EV makes tracks in Antarctica

The Venturi Antarctica has already been used for various maintenance and scientific missions
(Photo: Louis-Marie Blondel)

The Venturi Antarctica exploration vehicle is now in service at the Princess Elisabeth Antarctica Research station in East Antarctica. It is a world first for operating an EV with caterpillar tracks on the White Continent.

During its first week of operation, it enabled several scientific missions to be carried out on the ground, including maintenance work on automated weather observation stations and at a new atmospheric observation that sits 2300 m up on the Antarctic Plateau.

The missions also provided an opportunity to measure snow surface temperatures, which are used to validate data from satellites. In addition, the Venturi Antarctica enabled a simulated emergency rescue to be carried out, based on the scenario of extracting someone from the bottom of a crevasse.

With its fold-down bench seats positioned lengthwise, it can carry one to six people, equipment and a second battery to extend its range to 200 km in temperatures down to -50 C.

The vehicle’s capabilities match the environmental approach of the research station, which is said to be the first, and to date only, zero-emissions station on the continent. This season it is hosting more than 50 scientists and team members.