Here at Motoring Weekly, we have been following the progress of Venturi, the French manufacturer of sports cars and latterly more technically advanced road and race cars. They started back in the early 1980s developing a low volume sports car based on a VW Golf drivetrain. In recent years, they have been quiet pioneers in the electric car industry unlike companies such as Tesla. Venturi developed some “halo” cars however they also realised that to survive they needed to sell some ordinary road vehicles.
They developed the electric drivetrain for the French postal service vehicles based on Citroen and Peugeot vans. To prove that these worked efficiently, they even took several on a mission across Africa! In competition, they have successfully won the world land speed record for an electric car and they are also a major competitor in Formula E, the electric equivalent of Formula 1.
Recently they announced a new vehicle: the Antarctica, which was designed for its namesake! Back in 2011 they launched a plan to develop electric vehicles for polar expeditions and research. The Antarctica is the latest evolution from that program. On November 30th, the vehicle was launched at the Prince’s Palace in Monaco. It is a three person utility with 2 x 60Kw motors driving through tracks and is capable of a range of 45 kilometres and a top speed of 20km/h. Not very much you may think, however when you are working in a climate that can get down to -50C, that is actually pretty impressive.
In March 2019, Prince Albert of Monaco along with the astronaut, Chris Hadfield, will be part of a team that will test the vehicle in Canada. Entitled “Back to Telegraph Creek”, this event is one of a series that Venturi have undertaken to honour some of the expeditions that Citroen did back in the 1930s. Telegraph Creek is an actual place in British Columbia and could be considered about half way between Vancouver and Anchorage. In other words a long way off and in the middle of nowhere!
With recent news about the Antarctica continent losing its ice shelves, any zero emission technology is going to be important to use. It is a bit rich travelling to a region to research the impact of carbon emissions whilst using equipment that exacerbates the problem! The Venturi Antarctica is the perfect machine fit for purpose.
Update: February 2019
Venturi had a successful test of their vehicle at a winter sports resort in Auron, two hours from Monaco. They spent three days and four nights in the resort testing in real-world conditions before sending the vehicle to Modena to spend three days in a climate chamber! That final test saw the vehicle’s systems being tested at -40C. The company was happy with the results, so a good step forward to production status.
Image source: Venturi Automobiles