Nissan unveils modified Ariya EV for North Pole to South Pole expedition
Nissan has unveiled the modified Ariya that husband-and-wife team Chris and Julie Ramsey will attempt to drive from the North Pole to the South Pole. Built by Arctic Trucks, the electric crossover gains terrain-taming modifications like giant tires tucked under flared wheel arches.
About 17,000 miles separate the magnetic North Pole from the magnetic South Pole, and the Ariya will need to conquer some incredibly difficult roads to make the trip — deep snow, steep mountain roads, and scorching-hot deserts are on the menu. Working jointly with Nissan engineers, Arctic Trucks prepared the EV for Mother Nature's worst but went to great lengths to retain as many stock parts as possible.
It doesn't take a well-trained eye to spot what's been modified. The flared wheel arches cover aftermarket wheels wrapped by 39-inch tires, and suspension modifications increase ground clearance. Beefy skid plates protect the underbody components, and both bumpers gain hitch-like attachment points that can be used to carry extra gear. Finally, an espresso machine has wisely been integrated into the cabin.
The electric, all-wheel-drive powertrain hasn't been modified. Stock, the Ariya delivers up to 304 miles of driving range according to the EPA, a figure that's sure to drop dramatically once the modifications and the extreme temperatures get factored into the equation. Charging is an issue, too; we don't think there are any Electrify America charging stations within 300-some-odd miles of the magnetic North Pole.
Nissan's answer is relatively simple: it developed what it calls a "portable, renewable-energy unit" that's mounted on a trailer. The setup includes a wind turbine and solar panels, so it should be capable of charging the Ariya's battery pack when the driver and co-driver stop for a break. As a tradeoff, towing reduces driving range in all cars regardless of fuel type, so the Ariya will need to stop more often to keep going.
The coupe's route hasn't been published yet, but the trip is scheduled to start in March 2023 so we should learn more about it soon.
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