MONTREAL—Several leading manufacturers of jet skis, snowmobiles and other outdoor powersports equipment, including Bombardier and Taiga Motors, plan to ramp up production of electric vehicles in Quebec.
Bombardier Recreational Products Inc. (BRP), which owns popular brands such as Can-Am, Rotax, Sea-Doo and Ski-Doo, plans to offer electric models in each of its product lines by the end of 2026. To achieve that goal, the company is investing $300 million in product development and production facilities.
The BRP Electric Vehicle Development Centre, located in Valcourt, QC, will be heading up the ambitious project. The new facility will feature state-of-the-art equipment, including several test benches and dynamometers, plus an automated cell for producing electric batteries.
“We have always said electrification was not a question of ‘if’ but a question of ‘when,’ says José Boisjoli, president and CEO of BRP. “We are leveraging our engineering know-how and innovation capabilities to define the best strategy for developing electric-powered products.
“With involvement from Quebec, Austria, Finland and the United States…[our] engineers and technicians will work together to develop and produce electric vehicles,” explains Boisjoli.
After developing and evaluating several concepts, BRP has decided to develop its Rotax modular electric powerpack technology, which will be leveraged across all product lines. As part of its strategic plan, BRP is expanding its Rotax electric power unit development infrastructure in Gunskirchen, Austria.
In 2019, BRP acquired assets of Alta Motors, an electric motorcycle manufacturer, and commercialized the Rotax Sonic E-Kart, which is currently in operation at the Rotax MAX Dome in Linz, Austria.
Taiga Motors Inc., another leading producer of snowmobiles, personal watercraft and side-by-side vehicles, is also investing in EV technology. It plans to build a 200,000-square-foot assembly plant in Shawinigan, QC, to mass-produce electric powersports products.
"This facility, a part of the $185 million in recently announced funding, will [enable us to become] a leading OEM for powersports vehicles," says Samuel Bruneau, CEO of Taiga. "We have seen strong customer demand limited by product availability. This new facility shows [our] continued commitment to be trailbreakers and offer electric vehicles capable of driving mass-market adoption without compromise."
Taiga's initial production acceleration is currently underway at its R&D facility in Montreal. It is planning to ramp-up production capacity to 2,000 vehicles by the end of this year.