Back in 2007, the infamous Top Gear trio successfully reach the Magnetic North Pole in a heavily modified Toyota Hilux. Now the same company that built the arctic-conquering rig is working with British Adventurer Chris Ramsey for another epic journey. This time, the mission is to start at the north and drive 17,000 miles to the Magnetic South Pole. And the vehicle tasked for the journey is – wait for it – a Nissan Ariya.
Yes, the Ariya. The same all-electric Ariya crossover that debuted in 2020 with 300 miles of range and still hasn’t reached dealerships as of May 2022. It should also be noted that the 300-mile range is a manufacturer estimate for the two-wheel-drive model. One doesn’t drive to extreme locations without turning all four wheels, so expect that range to be even lower. That equals a lot of charging stops over 17,000 miles, and it’s not like you’ll find a quick charger anywhere in Antarctica.
But it is happening, and to the credit of both Nissan and Ramsey, confidence is high for a successful adventure.
“The all-new, all-electric Ariya crossover SUV enables you to go further, easier, and in comfort,” said Nissan Executive Vice President Asako Hoshino. “And with e-4ORCE control technology providing enhanced stability and traction on a variety of surfaces, we know it will be the perfect partner for Chris and his team on their challenging all-electric journey.”
Ramsey added: “Our mission is to show that electric vehicles can tackle the harshest of environments – from the bitter cold of the poles to the hot and humid jungles of South America, and illustrate that they are exhilarating to drive whilst meeting the daily demands of drivers around the world. It’s fantastic to see such an important and innovative global brand partner with our expedition.”
Obviously, the Ariya will be heavily modified for the journey and Arctic Trucks certainly has experience in that area. Details aren’t offered just yet, but the wheels, tires, and suspension will be upgraded to handle extreme surfaces at the arctic and antarctic poles. Ramsey also has considerable experience driving EVs to extreme locations, having traversed 10,000 miles in a tweaked Nissan Leaf for the 2017 Mongol Rally. Additionally, the pole-to-pole trip has been four years in the planning, so this isn’t exactly a fly-by-night operation.
Will the Ariya be up for the challenge? We found the electric SUV quite lively in our first-drive review, but when it comes to blazing trails at the ends of the earth, all bets are off.
If all goes according to plan, the adventure begins in March 2023.