Codenamed “Loki” after the shape-shifting god of Norse mythology — perhaps more familiar today as the half-brother of Marvel’s “Thor” — the snowmobile is believed to employ a gas-electric hybrid powertrain that allows for silent running.
Development of the covert machine is being done by hybrid powertrain specialist CrossChasm Technologies. Details are still classified, but the redacted government report says the vehicle has already been evaluated in snowy conditions at Canadian Forces Base Petawawa, outside of Ontario. Trials there pitted it against conventional snowmobiles in speed, endurance and noise tests.
“The prototype must be at least nearly as capable and reliable as a standard internal combustion snowmobile, while providing a significant noise reduction,” the report said.
The cost for the program has been $620,000 Canadian to date, but there’s no word on the projected per unit price of production versions as there are no plans to deploy them just yet.
However, Canada isn’t the only country looking to take advantage of the stealth capabilities of electric vehicles. California’s Zero Motorcycles has provided U.S. Special Operations forces with a fleet of its battery-powered bikes for testing, each with a price tag of around $10,000.