There is no denying it, with the emergence of manufacturers like Tesla, Rivian, Taiga and special automobile models like the Bolt, Volt, Leaf and E-tron, that there is a movement to shift from the conventional dinosaur burners to electric motors. Charles Bombardier sees electric vehicles as the future, and while nobody has a crystal ball to say when all vehicles, including snowmobiles, will be electric. Most futuristic concept vehicles like the Lakemaster are designed and powered by a non-combustion engine. In the case of the Lakemaster, it’s a Lithium-Sulfur battery, powering an electric motor.
The concept of the Lakemaster is quite simple. Its focus is speed, and it’s designed to be the first one across the lake without compromising handling. Charles designed the Lakemaster with the memories of his teenage years, riding his black Ski-Doo Mach 1 with his friends around Valcourt, Quebec. Frequently, Charles and his friends would be found racing each other down Lake Brompton, with all of his friends having the same vision of being first. With the dream of winning on Lake Brompton, Charles pictured a snowmobile with serious arm stretching torque, with a low drag resistance that would be able to beat any snowmobile, giving its owner the nickname “Lake Master”.
The Lakemaster’s appearance is very similar to that of a sport motorcycle, with the rider leaning over the gas tank with the power being put to the snow through the track out the back, similar to that of the rear tire of a motorcycle to the asphalt. The front suspension and steering coming from forks to a single ski is also similar to a motorcycle’s front forks and front wheel.
WHERE’S THE POWER?
The sprockets in the track of the Lakemaster are motorized, like electric in-wheel motors, allowing for the use of a non-combustion engine which eliminates the need for fuel tank. Lithium-Sulfur batteries could power the sprocket motors and be positioned around the vehicle to balance the centre of mass. Lithium-Sulfur batteries are relatively lightweight and rechargeable, and are known for their high specific energy. For example, the solar powered aeroplane that flew the highest and longest of any other solar powered aeroplane used Lithium-Sulfur batteries. Needless to say, they’d be more than capable for the Lakemaster.
NO FUEL TANK NEEDED
Using the space where a fuel tank would traditionally go is a gel filled pad equipped with an independent suspension that would support the rider while they’re leaning on the sled at high speeds, either down a straightaway, much like drag motorcycles, or taking corners at high speeds, similar to that of a motorcycle on a road racing track. The rider’s chest would rest on the pad that would be customized to support any body size and/or type of rider.
The design is based on a front mono ski, which allows for less snow drag and wind resistance than conventional snowmobiles. Because of different skill levels that drivers have, the Lakemaster would also be equipped with a self-balancing system. While some riders would not require it as often others would, the self-balancing system makes sense both for safety and the fun factor. The self-balancing system would allow the Lakemaster to be stable and stay upright while travelling on ice at low speed, and would really give the driver confidence while making turns, and especially while powering around corners at high speeds.
To optimize comfort and control at all speeds the seat and foot pegs on the Lakemaster could slide to the back of the snowmobile, adapting the ergonomics of the driver and speed of the sled. This would allow the driver to go from a “low rider” or “touring” seating position while cruising, to a “superman” or “sport mode” seating in an over the gas tank type position, while driving fast on smooth trails, or drag racing down a lake like Charles envisioned the Lakemaster.
IT’S SMARTER THAN YOU THINK
The Lakemaster is a “smart” vehicle and would learn and adapt to the driving style and preferences of its owner, much like high end automobiles. For example, seating positions, the way corners are taken by the driver for the self-balancing system, or the way information appears on your gauge cluster would all become seamless over time.
The Lakemaster snowmobile is a vision for a different kind of sled that brings together various ideas like ergonomics, sprocket motors, self-balancing and adaptive systems. Like all of Charles’s designs, they are designed to start discussions and inspire others and their ideas.
The Lakemaster concept was imagined in May 2019 by Charles Bombardier, and designed by Jorge Ciprian, an Industrial Designer from Argentina. Jorge graduated with a degree from the University of Buenos Aires, and he currently works as a freelance designer.