Compagnie des Alpes is the owner of 10 of the largest ski resorts in France, including Les Arcs, La Plagne, Tignes and Serre Chevalier – and are serious about commitment to sustainability.

In 2021, they launched their Net Zero target of 2030. They took a significant step towards this when they converted their entire fleet of snow groomers to HVO biofuel. This measure on its own reduced their carbon emissions by 80%.

That’s because snow grooming is one of the most carbon intensive activities a resort carries out.

Due to plentiful hydroelectric power in the Alpine countries, now supplemented by solar and, to a lesser extent, wind power, the running of lifts is typically emissions free.

Electric Snow Groomers

However while snow groomers have historically been fuelled with diesel, electric models are now appearing.

The Alpine B400 is a prototype snow groomer designed by the Isère company CM Dupon.

Compagnie des Alpes has been testing it in Tignes this winter, after previous testing in La Plagne, Serre Chevalier and on the Tignes glacier last summer.

Up to 6 hours on a single charge

The Alpine B400 can work for 4.5 to 6 hours before it needs to be charged. Thanks to its rapid charging technology, the state of charge can go from 20% to 80% within an hour.

Steeper slopes use up power much more quickly, so at this stage, electric groomers are most efficiently used for flat cross country trails, or green and blue slopes.

More expensive to buy, cheaper to run

The cost is EUR500,000 to EUR600,000 per machine. That is about EUR100,000 more than a standard diesel snow groomer.

However, the running costs would be around EUR15,000 per annum – a big saving from the current EUR50,000 for a diesel version.

Compagnie des Alpes has committed to buying seven of the new electric Alpine B400 models to use from next winter.