A Nissan EV becomes the first car to drive from pole-to-pole

Damien O’Carroll
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For the first time ever a passenger car has been driven from the North pole to the South pole and, even more impressively, it is an EV.

Husband and wife adventurers Chris and Julie Ramsey recently completed their 30,000 kilometre, 10-month, all-electric journey from the Arctic to the Antarctic in a Nissan Ariya EV.

The journey, aptly named "Pole to Pole," commenced at the frozen Arctic Sea, specifically the 1823 Magnetic North Pole. From there, the pair navigated through the diverse terrains of North, Central, and South America before facing the ultimate challenge: the icy expanses and treacherous conditions of Antarctica.

The Nissan Ariya, in its factory-standard form with no modifications to the powertrain or battery, was transformed into an expedition-ready vehicle by polar mobility specialists Arctic Trucks, the company behind the legendary Top Gear Polar Special Toyota Hiluxes.

The couple's vision for the Pole to Pole expedition began to take shape in 2017 after successfully completing the Mongol Rally in their Nissan Leaf, marking the first instance of an EV tackling the challenging 10,000-km course. Recognising the potential for generating interest in EVs and fostering the development of charging infrastructure, the couple embarked on the ambitious Pole to Pole project with the aim of demonstrating the endurance and reliability of electric vehicles in the harshest conditions on Earth.

Departing in March 2023, the Pole to Pole expedition saw the Ramseys travel across several regions and continents with temperatures ranging from -30⁰C to 30⁰C. The route negotiated some of the world’s most extreme, brutal and beautiful scenery, from snow-covered glacial landscapes to treacherous mountain climbs and vast desert dunes.

Arctic Trucks worked with Nissan to develop the Ariya AT39 (Arctic Trucks, 39-inch tyre) which saw no changes to either the battery or powertrain, but extensive modifications to the running gear to allow it to tackle extreme terrain.

Modifications included "re-engineering" to the frame, body, bodywork, underbody, steering and braking system included widened Arctic Trucks fender flares, custom machined 17×10 dual valve alloy wheels with 39-inch BFGoodrich All-Terrain T/A KO2 tyres, a 110mm lift to the suspension incorporating repositioning and geometry adjustment to the mounting points and subframe, lightweight underbody protection and multiple strengthened 2-inch multifunction receiver hitches for mounting of towing, winching, gear carrying solutions and other expedition accessories.

"I can’t believe we’re at the South Pole. After so many years of planning, it doesn’t feel real," said Chris Ramsey.

"I’ve always had full confidence in the amazing capabilities of electric vehicles, and I knew our Nissan Ariya would tackle everything thrown at it. But it’s been far tougher than I anticipated."


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