antarctic ev faces big engineering challenge climate change

The Venturi Antarctica is an experimental EV that is trying to handle the harsh and cold conditions of Antarctica. There is a reason this EV is so important.

An EV For the Harshest Cold

The Venturi Antarctica is on a mission to withstand the harsh cold of Antarctica. In 2009, Prince Albert II of Monaco asked the experimental vehicle manufacturer Venturi if they would take on the challenge of producing an EV that could handle Antarctica's harsh and cold climate.

Venturi agreed to the challenge and after testing out two full prototypes, the company officially launched the Venturi Antarctica on June 1, 2021. This vehicle has been transporting scientists and lab equipment in Eastern Antarctica since December 2021.

To design an EV for the harsh and cold climate of Antarctica is a daunting task. The reason it is so difficult is that batteries that power EVs do not do well in cold climates. They are less efficient and slower to recharge, using more energy to do the same work in a warm climate.

Creating a battery that can tolerate the harsh Antarctic conditions isn't easy, and there needs to be space in the vehicle to store research equipment and transport the scientists and researchers comfortably. Venturi has experience with experimental EVs going back to the year 2000 with racing cars.

Why It is Needed

This EV is needed because it will transport scientists and useful medical equipment to and from Antarctica. According to VEnturi, the scientists based at the Belgian Princess Elizabeth research station have driven the Antarctica EV over 310 miles in just one summer of use. The vehicle has a range of 31 miles, with space for a second battery if the scientists need more range. Range varies depending on the weather and snow.

Antarctica is warming, interestingly enough, with average temperatures on the icy continent rising from -50 degrees Celsius (which is -58 F) to around -10 degrees Celsius (or 14 F). The vehicle was designed for freezing and needed tweaks to tolerate the relative warmth.

Venturi instructed researchers to limit trips to about 25 miles and is working on modifications to change the vehicle to be able to handle the change in temperature.

Since Antarctica is covered entirely in snow, the EV uses a continuous track system, just like a snowcat or snowmobile. The treads spread the 5,500 pounds of vehicle over its entire surface area, preventing the EV from sinking into the snow like a normal wheeled vehicle would.

Increasing temperatures also made it possible for the in cabin electronics to overheat. VEnturi installed a new ventilation system to handle that. They also made a new cooling system for the power electronic systems.

This vehicle is important because it gives off no emissions and will help climate change slow.

What do you think of this unique EV?