A Nissan Ariya has begun the ultimate quest to prove that electric cars absolutely can tackle long journeys: driving from the North to the South Pole.
Adventurers Chris and Julie Ramsey have just set off on the world's first all-electric driving expedition, travelling 17,000 miles from the North Pole to the South Pole, in an Aryia that has only been lightly modified.
The paid have just started their quest from N70 38' 37.820", W98 28' 0.541". Which if you're unfamiliar with coordinates is the 1823 North Magnetic Pole (the actual location of the pole moves due to magnetic changes), up in the far Northern reaches of Canada.
That said, it's worth noting that the expedition didn't really start there: the pair had to travel more than 3000 miles in the Ariya just to reach the start.
But they're not doing it in ordinary Ariya, obviously. While the expedition was announced last May, we've now been given our first glimpse at the modified machine they'll be using for their epic quest.
The twin-motor powertrain of the Nissan hasn't been messed with: it produces the standard 225kWh and has the same 87kWh battery. The use of the twin-motor powertrain means that the Ariya offers Nissan's e-4orce all-wheel-drive system, which will likely prove useful on the 10-month trek.
The big changes are the beefed-up suspension and massive 39-inch BF Goodrich off-road tyres – which also explains why the wheel arches have been widened. Those wheels help the car 'float' over ice and heavy snow, which will be particularly useful for the first part of their quest. Apparently, it's quiet cold and icy up at the North Magnetic Pole.
Another addition is a built-in espresso machine to keep the pair in caffeine, along with a drone (for good video) and an integrated weather station.
The car will also carry a portable, renewable energy unit, which features a wind turbine and solar panels. The aim is to use that to charge the car in the polar regions, where there are long daylight hours and high winds – and apparently not that many rapid charging stations.
This isn't just an EV first, either: if they succeed with their planned trek from the Arctic through North, Central and South America before crossing into Antarctica, the Ramseys will be the first people to drive from pole to pole in a vehicle of any type.
The pair are familiar with electric expeditions in a Nissan, having been the first people to complete the Mongol Rally in an all-electric Nissan Leaf. They travelled around 10,000 miles in 2017 in the EV.
A second unmodified Nissan Ariya e-4ORCE will act as a support vehicle through the US leg of the expedition.
e-4ORCE is Nissan’s innovative all-wheel control technology that accurately manages power output and braking performance for smoothness and stability. The system is set to enhance driver confidence by tracing the intended driving live over a variety of road surfaces, including wet and snowy roads. As well as powering pole-to-pole expeditions, it's apparently also good for delivering noodle soup.