While long-distance expeditions aren’t exactly a new or especially novel concept, an expedition from North to South poles with the full support of an automaker in a rather lightly modified production EV is another matter altogether. To celebrate the occasion, Nissan flew us out to Iceland for a first look at ARIYA EV the brand built for the Pole To Pole Electric Vehicle Expedition, as well as a chat with the expedition crew for insights into the journey that lays ahead. Of course an itinerary in such a special location included its share of stunning scenery along the way, as captured for SHARP by Luis Mora.
Chris and Julie Ramsey are no strangers to adventures such as this. Over the course of the last decade they’ve taken part in more than their fair share of long-distance excursions, each time pushing the limits of what’s possible in an electric vehicle. Of the more noteworthy accomplishments under their belts, the duo was the first to complete the 17,000 kilometre Mongol Rally — a ruthless crossing known as “motoring stupidity on a global scale” by its organizers — in an electric vehicle (specifically the couple’s Nissan Leaf).
With the full support of Nissan, the Pole To Pole Electric Vehicle Expedition is set to be a new benchmark of what the future of EV adventuring can look like. Preparations for the venture have been quite the undertaking, as Julie commented: “The planning and preparation for Pole to Pole has been such a big part of our lives over the past four years so I am really looking forward to getting the expedition underway in March. We’re going to discover so many interesting initiatives from communities and individuals who are taking positive action against climate change and I’m looking forward to sharing these experiences and stories with everyone. We are doing something that has never been attempted before, a world-first, and ultimately that is what makes it so exciting.”
With an anticipated departure of March 2023, the 10-month, 27,000 kilometre trip through 14 countries between the earth’s magnetic poles will take the expedition across ice fields, up steep mountain climbs, and through inhospitable desert dunes, all with the intent of demonstrating just how capable and versatile the production ARIYA is. Looking at the Pole To Pole Expedition ARIYA EV you’d be quick to think that this is a mere shell of what the production vehicle is, but that’s far from the case.
“One of the things that underpins all the adventures we do is that we take a standard production EV and aim to make minimal changes to clearly demonstrate its real everyday capabilities, regardless of where you are driving it.” Ramsay was quick to note, and from what we’ve seen there’s not really any embellishment to that statement.
Aside from modifications to its suspension system, the widening of its fenders, and the addition of its 39-inch all-terrain BF Goodrich tires, the expedition-ready ARIYA is very much a stock production vehicle. Its drivetrain and battery remain unchanged from the factory, as does the majority of its interior cabin. That said, there are a couple of key add-ons along for the ride to ensure that the journey proceeds smoothly.
Being an EV, charging is the main obstacle that requires additional forethought. For this, a portable renewable energy unit. The prototype rig is a towable package that includes a packable, lightweight wind turbine, and solar panels that will take advantage of high winds and long daylight hours to provide charge for the EV’s battery.
The entire venture will also make for an excellent real-world test of Nissan’s e-4ORCE electric-drive four-wheel-control system. The system is effectively a modern EV evolution of conventional four-wheel drive that uses a host of traction management sensors and electric motor controls to distribute power to individual wheels on demand.
Needless to say there’s a lot of excitement surrounding this rapidly approaching adventure, and we’re eager to see footage from the road through the balance of 2023.