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A Nissan Ariya Just Drove from the North Pole to the South Pole

By
Laurance Yap
December 27, 2023
3
min
How's this for conquering range anxiety? Chris and Julie Ramsey have just completed a 18,600-mile, expedition in an electric Nissan Ariya – going from the North Pole to the South Pole in 10 months. And they did it without ever running out of charge.
Chris and Julie Ramsey, husband and wife adventurers, facing their Nissan Ariya they used on their pole to pole expedition
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Epic 10 Month EV Journey

An electric vehicle has just become the first vehicle – of any kind – to drive from the earth’s North Pole to the South Pole, an expedition of almost 19,000 miles and 10 months across multiple climate zones and terrains. And, other than the fitment of huge off-road tires, the Nissan Ariya that did the journey was very similar to the one that you can get from a showroom.

The Ariya was driven by Chris and Julie Ramsey, husband-and-wife adventurers who have a passion for electric vehicles. They were the first couple to ever complete the grueling Mongol Rally in an electric car, using a Nissan Leaf to drive the 6,000-mile course. The couple say they started planning the “pole to pole” expedition six years ago, in 2017.

Chris and Julie Ramsey, husband and wife adventurers and their Nissan Ariya they used on their pole to pole expedition

Longest EV Road Trip in History

Over 10 months and over 18,600 miles, the Ramseys drove from the frozen Arctic Sea, at the 1823 Magnetic North Pole, across varied terrains and conditions through North, Central, and South America, before the final leg on the most remote continent, Antarctica, to reach the south pole. No other vehicle in history has completed such a journey.

“I can’t believe we’re at the South Pole. After so many years of planning, it doesn’t feel real,” says Chris Ramsey. “I’ve always had full confidence in the amazing capabilities of electric vehicles, and I knew our 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 Ramsey adds: ”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 out 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.”

The Nissan Ariya used on the pole to pole expedition

Nissan Ariya Expedition Vehicle

Along the way, the couple say they made thousands of friends, and clearly generated huge buzz around electric vehicles. While charging along roads in North and South America was relatively easy – the Ariya’s massive tires and roof rack reduced range to about 150 to 200 miles, down from its 303-mile EPA estimate – on Arctic and Antarctic surfaces, they used a combination of sources to generate electricity.

The Ramseys’ copper-colored Ariya had some special mods for the big drive. Nissan partnered with Arctic Trucks, a well-known specialist in building polar expedition vehicles, to install massive 39-inch BFGoodrich off-road tires, and a roof rack made space for extra gear. However, additional modifications were kept intentionally minimal. There were no changes to the battery or e-4orce powertrain.

There was also a portable “renewable energy unit” that was used to charge the Ariya. The towable unit included a packable, lightweight wind turbine and solar panels to take advantage of high winds and long daylight hours. Generators were also used when the weather wasn’t in the team’s favor.

Chris and Julie Ramsey, husband and wife adventurers and their Nissan Ariya they used on their pole to pole expedition

You Can Take Any Road Trip in an EV

While the use of gas-powered generators meant that the entire trip wasn’t completed emissions-free, the expedition did highlight the ability of EVs to be fueled by several different energy sources, instead of just gasoline. Indeed, in the remotest of locations, finding gasoline would have been even harder than generating electricity with the wind and sun. The fact that the Ramseys were able to complete the journey also showed that, with some planning ahead, EV drivers can complete any journey they want.

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