Understandably, snowmobiles occupy a very small part of the vehicle market, but at ski resorts and areas where the temperatures are regularly below freezing and the powdery white stuff is on the ground more months of the year than it isn’t; snowmobiles area popular mode of transportation. Some of the major issues with snowmobiles are the lack of change in design. I believe in not messing with a good thing, but how good is the current design really?
Two of the major issues with the current design of snowmobiles are environmental and exposure. The environmental issue comes from the fact most snowmobiles run on gasoline and emit toxins into the atmosphere; the exposure problem is the result of the current design which makes them open air vehicles, almost like riding an ATV or motorcycle on the snow. When the vehicle gets to high speeds, the exposure can be very uncomfortable for the driver and any riders on the snowmobile unless they are completely covered.
Seeing the need for a change, Mindsailors designer Michael Bonikowski has created a new snowmobile called the Snow Crawler. At first glance at the Snow Crawler it’s easy to see major differences between it and traditionally designed snowmobiles. The Snow Crawler offers riders an enclosed cockpit to protect them from the harsh elements all around them. The cockpit is even temperature-regulated, giving a comfortable ride on some of the coldest days of the year.
Another unique design feature is the wheels of the vehicle. The wheels appear to operate in a belt fed manner, mimicking a military tank and are located at the rear of the vehicle, which allows for lift off the ground and the ability to handle rough terrain, which can be a problem on a traditional model. To help the trac-wheels, two U-shaped and narrow blades are situated in the front of the vehicle to cut through the snow with ease and perfection.
The environmental benefit of the Snow Crawler is it has been built to run completely on electricity and is as easy to charge as plugging it into a wall socket each night. While battery life expectancy has not yet been released, there is room for a variety of battery sizes to power the Snow Crawler in order to make the vehicle useful for a wide variety of purposes out in the snow covered wilderness.
The Snow Crawler is a bold and dynamic concept that has not yet been picked up by any manufacturer, but addresses all the issues with current snowmobile designs. If a two or four-seater were to be created, no doubt this design would be accepted and adopted quickly as a great tourist vehicle for resorts to invest in. As a unique and futuristic looking concept for snowmobiles, the Snow Crawler gives current manufacturers something to think about and addresses the problems they have received feedback for over the many years the classic and current design of snowmobiles has offered. Isn’t it time a new design was introduced and tested? I think so, and the Snow Crawler looks like it could be the right answer.