The Sustainable Snowmobile of the Future Is Called Vidde

Vidde Snow Mobility is the company with its sights set on a sustainable snowmobile where sustainability permeates the entire process, from construction to materials, business model, use and finally recycling. With a new snowmobile that is powered by electricity, is quiet and powerful and with a long lifespan, the future looks bright for Vidde.

The number of all-terrain vehicles has increased sharply on the market in the last thirty years, mainly snowmobiles and four-wheelers. In northern Sweden, snowmobiles are important features with many areas of use, including work vehicles, for tourism and private use. They are an utility that creates conditions for the sparsely populated areas, but unfortunately they also negatively affect the nearby environment with noise and carbon dioxide emissions. Vidde Snow Mobility is the company from Jörn, Västerbotten, which wants to change this. Through its electric snowmobile, the company creates the opportunity for snowmobilers to reduce both carbon dioxide and noise emissions.

- Seven percent of the total carbon dioxide emissions from traffic and logistics in northern Sweden come from snowmobiles. There is little regulation of emissions and there are, for example, no catalysts in the snowmobiles, nothing that cleans the emissions, says Christian Lystrup, CEO of Vidde Snow Mobility.

In other words, manufacturing an electric snowmobile is a matter of sustainability. 

Made in Sweden

Vidde Snow Mobility was founded in 2021 and it all started with an invitation to see the possibilities of the Wilderness Hotel and the experiences connected to the Svansele Wilderness Centre, a visit that also included a snowmobile safari.

- Getting out into nature is great, but the experience was undoubtedly best when the engines stopped and the exhaust disappeared. The only alternative that was available was a Canadian electric scooter and from there the idea arose to manufacture a Swedish product. When we started looking at how much snowmobiles today actually affect the environment, it also became clear that we can do more than just electrify the product as it is today. We also want to look at the entire product's lifespan, says Christian.

It was during a snowmobile safari that the idea to build a Swedish electrical snowmobile was born.

The company is looking at the European market, primarily Sweden, Norway, Finland, Iceland and the Alps, but production will take place in Sweden and the company has also started collaborations with a number of Swedish companies.

- In Sweden, we have all the ingredients to build a sustainable, electric scooter. Why would we do it anywhere else? says Christian.

Northern Sweden is known for innovative entrepreneurs, strong growth and renewable energy. It is a region with great potential and Vidde plans for future production to be located in Jörn.

- Jörn is a junction. There are trains, roads, land, electricity and so on, everything needed to be able to build a factory that takes care of the production of sustainable snowmobiles for the whole of Europe, says Christian.

Holistic Approach to Sustainability

Approximately 135,000 snowmobiles are sold annually globally and of these, 99.9% are powered by fossil-based fuel. Transitioning to electrified vehicles is something that is happening throughout society, not just among snowmobiles, and it is important not to forget that the climate benefits of electrification depend on how the electricity used in manufacturing is produced. Batteries manufactured with coal-based energy provide significantly lower climate benefits than those manufactured with renewable energy sources. The choice of battery manufacturer therefore becomes extremely important to create a sustainable snowmobile.

- In Northern Sweden we have a lot of renewable energy that enables green batteries and we strive to have the greenest batteries on the market in our snowmobiles, says Christian.

There is one competitor on the market, a Canadian company that also manufactures electric snowmobiles, but Vidde has taken a unique holistic approach to sustainability. In addition to focus on sustainability all the way from manufacturing to recycling, the company is built with a circular business model.

- RISE (Research Institute of Sweden) is our primary partner for sustainable innovation and development and we are part of Omställningslyftet where we get support to build up the company with a circular business model. We are also participants in CEBANS (Circular Economy Business Accelerator North Sweden), an annual program to develop circular business models together with a group of companies and business developers, says Christian.

Sustainable Design

Vidde develops the snowmobile with a circular life cycle perspective, which means that the product's entire cycle is taken into account.

- We think all the way through and make all decisions based on the life cycle analysis of everything from materials, batteries, accessories and so on. It is important to get it right from the beginning, that the material can be recycled when that time comes, says Christian.

This autumn, a project was started with Chalmers where a group will investigate the modularity of Vidde's snowmobile in order to make it as useful as possible. They will look at different types of accessories that create more areas of use in work, tourism and private. The goal is to create a type of mount that allows the snowmobile to carry a variety of accessories.

- Imagine being able to use the snowmobile to transport tools to the construction site or boards to the cabin. If we increase usability, we also increase sustainability, says Christian.

A clear advantage of Vidde's snowmobiles is that the wear and tear on the engine will be minimal, which means that the resale value of the vehicles will not decrease with use.

Building Frankenstein

Vidde Snow Mobility consists of twelve people who work with both the design and prototype development of the snowmobile. Since November the snowmobiles have been able to pre-order and SkiStar was the first to do so with an order of 50 snowmobiles. In the spring of 2023, Vidde will build the prototype snowmobile, which has been named Frankenstein or Frank. Frank will be used to test the product and provide valuable data to the developers.

- We have named the prototype Frankenstein because it will not be particularly pretty. We build the design separately and build the prototype simply to be able to test things, says Christian.

In autumn 2023, Vidde is planning a pre-series consisting of five snowmobiles to be tested in four different environments, preferably one in Svalbard to test the cold resistance. The plan is for the Swedish-made snowmobile to be in commercial production at the turn of 2024–2025. The price will be a little higher than what a premium snowmobile costs today, but a Vidde will be much cheaper to run than fossil alternatives.

With the Swedish ski resort industry aiming for fossil-free operation of facilities by 2027, where one step is to introduce electric snowmobiles, there is no doubt that Vidde Snow Mobility’s timing is right and will be an important part of the green transition.

In photo: Christian Lystrup, CEO and Yalda Mirbaz, CFO

Click here to read more about Vidde Snow Mobility!


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