We’ve been buzzing about the possibility of a new, exciting 4-stroke Polaris snowmobile for a few years now… and so far nuttin’.
Although we haven’t given up on the idea completely, because Polaris is soooo close to having the potential to go with a 4-stroke sled, given the new MATRYX platform and the presence of some pretty awesome 4-stroke twins already on its off-road RZR menu; we’ve been wondering if Polaris may be considering going in another direction completely. Huh?
Just like in the car and truck biz, It looks like the big focus in our winter motorized culture is aimed at the advent of all-electric snowmobiles. Both Polaris and Ski-Doo have been dropping hints their engineering departments have been doing research on the potential of the EV snowmobile market and are no doubt watching Taiga’s progress with a keen eye.
Don’t get too excited yet. If you’re like me, you’re probably from Missouri on the whole sparky snowmobile thing and have some doubts whether it will be accepted by hardcore, performance-minded, braaap-obsessed riders…. ever. This, despite the fact Taiga has come up with a pretty credible line of electric sleds that can be very fast besides handling and riding competitively.
Our guess here is the OEMs will be indulging in some toe-dipping in the EV pond the next couple of years. Toe-dipping in the sense they will introduce one or two electric variations in markets where they will do no harm to gas-powered sales and may even fit the category better than conventional powered sleds.
We’re thinking for instance, an electric Titan or even a smaller version of an all-utility Indy-based sled. These types of sleds using electric power, could generate incredible torque for hauling and doing grunt work and just like a carpenter’s electric tool repertoire, could be recharged daily and put to use the next morning with max battery capacity.
Sure, we can talk about recent Polaris projects like the purchase of all-electric ZERO Motorcycles or the intro of the new Polaris Ranger EV using lithium-ion technology. However, these observations merely verify the ability of Polaris to move into this new electric world.
Frankly, you can apply the same logic to Polaris building a 4-stroke. Lots of cross-over technology from other divisions but so far, no dice.
This electric-utility guess makes sense when you consider the toe-dipping experiment would give the manufacturer a real-world opportunity to perfect and refine the electric snowmobile genre as it applies to its specific customer base without going chest-deep into the whole electric market by investing in a deep line-up of multiple sleds.
It will also answer the bigger question of whether or not there really is a big enough market for these snowmobiles and whether or not existing OEMs should continue investing in the AC-DC market.