Nissan Ariya to drive 17,000 miles Pole to Pole

Nobody has ever driven from North Pole to South; the first time will be in an EV…

By Matt Bird / Tuesday, 24 May 2022 / Loading comments

After decades of long-distance runs and rallies with combustion engined cars, now’s the time of the electric enduro. Already we’ve seen a Mustang Mach-E travel from Lands End to John O’Groats with just 40 minutes charging, and a Porsche Taycan go coast-to-coast in the US with less than two-and-a-half hours plugged in, but now Nissan is upping the ante somewhat: it plans to drive an Ariya from the North Pole to the South Pole. Which is nothing if not ambitious… 

Taking on the challenge is British adventurer Chris Ramsey and his team, with prep having begun four years ago. Two Ariyas will make the 17,000-mile journey across 14 countries, with the lead car kitted out by Arctic Trucks – the outfit that does those burly off-road pick-ups – to deal with the polar regions. So the render from the press release shouldn’t be too far from reality for the Ariya – cool.  

So, why do it? Despite their advances, electric vehicles still aren’t best suited to long distances, remote locations or cold temperatures, and this journey will see it drop as low as minus 30. Ramsey and his crew (and Nissan, by extension) want to draw attention to the climate emergency, basically, to “raise awareness of… the critical role electric vehicles can play in reducing out carbon footprint.” 

This isn’t Ramsey’s first rodeo, either. In 2017 he and his wife Julie did the Mongol Rally in a Nissan Leaf, all 10,000 miles and 20 countries of it. Even with that experience, however, going from the top of the earth to the bottom is going to be one heck of a challenge, from scorching heat to torrential rain, the Andes to the Arctic. And that’s before factoring the charges in; even if a big battery Ariya reaches or exceeds its 310-mile WLTP range, that’s a heck of a lot of electricity needed for 17,000 miles. Makes you anxious just thinking about it.  

Not that Ramsey is deterred, of course: “Our mission is to show that electric vehicles can tackle the harshest of environments – from the bitter cold of the poles to the hot and humid jungles of South America, and illustrate that they can meet the demands of drivers around the world, and encourage the switch to zero-emissions transport.” The expedition is going to take in some like-minded projects along the way, including a school visit where the kids will learn about renewable energy and meeting a local tribe in the Ecuadorian Amazon. Because they’ll love to see a school run SUV. But the aim remains laudable: “We will also raise awareness of sustainable lifestyles, conservation projects and renewable energy innovation along our route.”

Nissan Executive Vice President Asako Hoshino added: “We’re proud to announce our partnership with Chris Ramsey and the Pole to Pole expedition team… With e-4ORCE control technology providing enhanced stability and traction on a variety of surfaces, we know it [Ariya] will be the perfect partner for Chris and his team on their challenging all-electric journey.” Consider this the start of the campaign for a production car tie up with Arctic Trucks, too… 

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