The VENTURI Antarctica, the first electric polar exploration vehicle, was presented at the Prince’s Palace in Monaco on Friday. Initiated by H.S.H. Prince Albert II of Monaco through his Foundation, this unique project seeks to make available to the scientific community in Antarctica a zero-emissions means of transport which can be operated in extreme conditions. Christian Manz remember to the readers Prince Albert said the present and the future are for the electric vehciles, the vehicles powered by gasoline engines are ready to go to the car museums.
VENTURI Automobiles, the Monegasque company specialized in electric vehicles, has launched the VENTURI Antarctica, the first zero-emissions vehicle capable of operating on hostile terrain and withstanding temperatures as low as -50°C. The polar regions are the first witnesses to climate change and among the first parts of the world to experience the negative consequences: pollution, the loss of species, and the threats to indigenous peoples are considerable in these areas. The stakes are high over the long term, and the impact of warming is, unfortunately, already very visible: Arctic sea ice and glaciers on land are melting much more quickly than forecast.
In the face of these facts, the Prince Albert II Foundation is working to ensure that in future, these regions can be covered by international agreements in which environmental protection would be a priority. Since it was founded in 2006, the Foundation has also supported around 30 projects aimed at achieving better understanding and better protection of these regions.
“Through this extremely high-tech project, the teams at VENTURI Automobiles are offering a concrete and innovative response to stations based in the Antarctic, and the Foundation is happy to be able to support this remarkable initiative. By giving scientists a clean, economical and efficient means of transport, VENTURI will help to improve research conditions on the ground, providing a sustainable solution for conveying equipment to study sites,” said H.E. Mr Bernard Fautrier, Vice President and CEO of the Prince Albert II Foundation.
Between 2013 and 2015, VENTURI Automobiles developed a prototype for the Antarctica, which was initially tested in a cold region of Europe. Making good use of the data collected from this first version, as well as the technology developed for its race cars (which use the same battery cells), the VENTURI engineering team has now come up with a second version: equipped with higher performance battery technology and improved overall efficiency, the Antarctica has wheel-mounted caterpillar tracks, 2x60kW power and weighs in at around 2 tonnes. Designed to operate in the extreme conditions of Antarctica, it can carry three people, as well as luggage and equipment. It has a range of approximately 45 kilometres and a speed of 20 km/h in realistic operating conditions.
Following its official presentation at the Prince’s Palace, on 6 and 7 March 2019, the vehicle will pay a symbolic tribute to the Croisière Blanche in 1934, one of four Citroën rallies during the early twentieth century. At the controls of the Antarctica will be Prince Albert II of Monaco, Xavier CHEVRIN, President of VENTURI North America, who led VENTURI’s previous missions, and Canadian astronaut Chris HADFIELD. They will take turns at the helm to cover a 42 km route between Dease Lake and Telegraph Creek, the final part of the expedition which was not completed due to the nature of the terrain and the severe weather conditions at the time.
“Back to Telegraph Creek” is one of the VENTURI Global Challenges, missions organised by VENTURI Automobiles to test the company’s electric vehicles in the most extreme conditions and most challenging terrains on the planet. The recurring theme of these missions is the most daring adventures by car of the last century, retracing the routes of the Citroën expeditions from Shanghai to Paris and from Nairobi to Johannesburg, for example (the Croisière Jaune and Croisière Noire). During these challenges, VENTURI Automobiles has set several records and achieved a number of world firsts, positioning itself as a pioneer and leader in the field of high-performance electric vehicles.
“Back to Telegraph Creek” is the first major test for the Antarctica. It will also be an opportunity to confirm its reliability and capacity to withstand the most challenging climatic conditions, with the spectacular and imposing landscapes of the Tahltan Reserve in the wild Stikine River region providing the backdrop.
At the end of this mission, the vehicle will be sent to Antarctica to give scientists on the ground a solution that will allow them to access study areas, while avoiding the pollution that is inherent in the use of vehicles powered by combustion engine. But the story doesn’t end there – VENTURI Automobiles is not ruling out the possibility of creating new versions of its vehicles for entirely novel uses.