Freezing temperatures are freezing temperatures — except in Antarctica, where summer means -10° and winter is something else!
The Venturi Antarctica, a high-performance electric vehicle built by Monegasque constructor Venturi, has undergone key upgrades to help it survive higher temperatures in Antarctica. The vehicle was built to withstand Antarctic winter, where it can get as cold as -50 °C (-58° F), but now it has to contend with warmer summer temperatures at just -10° C (14° F).
Powered by 60 kW motors and equipped with a 52.6 kWh battery pack, the vehicle has a per-charge range of 50 km (31 miles). During its first summer, the Venturi Antarctica clocked up approximately 500 km (just under 311 miles) with the help of the research station’s wind and solar installations.
The engineers from Venturi replaced the sprockets that drive the tank tracks in order to prevent buildup of compacted snow and fix the resulting performance issues. A new ventilation system was added to the passenger compartment, and air intakes and vents were installed to the front and rear of the mini tank to aid in underframe cooling of the power electronics. It’s hard to think of when you realize that summer temperatures down there are still well below freezing, but the bright Antarctic sun and the heat from the vehicle’s electronics can still really heat up the interior cabin.
Due to inconsistencies in the snow, the scientists at the research station are currently only making journeys of 40 km (24.9 miles). This issue will be addressed in the next round of upgrades.
“In 2009, H.S.H. Prince Albert II of Monaco asked me to think about designing an electric polar exploration vehicle,” said Gildo Pastor, president of Venturi Automobiles. “Version after version, we made progress until this Antarctica III entered service. I am delighted that our virtuous Monegasque machine is meeting the needs of the International Polar Foundation and the Princess Elisabeth Antarctica research station. We will be going back to the site in less than a year’s time, to continue the optimization process.”
Designed as the first and only electric polar exploration vehicle, the Venturi Antarctica has been used to ferry scientists to various sites around the Belgian Princess Elisabeth Antarctica research station. It’s been key in avoiding contamination of samples from tailpipe emissions.
Venturi Antarctica Image Gallery
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