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Couple Completes Pole-to-Pole Road Trip in a Nissan Ariya

The modified 2023 Nissan Ariya, at the end of the road! | Photo: Nissan
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Daniel Rufiange
The trip is the first of its kind for an electric vehicle

•    Pole to Pole in an all-electric vehicle? Done!

When it comes to electric vehicles, one longstanding obstacle has yet to fully disappear, even in 2023: many potential buyers are anxious about range. Safe to say that’s not much of an issue for Chris and Julie Ramsey. The couple has just spent 10 months behind the wheel of a Nissan Ariya on an unusual journey. The pair drove it pole-to-pole - from the North Pole to the South Pole. 

They started the 30,000-km trip on the frozen Arctic Sea at the North Magnetic Pole. The couple tackled a multitude of different terrains and surfaces, not to mention a wide range of weather conditions. After crossing the continents of North, Central and South America, the Ramseys reached the planet's most remote continent, Antarctica and their final destination, the South Pole. 

Need we point out, this is the first time an electric vehicle has accomplished such a journey.

The Ramseys with the 2023 Nissan Ariya they drove from the North to the South Pole
The Ramseys with the 2023 Nissan Ariya they drove from the North to the South Pole | Photo: Nissan

The version used was equipped with Nissan's e-4orce all-wheel drive system, no surprise there. And as you can see from the images shared by the carmaker, the vehicle was modified by polar-mobility specialists Arctic Trucks. Notably, the normally urban SUV rides on 39-inch BF Goodrich tires. 

That was it for the modifications, though. For the rest, it was an Ariya like car shoppers will find at their local Nissan dealer. 

See also: 2023 Nissan Ariya e-4orce Review: Because 4-Wheel Drive Is Better than 2!

Not surprisingly, this wasn’t the first long-distance rodeo for the Ramseys, who previously completed a similar trip, the 10,000-km Mongol Rally, at the wheel of a Nissan LEAF. That also represented a first for an electric car. 

That earlier trip showed the level of interest this kind of adventure could generate for electric vehicles, as well as helping implant EV charging infrastructure behind them. For the Ramseys, the journey from pole to pole represented the ultimate adventure for an EV. Planning for the pole-to-pole road trip began in 2017.

The 2023 Nissan Ariya, at the South Pole
The 2023 Nissan Ariya, at the South Pole | Photo: Nissan

Said Chris Ramsey about his adventure, “I can’t believe we’re at the South Pole. After so many years of planning, it doesn’t feel real. I’ve always had full confidence in the amazing capabilities of electric vehicles, and I knew our Nissan 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 added her feelings: “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.”

Nissan was naturally delighted with the couple's achievement. Allyson Witherspoon, VP of Nissan Global Marketing, Brand and Merchandizing, said: “On behalf of everyone at Nissan, congratulations on completing Pole to Pole. We all admire your daring spirit and passion for pushing the boundaries of electric adventure. It has been an extraordinary journey to follow and a point of pride for us at Nissan. It has shown how Nissan’s innovative technology continues to deliver excitement, whether on a trip to the office or to the Antarctic!”

How about recharging, you ask?
Perhaps tellingly, in its press release Nissan makes no mention of the challenges posed by the need to regularly recharge the Ariya. As you can guess, in some places on the way south, there were simply no charging stations. 

The couple did share some of their experiences on that front on their Instagram account. For example, the pair often used any outlet they could find on a site or in a building that had electricity, even if it meant “plugging into a remote toilet or running a cord through a window.”

Other important detail: The couple also used solar panels and an extendable wind turbine when away from civilization.

Destination's end for the 2023 Nissan Ariya
Destination's end for the 2023 Nissan Ariya | Photo: Nissan
Daniel Rufiange
Daniel Rufiange
Automotive expert
  • Over 17 years' experience as an automotive journalist
  • More than 75 test drives in the past year
  • Participation in over 250 new vehicle launches in the presence of the brand's technical specialists