Most electric cars are upgraded to improve performance or range, but the only one in Antarctica has been tuned due to the realities of climate change. Venturi revealed that it upgraded the Venturi Antarctica electric explorer early last year due to the continent’s warming climate. The original machine was designed to operate in winter temperatures of -58 degrees Fahrenheit, but the Antarctic region is now relatively warm at 14 degrees Fahrenheit — which affects crews and performance.
The company added a ventilation system and air intakes to the front of the Antarctica to keep the cockpit from overheating, while additional air intakes keep power electronics from heating up. Redesigned wheel sprockets are also necessary to maximize the capabilities of tracked EVs. Warm snow sticks to the sprockets, creating vibrations as it compacts and hardens. Future upgrades will help restore range lost to changing snow consistency. Antarctica is built on an area of 31 miles, but scientists have been limiting it to 25 miles.
technical art Note that Venturi’s EV has been in use at the Princess Elisabeth Antarctic Station in Belgium since December 2021. It has two modest 80HP motors and a 52.6kWh battery (plus optional second battery pack), but raw power isn’t the point. The design allows station residents to conduct research without increasing emissions or polluting relatively pristine areas.
You probably won’t see a similar climate-related upgrade from the Venturi just yet. However, the update shows how global warming is affecting traffic in subtle ways. Venturi and other manufacturers may have to design their next explorers on the assumption that Antarctica won’t be as cold as it once was.