SUMMERSIDE, P.E.I. - For those that like driving on legal off-road trail systems or, even possible search and rescue situations that require navigating harsh and difficult terrain with ease, Summerside Chrysler Dodge Ltd. dealership has the answer.
Traffic came to a crawl along Water Street this past week as drivers slowed down to see a cool bright yellow-coloured Jeep Wrangler (JL Unlimited) parked in front of the Chrysler, Jeep, Dodge, and Ram dealership, while fitted with four caterpillar tracks instead of tires.
“A company called RubiTracks located in Elmsdale, manufactures track systems for vehicles,” said Brody Ellis, a sales manager at the dealership. “We joined forces with them this winter to make that Jeep.” He continued, “It’s easy to replace the tires of the vehicle and install tracks, it takes about 30 minutes.”
Ellis had the pleasure of piloting the off-roader while soaking up potholes and jumps in a serene snowy landscape.
“It’s a little bit slower and the engine has to work harder to move the tracks, but the tradeoff is that it will go through all terrain with ease. It adds about six inches of lift to the vehicle giving it more ground clearance, and it still operates as a normal car,” he said.
The snow tracks can be fitted to most four-wheel drive vehicles, but Ellis said the Jeep Wrangler – winner of the 2019 Motor Trend SUV of the Year – is the star of the show.
“In my mind, the Jeep is one of the most iconic vehicles because it’s used in the military and has been evolving ever since. They are a four-wheel drive, still a convertible, the doors come off, the windshield comes down…It’s the ideal vehicle for outdoor exploration.”
Customers can purchase the tracks separately or with the vehicle.
“It’s something we’re trying with the other company to generate interest,” said Ellis. “It’s created a huge buzz. We’ve had people here all day and night inquiring where they can get these tracks and what they are capable of doing.”
Scott Profit, the owner of RubiTracks, said this is the first year of sales for this brand of snow track.
“When we were developing the prototype for this system I contacted Brody at the dealership to see if he could fit it to a new Jeep and in return, I would let him use it for promotional reasons,” explained Profit, while he noted they are a winter system and need snow to operate properly.He continued, “They are a snow system and what makes them unique is that most of the components are repurposed from snowmobiles to reduce cost. Typically, a set of tracks for a Jeep made by a company start at $25,000, so I source a lot of the key parts cheaper.”
The tracks from Profit’s business start at $10,000 and have been shipped across the country, as well as Greenland, Europe, and the United States.
Profit was one of 10 business to get a $25,000 grant from the province for his innovative product.
“In September (2018) that product (RubiTracks) won the P.E.I. Ignition Fund award,” he said. “We were one of 10 finalists to get the grant.”