Venturi Develops Electric Vehicle For Use In Antarctica

APR 23 2015 BY TDILLARD 6

Venturi Antarctic

Venturi Antarctic

Quiz time.  What’s built by a Prince, in the French Riviera, that has 8 wheels, which drive two tracks, powered with a solar pv system, and runs at 40-degrees-below-zero Celsius?  In snow?  And ice too?

Answer?  This thing.

First sketches of the Antarctica

First sketches of the Venturi Antarctica

What is it?

More than just an electric Ratrack, Antarctica is a representation of a robot car of the future. A clean and intelligent robot designed for intensive use under the extreme weather conditions of Antarctic.

Surprisingly, Antarctica will be the first non-polluting vehicle to circulate in this natural reserve, land of peace and science.

Antarctica is of historical importance from an environmental and technical point of view. Venturi is the first car manufacturer to take up such a challenge.”

Sacha Lakic, designer

Specs?  Of course, here you go:

  • Engine type: 2 x 20 kW continuous / 2 x 30 kW peak
  • Max. speed on caterpillar tracks: 20 to 25 km/h (12.5 to 15.5 mph) (45 km/h (28 mph) on tires)
  • Range: 20 km (12.5 miles) / 40 km (25 miles) with trailer
  • Seats two, plus gear
  • Joystick drive-by-wire technology
  • 8hr charge time
  • Battery: Lithium Iron Phosphate
  • Independent track drive (two motors, each driving one track)

Apparently, the Prince wanted to make one of these.  The plan is to get it down to -50ºC,  test it in the coldest conditions they can find in Europe, ship it off to Antarctica, then sell it commercially.  ‘Tis good to be Prince.

Photos?  Sure, plenty of ’em, courtesy of Venturi.  But first.  Before you start thinking this is just some kind of indulgent exercise in EV applications where EV applications don’t make much sense, we have to ask: Have you ever been to the Arctic, or sub-Arctic, or maybe even the Antarctic?  This includes Alaska?  Well we have.

They say smell is the most poignant trigger of memories, and you want to know what we remember of our exploits on the Arctic Circle?  Diesel.  The pervasive stench of diesel fuel, virtually everywhere there was a human presence.  So the Prince’s comments: “The current means of transport for the most part are diesel-powered and constitute the main source of pollution.”, and the policies of “…protected zones in which the research is constrained by draconian measures against contamination from all types of pollution.”?  Right on the money.

Alrighty then, let’s look at some photos, and for more information, go the the Venturi Antarctica website.

Early test mule

Early test mule

...more development testing

…more development testing

Glacier-mitt-friendly controls

Glacier-mitt-friendly drive-by-wire capable controls

Sensible shoes...

Venturi Antarctica

Sensible shoes?

Sensible sub-zero explorer shoes

Seats two, with luggage

Seats two, with luggage

Venturi Antarctica

Venturi Antarctica

Just for the record, Venturi isn’t just another pretty face in EVs.  From Nicolas Mauduit, CTO, Venturi Automobiles, on their decision to manufacture EVs:

– Venturi decided to enter the championship as a manufacturer to show the high performances of our powertrain
– We are focus to obtain an efficient powertrain to compete against the others. For us efficiency is the most important subject in this championship.
– Venturi developed electric car for more than 14 years and already produced a range of electric powertrain with power from 200kW to 1MW.
– Venturi is holding the FIA record for the world’s fastest Electric Vehicle on the Bonneville Salt Flats.

On that last bit?  Remember this?

Vewnuew

Venturi VBB-3

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6 Comments on "Venturi Develops Electric Vehicle For Use In Antarctica"

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It will be interesting to see how they deal with the problem of poor performance by li-ion batteries in sub-zero conditions. Are they using special, more expensive batteries with a higher tolerance to cold?

Frankly, I would have expected them to go with some other battery chemistry entirely, rather than trying to use li-ion. There are other chemistries which aren’t as temperature-sensitive.

Yes, they are. The article says they are using Lithium Iron Phosphate. Lower energy density, but less susceptible to cold and capacity loss.

Take this NY times!

How big is the market for this? (even with the hot Brunette?)

Given the current market size of EVs, they could get even a few percentage points just selling to Antarctica explorers.

I think there is a huge market for hot Brunette’s.