Key Features for the Arctic
The concept of the AT44 has been proven for over 30years in Iceland, giving a street legal car most of the snow capabilities only a belt vehicle has. Combining these two competences and adding excellent operation in various other off-road conditions, this has “revolutionized” many types of operations in Iceland, i.e. variety of utility operation, rescue operators, highland/glacier tour operators and more.
Day to day road driving is fairly normal, the tires are restricted to 140km/h and fuel consumption is ca 15-30% higher. The AT/Nokian 44-inch tires are very silent but small vibration may occur at higher speeds. Driving in city environment you will feel the vehicle is wider and the turning radius a bit restricted from the original. The daily work around the vehicle is also normal, getting in and out of the vehicle is very easy and driving controls are all standard. We run tire pressure in the range of 25 to 29psi.
When getting of the main road or hitting deep snow conditions this is where the AT44 really shines. The tires, the vehicle balance and overall setup give you option to use it for condition way beyond the capabilities of the standard vehicle. One of the keys for this functionality is the option of taking the tire pressure far lower than possible with standard tires. Even though the larger diameter and the width of the tires do give better off-road performance it is tire pressure which is below 10psi which really gives the advantage. The tires are specially designed to flex and give a belt like flotation.
Key features for the Antarctic
For operation on and around science bases sitting on partly snow free areas, gravel based, the AT44 offers the convenience of a car which most people know how to operate. It is easy to enter/exit and load smaller cargo, high safety of operation and all base maintenance can be made by a good car mechanic. Good suspension together with large tires which allow for very low tire pressure, makes driving on gravel and rocky roads/terrain smooth and enables driving over ground without leaving marks.
Driving onto a snow track or snow fields considered to be free from crevasses, the vehicle and the average user also feel at home. In these conditions the operating tire pressure is likely to be between 5psi and 10psi, fuel consumption will increase from standard vehicle, but this will depend on engine of chose, average driving distanced, temperature, idling times, load etc. We estimate this is 40% to 100% increase on top of normal city driving of the original vehicle as it comes from Ford
For operations on the Antarctica plateau, the extreme cold and length in time and distances. Going to the plateau can involve one expedition up to 10.000km with 3200km between fuel. For this big planning is needed, the vehicle needs some extra features, the drivers and the expedition team need more training. Depending on conditions the vehicle speed may range from i.e. as low as 10km/h through big sastrugi areas to plus 70km/h in a belt vehicle tracks or i.e. smooth ice shelfs. The tire pressure normally used in in the range of 2psi to 6psi. Loaded of fuel and various equipment/ people etc., the average fuel consumption is in the area of 3-5times a standard vehicle in city driving or 50 to 60liters per 100km. This is high but still only a small fraction of a belt vehicle.
Weight of base conversion is close to 224kg added to the standard model. The vehicle above is 2595kg empty, or 260kg heavier than it was prior to conversion. This vehicle is based on Super Crew, Lariat, 3.5 ecoboost and SunRoof. With 3 psi the AT44 gives much great flotation than a walking person in hiking shoes. This flotation can make all the difference on soft snow but also gives the option of driving carefully over delegate lands without leaving marks.