Environmentally concerned customers are aware not only of the sustainability of using electric motors but also about the form how the electricity is produced for them.
The Rovaniemi-based Aurora Powertrains has launched a zero-emission electric snowmobile, the first of its kind, to take tourism ahead with this environment-friendly technology. The company came up with 10 e-snowmobiles in January 2018 and expects to increase the production ten times in next year, company sources said.
“Hopefully, we will be discussing close to hundreds than tens”, said Aura Powertrains Chief Executive Officer Ari Karjalainen.
He said snowmobile safaris with electric snowmobiles will be more like husky rides than regular snowmobile safaris because of the silent and emission-free experience.
“The world of logistics is changing to a sustainable direction, so why not snowmobiling? Sleds are used in tourism, where sustainable values are very important. Tourists come to our fresh and clean nature and we want to keep it the way it is now”, Karjalainen said.
Tour operators welcome the innovation – and mention some challenges
A number of tourism operators in Rovaniemi termed the innovation a significant advancement in the tourism sector. Villi Pohjola Oy CEO Sami Päivike appreciated Aurora Powertrains for taking this step. “This is a start of the real testing which will give the guidelines for the next steps. It is great news!”
He, however, said it is hard to make comments at this stage as there is no real customer and user feedback yet.
Päivike pointed out that the environmentally concerned customers are aware not only of the sustainability of using electric motors but also about the form how the electricity is produced for them. That is also where sustainable thinking should focus on, he said. If the electricity is produced with fossil fuel or nuclear fusion for example, it actually doesn’t yet ensure sustainability, it just takes it away from your sight.
Rami Korhonen, Operations Director at Lapland Safaris, termed the electric snowmobile project an interesting one, in which they have been involved from the early stages.
He said that noise-wise modern 4-stroke snowmobiles are almost as quiet as the electric ones. He said the short operating range and lack of recharging possibilities in the wilderness are the biggest negative sides of the e-snowmobiles.
From the sustainability aspect, Korhonen said, sustainability in its every form is important for the customers. However, snowmobiles on the company's safaris are primarily the mode of transportation to and back from experiences like reindeer farms, husky farms, wilderness lodges, aurora stations, ice fishing lakes etc., which are too far away to reach without snowmobiles, he pointed out.
“Therefore it is imperative that the technology we use allows our customers to reach these experiences in the woods. As long as the operating range of e-snowmobiles restricts this too much, we will continue to use the most environmentally friendly 4-stroke technology available and focus on other areas of sustainability like waste and noise management, trail planning, cultural and social sustainability”, Korhonen said.
City of Rovaniemi- Daily Finland Report