Vidde Building Tomorrow’s Sustainable Electric Snowmobile
Vidde Snow Mobility is a Swedish entrepreneurial company with the vision to accelerate the transition to sustainable mobility in winter and mountain terrain. The idea is to build a completely new type of electric-powered, future-adaptive snowmobile with a long service life. Vidde has been part of the project Omställningslyftet since 2022.
- Sweden is perhaps best in the world at sustainable mobility, and that’s one of the reasons we saw the potential in this industry, says Christian Lystrup, CEO and co-founder of Vidde. The snowmobile industry is an underdeveloped industry when it comes to sustainability. With the help of Omställningslyftet, we will build the snowmobile of the future.
Every year, a total of 135,000 snowmobiles are sold worldwide, all of which are powered by fossil fuels. According to Vidde, snowmobiles account for a significant portion of carbon dioxide emissions in Norrland.
- Seven percent of the total carbon dioxide emissions from traffic and logistics in Norrland can be attributed to snowmobiles. It is a vehicle with very little regulation in terms of emissions, and a lot can be done. Today, snowmobiles don’t even have catalytic converters, which is something that would have done a lot for emissions, says Christian Lystrup.
In 2022, a Canadian company is starting to supply electric snowmobiles, but this is one of the exceptions in the market.
- It’s not difficult to equip a snowmobile with an electric engine, but here at Vidde we want to go further and build a company with a circular business model for the future, which entails something completely different, says Christian Lystrup.
For us, Omställningslyftet is invaluable, and the advice regarding circular business models is exactly what we need in this situation.
Made in Sweden
Vidde was founded in 2021 and has already initiated collaborations with a number of Swedish companies, which is an intentional strategy. One company makes the electric drivetrain, another company develops the software, a third, fourth and fifth company designs different parts for the snowmobile, and so on.
- This will be a Swedish machine, and we have consistently selected Swedish suppliers and partners, says Christian Lystrup and continues:
- RISE plays a large role in our development, not least when it comes to the research and development of materials. For example, our technical project manager works at RISE. For us, Omställningslyftet is invaluable, and the advice regarding circular business models is exactly what we need in this situation.
Lystrup sees the modular business model as a natural approach for companies in modern times:
- Instead of building a large Vidde, we create a network of the best experts who help us move forward. We don’t want to get stuck in a method or behaviour that may change quickly, so it’s important to be flexible, and this also applies to the suppliers and experts you work with.
Design for a sustainable future
Vidde’s electric snowmobile will be built according to a future-adaptive model, which means that it is designed to adapt to various future events and changes that may occur over the product’s period if use. This is where Omställningslyftet comes in and looks at different parts of the business model.
- The key to both designing and making money on future-adaptive products is having a product architecture that is adapted from the start, so that components can easily be replaced as new needs arise, says Josefina Sallén, Josefina Sallén, Head of the Circular Transition focus area and coach in Circular Transition at RISE.
She will lead the work with Vidde within Omställningslyftet.
- Many companies still don’t understand how sustainability is connected to their business, and this is perhaps mainly true for smaller companies, she says. Vidde has the advantage of being able to do everything right from the start, and it will be very exciting to help them move forward in development.
To make a product circular, you must give it the longest possible service life
Via Omställningslyftet, we will support Vidde in three areas: Future-adaptive design, calculation, and business models.
Companies that identify a formula for circular business models with future-adaptive products can expect new types of revenue, lower costs, new customer segments, great potential for climate and environmental benefits, and intangible values that can build a more responsible and innovative brand.
But how can an automotive company that does not launch yearly models maintain long-term profitability?
- To make a product circular, you must give it the longest possible service life. To make money, the product must also have a high utilisation rate. And this is where the business model comes in. That’s why we always work closely with the design and business model. The decisions you make as a design company have a huge impact on investment.
- We will develop different business models and show which parts affect the calculation, then it’s up to the company to decide. In this work, we use data from material choice, life-cycle analysis, techniques, technical production details, and so on, she says.
An important part of the business model is target group analysis, i.e. who the customers are and what different target groups may be relevant. People who drive snowmobiles today are a possible target group, but there are naturally other aspects to a completely new type of snowmobile.
- We see that there may be many new relevant target groups for the type of mobility we will offer, says Christian Lystrup. The electric snowmobile will have a very powerful engine, it will essentially be silent, and it will be upgradeable in many different ways. In addition, we see a future market for ‘re:vidde’ where recirculated snowmobiles become part of our offering.
Stefan Pettersson is professor and Head of the Mobility unit at RISE. He is also a member of Vidde’s steering group:
- It’s relatively easy to replace the drivetrain in a fossil fuel-powered snowmobile with an equivalent electric one, which we have seen for different types of vehicles in general as well as specifically for snowmobiles. Vidde intends to go a step further and develop a rechargeable electric snowmobile where the focus from the beginning is on electric power. This is an innovation in itself, but it will also result in the development of partial solutions and new functionality, which are also innovations. Taking this holistic approach enable us to produce a cost-effective and attractive solution that will strongly contribute to reduced emissions in the snowmobile segment, he says.
Innovation from Norrland
Vidde’s base is located in Jörn, around 60 kilometres from Skellefteå, and the plan is to establish a factory, test track, and customer centre. A pre-series of the snowmobile is scheduled to be completed in 2023/2024 for testing by private and industrial customers.
Development is progressing quickly and agilely within the company. Many parallel projects are also currently underway outside the Transition Boost initiative, such as life cycle assessments, material development, technology projects, and not least battery development.
- The battery is, of course, an important part of the machine, and we have an idea about which company could help us with this, says Lystrup and smiles.
It’s no secret that the company is looking at Swedish battery developer Northvolt as a possible partner. Vidde is proud of its Swedish heritage, and a partnership with the large battery developer would naturally benefit them both.
- It would be great to enter into a partnership, since we are basically neighbours. And just imagine the boost it would provide for the development of Vidde and for the sustainable snowmobile industry of the future in Sweden, concludes Christian Lystrup.