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Venturi Antartica polar explorer nears completion

Want to spy on Penguins without hindering mating season? They're making just the vehicle in Monaco...

By Sam Sheehan / Wednesday, February 06, 2019

Long gone are the days when Venturi produced V6-powered performance cars like the pretty Atlantique coupe and Transcup roadster. Since the turn of the millennium, the focus for the Monegasque company has turned to electric power, as evidenced by its Formula E team and current line-up, which is comprised of EVs. They're not all boring ecoboxes, however, with three being compact sports cars and the next arrival taking the shape of an ultra-rugged vehicle called the Antartica.

As its name suggests, this pod-cum-snowmobile is designed to work in some of the world's coldest climates as a zero-emission polar exploration vehicle. If that sends alarm bells ringing in your head because, well, freezing air temperatures aren't exactly a battery's favourite thing, Venturi assures us that its latest project, which was initiated by Monaco's Prince Albert II via his foundation and is backed by an astronaut and explorer no less, has overcome such problems.

As pre-production testing nears completion, the company says the Antartica has run in temperatures as low as -40 degrees Celsius and is capable of travelling for up to 28 miles, thanks to its use of a twin-motor setup producing 80hp. While its range might seem miniscule compared to the latest 200-mile EVs set to arrive on the car market, it's impressive for a vehicle that'll work in such inhospitable conditions. Plus, scientists located near to the Earth's poles tend to stick close to their base, for obvious reasons.

The extensive use of glass means Antartica can provide its driver with an uninterupted 180-degree view of the landscape ahead. There are two side doors and two windows at the front and rear, to make it easy for scientists wrapped in multiple layers of thermals to hop in and out onto the snow.

Looking more like something that would emerge from Thunderbird 2 than a scientific tool, Antartica can be forgiven for its rather sluggish 12.5mph top speed, then. Besides, Prince Albert II's idea to bring near silent, zero-emission transport to some of the most fragile regions of the Earth is an admirable one. Quite the forethought for a man who also loves his supercars and motorsport.

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