Nowadays, the discussion about driving is already in itself a topic that divides opinions. This is due not least to the type of drive, i.e. fossil fuel or electricity. Proponents of the former list the shorter range, temperature susceptibility and sensitivity of the sensors and systems as negative points for e-mobility. Now, Scottish adventurer and e-car advocate Chris Ramsey wants to prove the opposite together with Japanese automaker Nissan. To do so, he plans to drive an all-electric SUV from the Arctic to the South Pole.
Next year, starting in March 2023, Ramsey and Nissan plan to start their record-breaking drive with an electric SUV. Ramsey plans to cover more than 27,000 kilometers on his route from the Arctic through North, Central and South America to the South Pole in a Nissan Ariya e-4ORCE. While the vehicle will be based on the conventionally available model, it will be equipped with reinforced exterior trim, custom-built wheels and tires, and custom suspension. This is Nissan’s way of addressing the extreme conditions the vehicle will be subjected to. For the route, according to the manufacturer, will go from “snow-covered glacier landscapes to steep mountain trails to huge desert dunes and unexplored areas.” The modifications have been developed by Chris Ramsey himself. During the trip across the American continents, a second, unmodified vehicle of the same model will accompany the driver.
Ramsey and Nissan have not yet announced where exactly the tour will start. But since the route will go across the American continents, it can be assumed that the start will not be at the North Pole, as mentioned in various media. Rather, it is likely that the journey will begin either in Alaska or in the far north of Canada and then continue to Tierra del Fuego. From there, the vehicle should then be transported to Antarctica, where it will undertake the final leg of the journey. “We want to prove that electric vehicles can handle the harshest conditions – from freezing cold at the poles to the hot and humid jungles of South America,” explains adventurer Chris Ramsey. And Nissan’s executive vice president of marketing and sales, Asako Hoshino, says: “On the expedition, the Ariya can demonstrate its high level of comfort and long-distance capability. When paired with the e-4ORCE all-wheel-drive system, which provides enhanced stability and traction on a wide variety of surfaces, the crossover SUV will be the ideal partner for Chris Ramsey and his team.”
Such extreme driving is nothing new for Ramsey and Nissan. Back in 2017, the Japanese automaker and the Scottish adventurer had already demonstrated the capabilities of Nissan’s electric vehicles. At the time, the Scotsman and his wife Julie were the first people to drive over 16,000 kilometers in an all-electric Nissan vehicle as part of the Mongol Ralley. It took them 56 days to cover the distance from Chichester, England to Ulan-Ude on the Russian border with Mongolia, crossing 20 countries along the way. In general, the adventurer is a proponent of so-called e-mobility and has founded the company Plug-In Adventurers for this purpose. Since then, he and Nissan have gone on several electric vehicle adventures. “In doing so, we’re demonstrating that e-models are fun to drive and meet the daily needs of drivers around the world.” For Nissan, the partnership and new planned record drive is part of its strategy to deliver vehicles and technologies that improve mobility in a clean, safe and inclusive way by 2030.
Cars are no longer a rarity in the Arctic and also in Antarctica. But in the latter area in particular, fossil fuel-powered vehicles have come under increasing criticism due to environmental concerns. Some Antarctic Treaty countries are in the process of modernizing their vehicle fleets. Electric vehicles such as the Venturi Antarctica tracked vehicle developed by the Monegasque company Venturi have also been taken into consideration. Diesel-powered vehicles are still in the majority. But in the long term, this is likely to change, not least because of ever-increasing fuel prices and greater capability, which Ramsey and Nissan’s expedition is expected to take to a new level.
Dr Michael Wenger, PolarJournal
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