- Nissan reveals plan for British adventurer coupe to drive 17,000-mile adventure from Pole to Pole
- Cold-weather modifications done by Arctic Trucks
- How the couple manages their daily recharging duties will determine the overall outcome
Nissan just announced a hair-brained idea to drive an electric Ariya from Pole to Pole. A special bespoke Ariya will be prepared to drive from the North Pole to the South Pole in a challenging scheme to prove that electric cars and cold weather are, in fact, compatible.
The 17,000-mile journey from the magnetic North Pole to the South Pole will be undertaken by “British adventurer Chris Ramsey and his wife, Julie Ramsey” according to the press release. As far as we are concerned, if Julie makes the trip with him, she more than qualifies as an ‘adventurer’ too.
But more than anything, this trip of a lifetime will be seen as a test intended to promote the Ariya’s special e-4ORCE all-wheel drive system.
Ramsey’s Ariya will be modified by expert alpine company Arctic Trucks with raised suspension and flared wheel arches. Bigger than usual tires will be shod as well as stronger, more suitable body protection to match the extreme conditions that will be experienced en route.
Nissan has not yet mentioned any changes to the battery or drive systems, though we expect to learn more when the bespoke Ariya is properly unveiled in February 2023. The main reason for the trip: Electric cars notoriously lose significant range and perform less efficiently in colder weather, so it will be interesting to hear how the Ramseys expect to keep the Ariya topped up on their trip.
After the Leaf was launched some 12 years ago, the Ariya SUV is only Nissan’s second fully electric model and first went on sale late last year. Prices currently start from $43,1904 for the cheapest 63 kWh two-wheel version and increase to $60,190 for the fully loaded AWD 87 kWh e-4ORCE model with 302 hp.
The compact batteries are mounted under the car’s floor and, as there’s no need to open up space for a gearbox or exhaust system, the Ariya has no central tunnel. So the floor is completely flat, which makes the Ariya far more spacious inside than its gasoline-powered rivals.
In contrast to the entry-level’s single 214bhp electric motor that delivers a maximum range of up to 250 miles, the 389-hp four-wheel-drive, e-4ORCE model that the Ramseys will be using gets dual electric motors and a range of up to 329 miles.
The e-4ORCE badge refers to the car’s torque management system which can independently control the amount of power being distributed to the front and rear axles. The system can’t manage the torque split across each axle, but Nissan says the Ariya can independently apply the brakes to each wheel to optimize its cornering ability.
Models with twin motors can also shut off the rear one when cruising on a motorway to conserve power. However, the system won’t be able to shut off the front one for rear-wheel drive silliness. As for weight, it comes in at a EV-typical 1800-2300kg.
The hi-tech Ariya employs a conventional 12.3-inch infotainment touchscreen and a 12.3-inch drive display. To clear up the clutter on the dash, the Ariya boasts very few ‘real’ switches as most are touch-sensitive with haptic feedback.
With Nissan EVs, it’s all about the ‘e-pedal.’ The Ariya is a one-pedal car to drive, just like the Leaf. Push the throttle to accelerate, and let off the throttle to decelerate. The Ramseys would no doubt want to master the Ariya’s e-pedal setup to get the most miles per day out of the crossover.
I don’t envy the Ramseys one bit. What they plan to do—drive 17,000 miles in extreme weather conditions—is nothing short of epic. The one critical fact we all want to know—but Nissan was silent about—is how the couple will recharge each day. They must have an onboard generator, or two, that will be powered by gasoline or kerosene. And that fact, to me at least, opens a pandora’s box.