Antarctica’s only electric car had to be redesigned due to climate change

The only electric car in Antarctica underwent tuning in connection with the realities of climate change. Venturi has announced that it has upgraded its Venturi electric vehicle Antarctica at the beginning of last year due to warming on the continent. The original vehicle was designed to operate in winter temperatures of -50°C, but the south polar region is now a comparatively warmer -10°C – and this has affected both crew and performance.

The company added a ventilation system and air intakes to the front of the Antarctica to prevent the cabin from overheating, and additional air intakes protect the electronics from overheating. Redesigned wheel sprockets were also necessary to maximize the capabilities of the tracked electric vehicle. The warm snow clung to the sprockets, creating vibrations as it compacted and hardened. Future upgrades will help restore range lost due to changes in snow consistency. Antarctica is built to cover 50 kilometers, but scientists limit the distance to 40 kilometers.

The Venturi electric vehicle has been in use at the Belgian Antarctic station “Princess Elisabeth” since December 2021. It has two modest 80 hp engines and a 52.6 kWh battery (plus an optional second unit). The vehicle allows the station’s residents to conduct research without causing emissions or polluting the relatively pristine region.

The update shows how global warming can subtly affect transportation. Venturi and other manufacturers may have to train their next explorers on the assumption that Antarctica won’t be as cold as it used to be.