Nissan Ariya electric SUV claims world-first North to South Pole drive

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A Scottish husband and wife have completed Santa’s reconnaissance run by driving an electric Nissan SUV from where the North Pole was two centuries ago, to the South Pole.

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A modified Nissan Ariya electric SUV has become the first car to be driven from the magnetic North Pole to the South Pole, completing the circa-30,000km journey across 10 months – though with a major caveat.

Driven by Scottish husband and wife team Chris and Julie Ramsey, the Ariya set off on 30 March 2023 from where the magnetic North Pole was in 1823 – approximately 2500km south of its current location, reducing (but not eliminating) the challenge of the journey. 

After driving through North, Central and South America in Nissan’s electric SUV the couple ended the journey on 15 December 2023 after clocking up more than 30,000km in the Ariya.

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Nissan claims no modifications were made to the Ariya’s dual electric motors – producing 290kW combined – while the SUV relied on solar panels, a portable wind turbine and household outlets to be recharged when away from areas with suitable infrastructure.

Alterations were made to the SUV’s suspension and bodywork by Arctic Trucks – the company behind the Arctic Circle-exploring Toyota HiLux utes featured on UK TV show Top Gear – though these modifications were largely centred around fitting the huge 39-inch tyres.

The Nissan’s trip from pole-to-pole comes 25 years after a Lada Niva Marsh became the first car to be driven to the North Pole – not a Toyota HiLux driven by Top Gear presenters Jeremy Clarkson and James May, which reached the 1996 magnetic North Pole.

See the full map of the journey below

Jordan Mulach is Canberra/Ngunnawal born, currently residing in Brisbane/Turrbal. Joining the Drive team in 2022, Jordan has previously worked for Auto Action, MotorsportM8, The Supercars Collective and TouringCarTimes, WhichCar, Wheels, Motor and Street Machine. Jordan is a self-described iRacing addict and can be found on weekends either behind the wheel of his Octavia RS or swearing at his ZH Fairlane.

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