This electric tracked vehicle will turn all your winter trails into "downhill" fun. The intention was to build an electric snow vehicle that would allow me to zoom around on the network of trails around my house without getting sneered at (walking trails) or licensed (snowmobile trails). The initial design was a board driven by tracks with a ski in the front (photo in step 2). While researching for a solution for steering I stumbled upon a video for a skizee. http://skizee.ca/. This innovative design not only solved my steering and suspension worries, but it looks like a ton of fun. The advantages of my scrapyard EV version described herein include the relative silence of the setup (less sneering on paths) and is too slow to worry about it slamming into you if you wipe out... A second motivation for this project was to learn the skills needed for an eventual micro car EV conversion (BMW Isetta?). 

UPDATE: It gets pretty rough back there... I was able to take a few trips before I had a major breakdown. A connection was broken at the switch in the battery pack. I successfully soldered it back together; however I am not willing to risk further damaging my 500$ LiPo battery. I cant really add any suspension to cushion the blows, so I have elected to retire the Pico for now. I can only guess the speed at 10k/h and range at 10km (1 hour) given how long the battery lasts on my similarly powered ebike motor. I had a blast building it so there are absolutely no regrets. 

Jump to the last step to see a video of the PICO in action.

Step 1: STEP 2: What You Need

Needless to say this project would be very difficult to accomplish without a proper workshop and tool set. I had been accumulating the tools and parts for this project for over a year. 

  1. Wrench and socket sets
  2. Angle grinder
  3. Hammer
  4. Sheet metal brake
  5. Drill
  6. Sheet metal snips
  7. Welder

  1. Used tracked-snow blower/thrower. Sears made several models recently for which parts are still available; hitting-up some repair shops or scrapyards this spring might just land you one for free. Make sure to check the condition of the track and the cogs that drive them, they were not designed for endurance.
  2. Electric motor, controller and throttle. I did not have one that was sufficiently powerful lying around so I ordered one online: http://www.monsterscooterparts.com/48v-1000w-motor-controller-throttle-kit.html. When selecting your motor you must match your watts, amps and voltage to your controller and battery. In general watts=power (1000 watts ≈ 1.3 horsepower); however to attain its potential you need sufficient voltage (48v) and amps (≈20). I bought this kit so I knew it all fit together. There are tonnes of electric scooters available on craigslist: people don't maintain the batteries so they end up not holding their charge; otherwise everything works fine. They are typically lower power though (300-500 watts). 
  3. Battery.  (http://www.goldenmotor.ca/products/48V10AH-LiFePO4-Aluminum-Cased-Battery.html) I have the Lithium battery (LiFePO4) that I use in the summer on my e-bike. http://teamluguy.blogspot.ca/2011/09/nerd-cycle.html. This is the most expensive and most important investment. You can save some cash by using lead-acid  batteries, however these will mean a significant increase in weight (≈33% of the energy density). This translates into a decrease in efficiency and overall thrust not to mention the design implications and longevity. 
  4. Sheet metal (4' by 2') and tubing (8').
  5. Spray-paint and stickers for decoration. 
Cool, now seeing this I want to build one, except gas powered
<p>Thanks. Check out what these guys did. I am not sure they are still in business, the &quot;order&quot; link is broken. <a href="http://skizee.ca/video.html" rel="nofollow" style="font-size: 15.0px;">http://skizee.ca/video.html</a></p><p>Let me know how it went.</p>
lead acid battery for the win?? and larger tracks with more ground clearance.
<p>Thanks for the comment. The skizee still seems like the ultimate: Lots of track, nothing to drag and the energy density of gasoline:</p><p><a href="http://skizee.ca/order.html" rel="nofollow">http://skizee.ca/order.html</a></p>
Very nice idea and execution! Since you say it's geared a little low, how we'll does it climb?
Thanks for the comment. Sorry for the late reply: <br> <br>It doesn't climb at all anymore :( I had battery issues and decided to scrap the project. Climbing was mainly limited by a lack of traction: it would get hung up pretty easily due to low clearance.
That is awesome. I'm curious as to what you are getting for speed and distance out of the battery and system? Any ideas yet?
Thanks for the comment, sorry for the late reply. <br>I didn't have much luck after posting. The key switch inside the LiPO battery broke off completely. I was able to fix it but I gave up the project for fear of having to replace the 500$ ebike battery. I figure I would have gotten 10km at 10km/h though.
It kinda looks like Wall-E is following you around. Cool project!
Thanks for all the comments. After another ride (and more troubleshooting) over the weekend I have elected to keep the current gearing/speed. It has enough power to climb inclines (not hills). The main issue is traction, the undercarriage is low and the tracks tend to slip. I help the little pico along with some skating when she bogs down.
awesome!, very cool. thanks a lot for the link to the skizee as well, would have never known about that awesome thing!!
Cool! Good job.
I wouldn't need a cooler... However, it gets quite bumpy back there, sounds like a recipe for a face full of beer-spray.
sweet! looks like fun. have you put a 12 pack carrier on it yet? sleet nor snow will keep me from beer

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Bio: A lowly geologist who likes to build stuff.
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