Pole to pole: Couple cover 18,000 miles in a Nissan Ariya

This is the first time someone's ever driven from the North to the South Pole

Good news all Nissan Ariya owners! With a few modifications, you can potentially take your EV for a trip from a trip from one end of the world to another. No pressure though, only if you want to…

At least that’s what Chris and Julie Ramsey, husband and wife adventurers have done with their electric SUV, completing an all-electric 17,000-mile journey from the North Pole to the South Pole, spanning four continents and lasting ten months.

And what’s even more remarkable is that this marks the first time that anyone has even dared to drive from one Pole to another, let alone do it in an electric car.

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The couple had already tackled the brutal Mongol Rally in their electric Nissan Leaf in 2017, marking the first time someone had used an EV to tackle the 10,000-km intercontinental challenge beginning in Europe and ending in Ulan-Ude in Russia.

They recognised how much interest this type of epic adventure could generate in electric vehicles, as well as creating a legacy of charging infrastructure. 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.

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The challenge started on the frozen Arctic Sea at the 1823 Magnetic North Pole, and took the couple to the varied terrains and conditions of North, Central and South America before traversing the most remote continent on the planet, to reach the South Pole.

To tackle the long distances and challenging off-road terrains, the Ramseys selected the Nissan Ariya with e-4ORCE all-wheel control as their ride of choice. While the vehicle didn’t have any modifications to the powertrain or its battery, it was modified by polar mobility specialists Arctic Trucks, to accommodate 39-inch BF Goodrich tires, along with some ice-friendly gear, body reinforcement work, and of course, a lift in height.

All that extra load on the EV meant it had to make do with a reduced range of just 150 to 200 miles — a drop from the original 272-mile mark. So to juice up their Ariya, they had to come up with innovative techniques, such as using a 5kW wind turbine or a prototype solar hybrid charging solution to juice up their Ariya.

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However, there were still moments when they had to fall back to their petrol generator — a mandatory equipment for traversing the Arctic regions. Likewise, with their diesel support vehicles, no electric version of those exists. But the point of the expedition, according to Chris’s words to Expedition Portal, was to prove that electric vehicles make a viable replacement for existing diesel-powered expedition vehicles in the polar regions.

After completing the challenge, Chris said: “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 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.”

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