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French Startup MoonBikes Built the World's First Electric ‘Snowbike' and the Company is Expanding to the U.S. Market

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【Summary】French startup Moonbikes developed an all-electric take on the gas-powered snowmobile the company calls a “Snowbike.” It represents an entirely new way to traverse snow covered trails and explore the outdoors in the winter months. The company is expanding to the U.S. market and opened an office in Boulder, Colorado, a city known for its winter recreation activities like skiing and snowmobiling.

FutureCar Staff    Dec 21, 2021 2:20 PM PT
French Startup MoonBikes Built the World's First Electric ‘Snowbike' and the Company is Expanding to the U.S. Market
The "Snowbike" from Moonbikes is an eco-friendly alternative to gas-powered and noisy snowmobiles.

Battery powered vehicles are not just for the auto industry. Companies around the world are developing new zero emissions recreational electric vehicles such as motorcycles, e-bikes, mopeds, ATVs and scooters. But French startup Moonbikes is the first to develop an all-electric take on the gas-powered snowmobile the company calls a "Snowbike." 

It represents an entirely new way to traverse snow covered trails and explore the outdoors in the winter months.

MoonBikes aims to change winter recreation with its unique electric Snowbike. The company says its takes only fifteen minutes to learn how to operate it. The Snowbike allows people to explore the outdoors with an emission-free vehicle that can help establish sustainable tourism in the mountains in the winter, according to Moonbikes.   

"The environment is at the heart of MoonBikes' mission," says Nicolas Muron, MoonBikes, Founder and CEO. "Our patented technology is developed in response to the challenge of environmentally conscious transportation. MoonBikes also offers a unique riding experience for mountain stakeholders to diversify their tourism options. As a vehicle with the maneuverability of a bicycle and the power of a motorcycle, MoonBikes' only disturbance is the tracks made on the snow. If you are a winter and snow enthusiast looking for new ways to adventure, MoonBikes is for you." 

The Snowbike is equipped with a caterpillar track on the rear wheel like a military tank. While the front wheel of the Snow Bike has been replaced by a tiny snowboard instead of a tire. The bike can travel effortlessly over snow and is designed as a more eco-friendly alternative over gas-powered snowmobiles. The electric powertrain of the Snow Bike is also silent, so it won't disturb the peacefulness of the great outdoors.

The idea for Snowbike came from Muron. He came up with the idea in the winter of 2015 while visiting his family home in the French Alps. The region is a popular spot for snowmobiling, skiing and snowboarding in winter. 

While there, he realized that zero emissions and environmentally friendly snow mobility solutions were extremely limited. So he put his experience as an aeronautical engineer at Dassault Aviation to create the company's electric snow bike that is extremely easy to ride, store, transport, and charge. The company MoonBikes was founded in 2018 to achieve that goal.

The MoonBikes snowbike is the perfect alternative to the polluting and noisy snowmobiles. It's about two-thirds the size of the average snowmobile and weighs much less at 191 lbs with a single 2.5 kWh battery installed. Customers can add a second battery to the Snowbike to extend range.

It gives users the freedom of an e-bike, with the power of a motorcycle to travel over snow, according to MoonBikes. The bike has a top speed of 26 mph and can operate in temperatures as low as -13 degrees Fahrenheit. 

Charging the Snowbike can be done by connecting a charging cable directly to the MoonBike or removing the battery to charge it at home. Charging takes five hours and 45 minutes using a standard charger and three hours with an optional fast charger. 

Range is measured by time instead of distance. The Snowbike can operate anywhere from 60 to 90 minutes (up to 22 miles), depending on which operating mode the rider selects. The choices are "eco" and "sport."

MoonBikes said it raised $650,000 in pre-seed funding in 2020. Shortly after, the company partnered with Michelin and automotive component supplier Bosch to build the two first batches of MoonBikes in France, in order to ensure quality and safety before ramping up production. 

The Snow bike concept is slowly catching on in Europe, Moonbikes says. In 2021, 12 ski resorts in Europe adopted the company's snowbike. Soon after, Moonbikes closed on a $5M seed round and decided to use the money to accelerate its commercial development in the U.S. The company opened an office in Boulder, Colorado in September, a city known for its winter recreation activities like skiing and snowmobiling.

Currently, MoonBikes is producing 400 snow bikes for both European and American markets. The company aims at producing 1,500 snowbikes next year.  MoonBikes intends to double in size by 2023 and will hire a team to support its growth.

Moonbikes is targeting outdoor activities operators, lodge and hotels operators and ski lift companies with its Snowbike. For example, it can be offered to customers as an hourly rental.

Moonbikes will be attending the annual CES show in Las Vegas on January 3 - 8, 2022, where the public will have a chance to see the Snowbike in person.

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