the fact that this Finnish product saw its beginnings at the Lapland University of Applied Sciences, and believe it or not, it's part of a publicly funded project, so this one could be going as far as being implemented as a local transport system. Actually, previous generations of eSleds have already been used as such. After all, this is a trend we're seeing more and more of for EVs: public ride-sharing, no matter the vehicle.

Yet, this project was put in the works years ago, and by 2011, the idea of an eventual eSled was in the works. But it wasn't until 2015 that Lapland University sent its team of researchers and engineers to Houghton, USA. Among the members was future CEO and Aurora Powertains' founder, Matti Autioniemi. By 2017 and several titles later, Aurora would be born, and things haven't stopped since. Who is really responsible for the world's first electric snowmobile or sled? We'll talk about that some other day.

Photo: Aurora Powertrains
All that brings us to today, where the eSled, the result of years of R&D, is now ready and even up for pre-order. The question is, what are we in for, and just how much is it going to cost us? Well, according to the manufacturer's website, these babies start at no less than €15,000 ($16,300 at current exchange rates), and by the looks of things, they're even available as a B2B transaction, so clearly, the idea of fleets is in the works.

Now, according to Aurora, these babies are forged to handle the most extreme weather conditions, even going as far as preparing them for the Arctic Circle. Why? Well, Lapland sits so far North that temperatures reach a teeth-shattering -40 degrees Celsius, so clearly, the electrical system needs to be top-shelf stuff, and it is.

To ensure you never have trouble getting one of these babies started, each battery is filled with components to keep the pack at optimum temperatures, not only ensuring a safe and sure startup every time but also helping optimize the pack's lifespan and recharge times.

Photo: Aurora Powertrains
Speaking of batteries, one neat aspect of the eSled is the fact that it can be fitted with more than one pack, allowing future customers to scale energy consumption based on their needs. From 7 to 21 kWh of power can be loaded into each eSled. Just how far can we ride with this amount of energy? According to Aurora, around 100 km (62 mi) of the range is possible; all the while, your eSled will weigh around 270 kg (595 lbs).

All that will be powering an array of motors - here, too, Aurora allows future owners to mess around with power levels - starting at 50 kW (67 hp) with a torque output of 140 Nm (103 lb-ft) on a fixed gear ratio belt drive. Again, this is the standard, so you can mess around with these numbers when the time comes. That will, however, also affect the amount of cash you eventually end up paying for your eSled or fleet.

As for some of this vehicle's dynamics and overall looks, the manufacturer has taken the time to reduce weight to a minimum while also offering peak performance. I'm talking about heightened structural rigidity, adjustable ski pressure, centralized weight distribution, 249 mm (9.8 in) of independent front travel, and several others that the manufacturer doesn't even mention.

eSled \(Preorder\)
Photo: Aurora Powertrains
If we look at the eSled from the side, we can also see just how that "centralized weight distribution" was brought to life. While we can't see the position of all the components under that shell, the way it's shortened and sitting nice and forward tells us all we need to know about rider position.

A few things we can't see include an "easy-to-read" dashboard, DC fast charging, and even an app so you can track diagnostics and manage your fleet. Quite modern and primed to start hitting the market in all the right ways.

Now, I understand that it's very difficult to get a feel for this machine from where you're standing, so if you're curious enough to see what years of snowmobiling R&D can spit out, buy a round-trip ticket to Finland and take a test ride.

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Editor's note: Images in the gallery showcase an array of eSled models.

About the author: Cristian Curmei
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A bit of a nomad at heart (being born in Europe and raised in several places in the USA), Cristian is enamored with travel trailers, campers and bikes. He also tests and writes about urban means of transportation like scooters, mopeds and e-bikes (when he's not busy hosting our video stories and guides).
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