ARCTIC TRUCKS® and Arctic Trucks Polar (logistics subsidiary of the extreme mobility vehicle specialists) are delighted to congratulate ‘Pole to Pole EV’ adventurers, Chris and Julie Ramsey, on the completion of their epic trans-global electric vehicle voyage. Arctic Trucks Polar supplied crucial vehicle, support, planning and logistical services to this groundbreaking expedition.
Starting on the frozen Arctic Ocean in late March 2023 at the historic (1823) Magnetic North Pole, 380 km north east of Cambridge Bay in Larson Sound, Northern Canada, Chris and Julie covered some 30,000 kms through 15 countries over ten months on and off-road through the varied terrains and conditions of North, Central and South America; eventually climbing to Antarctica’s high plateau and reaching their final goal, the geographic South Pole, on 15th December 2023.
The Scottish couple’s Nissan Ariya AT39 e-4ORCE all-wheel drive electric vehicle, extensively re-engineered by Arctic Trucks, is the first vehicle in history to make this rigorous journey, which included freezing Arctic and Antarctic temperatures to scorching desert heat.
The adventurers first approached Arctic Trucks in 2019 with the idea of a Pole-to-Pole electric vehicle expedition, which necessitated significant operational experience and support for the most extreme Arctic and Antarctic phases.
“It was clear that this proposed expedition would require extensive logistical support from our AT44 (44” tire) vehicles and experienced personnel in the Polar regions” said Emil Grímsson, Founder of Arctic Trucks.
The expedition was originally planned to run South to North, starting at the South Pole and ending at the 1996 Magnetic North Pole. However, with the Nissan Ariya only just introduced to the market and the 4×4 version only scheduled to arrive in Europe during September 2022, it was impossible to convert the vehicle in time for the upcoming short Antarctic season. The expedition was therefore rescheduled to commence in the North – and the race was on to make it happen.
Multiple engineering challenges included safely and successfully operating a battery electric vehicle over long-range in the extreme cold (down to -32c), increasing the vehicle’s tire flotation capability by a factor of at least 10 and ensuring the driveline could cope with the significant increase in tire size and weight, whilst still maintaining a low centre of gravity.
Grímsson continued: “We needed to multiply the floatation capabilities of the vehicle by using much larger tires, enabling the vehicle to make this journey under its own power. The size of the tires needed, and extent of the necessary vehicle rebuild also had to balance sufficient capability on both paved roads and the most extreme off-road terrains with maximum range and reliability.”
Arctic Trucks’ engineering team, led by Freyr Þórsson, overcame these challenges to deliver the complete expedition-ready vehicle in less than 4 months, a remarkable feat. Supported by technical information from Nissan, the team worked day and night to develop a highly capable and efficient vehicle setup while retaining most of the original Nissan driveline and suspension, a crucial point to allow easy serviceability during the long drive down through the entire length of the Americas.
Two Ford F-350 AT44 6×6 Arctic Trucks Polar support vehicles were used in the Arctic, with two Toyota Hilux 4×4 AT44s being used in Antarctica, crewed by experienced Arctic Trucks Polar team members, Hlynur Sigurdsson and Johannes Gudmundsson.
“We are hugely proud that the Nissan Ariya AT39 outperformed all expectations, both in terms of capabilities and the standard driveline holding up extremely well throughout the expedition, despite the heavy tires, often rough conditions and long distances involved.” said Emil Grímsson of Arctic Trucks. He continued: “Having previously made 88 trips to the South Pole in the course of our normal activities supporting scientific research and expeditions, this is an extremely special moment. We are delighted for Chris and Julie Ramsey who, in succeeding with this expedition, have showcased new technology. On our part, Arctic Trucks is constantly developing solutions to dramatically improve the efficiencies of our hugely challenging polar operations”.
Messaging from the South Pole, Chris and Julie said: “A huge thank you to Arctic Trucks, our polar support team, you have been incredible, [as well as] all our partners, followers, friends and family who have supported us throughout this mammoth expedition”.