We got to spend some time on the snow with the first mass-produced electric snowmobile to hit the market, the Taiga Nomad. We came away impressed with what our electrified powersports future looks like.
In March, Taiga Motors delivered its first Nomad electric snowmobiles. Later this year, it will also ship its Ekko electric mountain sled, Atlas hybrid sled, and Orca personal watercraft.
Electrified powersports machines of all types are finally hitting the mass market, and we’re stoked. The Nomad is the first mass-produced electric snowmobile, and the first-ever product from Taiga Motors, a Quebec-based electric vehicle manufacturer.
Taiga’s staff is made up of industry outsiders not tied to combustion engine legacy designs. Think former Tesla, Rivian, and Ford engineers interested in building the best electric power sports vehicles, and people who have decades in the powersports industry who want to develop the next-generation products.
“The delivery of our Nomad snowmobile is the realization of a seven-year vision to provide riders an electric snowmobile that does not compromise performance while preserving the environment,” said Taiga CEO Sam Bruneau.
“Our customers are now able to experience firsthand the revolutionary technology and cutting-edge design that makes Taiga a sustainable alternative while outperforming traditional powertrains.”
I took Taiga’s Nomad for a spin on Smuggler’s Notch, an unplowed steep and winding mountain road that connects Stowe to Underhill, Vermont.
In short: The Nomad delivered. It had superb functionality for workhorse tasks and trail riding. Zero powertrain maintenance, customizable drive parameters, and hyper-precise throttle control all make it approachable, useful, and fun. Whether you’re a newbie or experienced rider and whether you’re out for a good time or trying to get work done at a ski area or other location, the Taiga Nomad is worth consideration.
Taiga Nomad Electric Snowmobile Review
The Nomad I rode had a 90-horsepower permanent-magnet electric motor powered by a 23kWh lithium-ion battery pack. According to Taiga, the Nomad gets around 62 miles per charge. Opt for the larger battery, which is part of Taiga’s $2,000 performance package, and the range bumps up to 83 miles.
According to Bruneau, the Nomad regains quite a bit of energy on downhills. Regenerative braking also extends the life of the brakes while giving the driver more control — the entry lock braking system modulates quickly and minimizes fishtailing, a first for snowmobiles.
How many miles you really get on a charge depends on your driving style and the terrain, but “regen” braking is sure to be a help.
The Nomad’s range is likely to be the major limiting factor for riders who love long-distance adventures. Taiga plans to build a network of trailside charging stations across Canada and the U.S., possibly as early as 2025.
For now, you need to charge the machine by plugging it in at home or at an EV charging station. Many restaurants, hotels, and even retail stores in frigid snowy locations also have parking lot plugs, put there to plug in diesel engine block heaters, which could work while out and about as well.
Cockpit Design & Magnetic Key
The cockpit of the two-passenger Nomad is a lot like any other snowmobile, with the brake on the left and the throttle on the right. A kill switch turns the machine off. So does a magnetic tether that’s also the key. Wear it on your wrist and if you get bucked off the machine, when the tether pulls out the machine turns off.
There is also a switch for Range and Sport drive modes, a kind of governor to give beginner and slower speed riders more control. A 7-inch digital screen displays speed, kilowatt usage, and range.
With the magnetic key attached, I pushed the green start button and the machine turned on silently. Taiga is debating programming the machine to make a sound when it’s on for safety. I loved the quiet.
Why Electric Snowmobiles?
Electric powersports vehicles are compelling because they’re silent and they don’t pollute the air as gas-powered machines do. That opens up the market to new users, particularly backcountry recreational users who didn’t want to burn fossil fuels while shuttling a ski run, for example.
“Fundamentally, Taiga’s mission is to accelerate electrification in the off-road space — snowmobiles, watercraft, side-by-sides,” Bruneau said. “That comes down to building the best product at the best price for mass-market adoption. We are aiming to keep improving range, increasing performance, and reducing prices, while also building trailside charging infrastructure.”
It also offers powersports travelers the opportunity to extend their day once the machine’s range expands, or there’s the opportunity to recharge.
Some destinations don’t allow sledding after curfew to minimize noise for people who live nearby, but that could change as these near-silent machines hit the trails.
Safe, Precise Control
Because Taiga snowmobiles don’t have a gas engine, there is little to no maintenance, which saves both money and time.
It could also be argued that the Nomad is safer than a comparable gas-powered snowmobile. Its systems allow for precise control, it has an extremely low center of gravity for stability and predictability, and the “Range” low-power mode acts as a governor for beginner riders.
Switch to the high-power mode, however, and you unleash the machine’s full, near-instantaneous power. The Taiga Nomad electric snowmobile can reach 60 mph from a standstill in under 3 seconds.
That is plenty fast for any level of rider!
I opened it up coming down Smuggler’s Notch and experienced quite the thrilling ride. It made me want to take the Nomad for an even longer ride in more open terrain to really get a feel for its capabilities. The power, stability, and maneuverability I experienced were all impressive.
Taiga Nomad: Challenges
Cooling and thermal management are the biggest powersports challenges, whether gas or electric powered, according to Bruneau. I experienced this myself last winter snowmobiling on Colorado’s Independence Pass in low snow conditions.
My machine and my partner’s machine both overheated, even though we stopped to shovel snow into the engines.
A combustion engine sheds a lot of heat. Run a gas-powered snowmobile in low snow or on ice, and it will overheat because snow isn’t being piled into the engine by the track to keep it cool.
Taiga’s electric system doesn’t create much heat, as it’s very efficient. And the heating/cooling system onboard captures the heat it does create to keep the batteries warm.
Surprisingly, battery performance in cold weather is a nonissue for the Nomad and other Taiga snowmobiles. Bruneau explained that you don’t lose range if a battery gets cold. You only lose range when you use a battery when it’s cold.
Leave the Nomad plugged in overnight and the battery will be warm in the morning. Or don’t, and start it up in the morning and give it a few minutes before you start driving. The machine heats itself efficiently with its multimode heating and cooling system that’s designed to ensure optimal operation in all conditions.
“We are just getting started in pushing the boundaries of what our technology can do and are laser-focused on ramping up snowmobile deliveries,” Bruneau said.
The work-focused Nomad we tested starts at $17,490.
Taiga is also now shipping the Ekko mountain sled and the Atlas hybrid sled. Currently, new order deliveries take 6 to 12 months, so get your order in now if you hope to be electric snowmobiling next winter.
Taiga Nomad Electric Snowmobile Specs
- Technical Details:
- Horsepower: 90
- Towing capacity: up to 1,125 lbs.
- Payload: up to 125 lbs.
- Drivetrain: direct drive
- Range: up to 62 miles in ideal conditions
- Charging ports: SAE J1772/CCS combo coupler
- Onboard charger: 6.6kW
- Brakes: Hayes disk brakes
- Weight: 341 kg (751.77 lbs.)
- Seating: 2-up
- Length: 3,274.06 mm (128.9″)
- Height: 1,549.40 mm (61″)
- Width: 1,104.90 mm (43.5″)
- Ski stance: 1,072.42 mm (42.3″)
- Track size: 154″x15″x1.6″
- Track: Studded
- Front travel: 223.52 mm (8.8″)
- Rear travel: 299.72 mm (11.8″)
- Front geometry: Double wishbone
- Rear geometry: Multi-link