Nissan Ariya Becomes First Car To Ever Drive Pole-To-Pole

This trip to the South Pole in this Nissan e-SUV was completed by adventurers Chris and Julie Ramsey. 

While many might still think that overlanding is still the domain of fuel-burning vehicles, there has however been a spate of examples recently which may prove otherwise. Not too long ago after all there was a smart #3 that successfully managed to traverse the Gobi Desert, and now perhaps more impressively is news that a Nissan Ariya has managed to drive from the North to the South Pole. 

Yes, you didn’t read that wrong. Chris and Julie Ramsey, husband and wife adventurers, have actually driven all the way from frozen Arctic Sea at the 1823 Magnetic North Pole to the South Pole in Antartica. A 10-month adventure that spanned 30,000 km across 4 continents, this remarkable achievement is in fact the first time any car, let alone an EV, has completed such a journey. 

Though perhaps the more impressive aspect of this already amazing feat is that the all-wheel drive Nissan Ariya used for this journey was stock in terms of its powertrain and battery. The vehicle was however slightly modified in terms of its suspension by polar mobility specialists Arctic Trucks to accommodate 39-inch BF Goodrich tires, along with some ice-friendly gear and body reinforcement work too. 

Also included as well within this Japanese e-SUV was an integrated espresso machine, weather station and a drone. As for charging meanwhile, the adventurers tested out a 5 kW wind turbine or a prototype solar hybrid charging solution to juice up their Ariya. 

The extra load and larger tyres unfortunately meant that the original 440 km range of the Ariya was reduced to just 240 to 320 km, based on prevailing environmental conditions. During the Arctic and Antarctic parts of the trip, the Ramseys picked up tricks on keeping the car battery warm to improve its efficiency. Most notably, they would pile up a snow wall to shield the car’s underside and front radiator from the wind, or even use a dedicated tent to cover up the entire car when it was not too windy.

Chris and Julie began planning Pole to Pole in 2017 after completing the Mongol Rally in their Nissan LEAF, the first time an EV had been used to tackle the 10,000-km challenge. They recognized how much interest this type of epic adventure could generate in electric vehicles, as well as creating a legacy of charging infrastructure behind. They felt Pole to Pole was the ultimate EV adventure and made it a reality through a commitment to collaboration and innovation with like-minded partners.

Chris commented, “I can’t believe we’re at the South Pole. After so many years of planning, it doesn’t feel real. 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. I’m proud that Pole to Pole has reached millions of people in parts of the world and enthused them about embracing EV in their day to day lives.”

Julie added, ”This has been an incredible journey, with the people we’ve met, the friends we’ve made and the support we’ve received. Pole to Pole started out as just Chris and I, but the expedition team is now made of up of thousands of kind, forward-thinking people. These supporters and contributors want to make a difference and share the excitement of electric driving.”

Allyson Witherspoon, Corporate vice president, Nissan Global Marketing, Brand and Merchandizing, said, ”On behalf of everyone at Nissan, congratulations on completing Pole to Pole. We all admire your daring spirit and passion for pushing the boundaries of electric adventure. It has been an extraordinary journey to follow and a point of pride for us at Nissan. It has shown how Nissan’s innovative technology continues to deliver excitement, whether on a trip to the office or to the Antarctic!”

Joshua Chin

Automotive journalist. Professional work on and Personal writing found at Instagram: @driveeveryday

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