Hybrid-Drive Snowmobiles – Research & Development – MERX NPP – Aug 2011
'Stealth Snowmobile'? – DRDC Suffield Hunts for Alternatives –
Snowmobiles for Patrol in the Arctic?
DRDC Suffield's NPP for hybrid electric snowmobiles got widespread attention from the media. Dubbed
'stealth snow- mobiles', journalists by-and-large took a PopSci approach replete with images of
Canadian Forces soldiers swooping "silently across the frozen landscape". A stirring bit of future-gazing but
wide of the mark too. Most reporters missed that this is an R&D research contract – DRDC Suffield is trying to
jump-start a promising but flagging technology. The term 'hybrid electric' also caused
The widely-used HEV (Hybrid-Electric Vehicle) term generally refers to 'mild' parallel hybrid drives found in cars
or light trucks. But the NPP requires that drivers be able to select gas or 'silent' electric drive which
dictates a 'series' hybrid. That's exactly what McGill prototyped with a modified Ski-Doo in back in
McGill students were participating in the Clean Snowmobile Challenge. One result was a series hybrid conversion of
a Bombardier MXZ Renegade 800 HO snowmobile (or a Light Over-Snow Vehicle in CF terminology ). The
goal was a functional, low-emission snowmobile with more flexible operation than McGill's better-known
all-electric snow- mobile. In other words, what DRDC is looking for has already existed for half a decade.
The press illustrated articles with McGill's 2006 all-electric 'Wendigo'. That covers the 'stealthy' aspect
but not the operational efficiency of the 'series' hybrid concept. Overlooked entirely in popular
coverage is DRDC's break with current military 'correctness' which says let industry risk all developing the hybrid
It sounds clever but it has strangled militarized hybrid-drive development for a decade. Only one series hybrid
snowmobile conversion  has come on the market in that time but this firm is now in bankruptcy protection.
The take-home is that if a 'silent running' option is desirable for CF LOSVs, DND will have to fund such snowmobile
R&D itself. DRDC is to be congratulated for breaking step with the conventional military thinking.
 Raser Techologies adapted its Symetron hybrid technology to a Polaris chassis for US Parks Service use in
Yellowstone. Raser, now in bankruptcy protection, produced geo-thermal pumps and 4x4 hybrid conversions
as well but the company's fate raises a question: why should industry risk capital on technology that militaries
won't pay for?
'Hybrid Snowmobile' NPP (as published on the MERX website) is reproduced below.
HYBRID Electric Snowmobile [ LOSV ] Technology
— MERX NPP [ Notice of Proposed Procurement ]
Reference Numbers PW-$EDM-610-8984
Solicitation Numbers W7702-125296/A
Organization Name Public Works and Government Services
Travaux publics et Services gouvernementaux Canada
Associated Components Yes
Closing 2011-09-02 02:00 PM Mountain Daylight Saving Time MDT
Category Research and Development (R&D)
GSINS AD917700: MILITARY
Region of Delivery Alberta
Region of Opportunity —
Agreement Type Agreement on Internal Trade (AIT)
Tender Type Notice of
Proposed Procurement (NPP)
Estimated Value —
Solicitation Method —
HYBRID Electric Snowmobile Technology
Trade Agreement: Agreement on Internal Trade (AIT)
Tendering Procedures: The bidder must supply Canadian goods and/or services
Competitive Procurement Strategy: Best Overall Proposal
Comprehensive Land Claim Agreement: No
Nature of Requirements:
1. TITLE: Development of HYBRID-Electric Snowmobile Technology - Suffield, AB
2. SECURITY: All work is unclassified and contractor will not have access to any classified information.
3. REQUIREMENT: Defence Research and Development Canada (DRDC) - Suffield, Medicine Hat, Alberta, has a
requirement for which the objective is to advance the state of the art in HYBRID-electric design for snowmobiles
and to produce a fully functional prototype HYBRID-electric snowmobile for test and evaluation, complete with a
"silent" operating mode functioning on electric power only.
4. MANDATORY CRITERIA:
1. Price Proposal does not exceed the established budget.
2. Education: At least one member of contractor (or sub-contractor) staff working on the project must have
a university degree in electrical engineering, mechanical engineering or related field.
3. Experience: Contractor (or sub-contractors) must be able to demonstrate experience designing and building
a HYBRID-electric snowmobile.
5. CONTRACTOR SELECTION: Contractor selection will be based on the proponent/bidder that submits the highest
technically acceptable proposal provided that the estimated total price does not exceed the established budget.
6. OWNERSHIP OF INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY: Contractor Owned
7. MAXIMUM FUNDING: The maximum funding available for the Contract resulting from the bid solicitation is
$550,000.00 (Goods and Services Tax or Harmonized Sales Tax extra, as appropriate). Bids valued in excess of this
amount will be considered non-responsive. This disclosure does not commit Canada to pay the maximum funding
8. PERIOD OF CONTRACT:
The period of the contract is from date of award to March 31, 2013.