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Antarctica is a brutal place and plans to traverse it had better be accompanied by some well-thought-out preparations. This winter, explorers from the Moon-Regan Transantarctic Expedition team will set out on an attempt to examine the impact of global climate change. The 40-day, 3,600-mile jaunt will put the team of 11 researchers and their two vehicles through the ultimate cold-weather test. Hopefully, the team's Lotus-designed Bio-Inspired Ice Vehicle (BIV) is up to the task.

Powered by an E85-burning turbo'd four-cylinder Rotax 914 engine, which pumps out 100 horsepower and 106 pound feet of torque, the sub-1,500 pound BIV is built for Antarctica's grueling conditions. It features a three-blade prop with variable pitch and runs atop three skis that employ an independent suspension system. The BIV has room for just one, so the team of 11 researchers may find themselves duking it out for some seat time. Those who aren't piloting the BIV will have to make do within the cozy confines of another support vehicle. But with a top speed of 84 miles per hour and the inevitable power slide lurking around every turn, we'd find someway to stay in the seat of the BIV for as long as possible.

[Source: Transantarctic Expedition via Wired]

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    • 1 Second Ago
      • 3 Months Ago
      That picture looks like a BMW boxing twin engine.
        • 3 Months Ago
        ditto, BMW twin.

        The whole thing is a copy of Tatra snow "plane"
        • 3 Months Ago
        Yes, but I went to the links, and it describes how they changed to the Rotax because of better cold weather performance.
        • 3 Months Ago
        You're right, Mike! The post mentions a Rotax four cylinder, which is obviously incorrect.

        Sincerely, Neil
      • 3 Months Ago
      The design is good because it minimizes friction via good aerodynamics and minimal contact with the ground. The only way you could make it faster and more efficient is to eliminate ground contact entirely somehow....

      Antarctic vehicle fueled by corn grown in the midwest fields fertilized, planted and sprayed using tractors that burn deisel fuel from the middle east.

      We should be using vehicles like this to mine for coal in antarctica so we can sell it to the middle east so they can burn it for electricity and use the electricity to power their oil drilling rigs!
      • 3 Months Ago
      No windshield? 84 MPH antartic wind in your face?

      Looks really noisy. Perhaps since there are no doors, they want to scare away polar bears. Oh, wait they're on the other end of earth.

      Why not treads? This looks real inefficient, top heavy, and not too good on any grade.

      Don't mean to be a buzzkill. It just looks less like an instrument of science and more like a deathtrap, a brilliant redneck snowmobile, or just a plane that sucks at flying.

      Also, why is it that no matter how inefficient something is, if it runs on E85, it finds its way onto this blog? Remember Jay Lenos jet car?
        • 3 Months Ago
        That Ice Challenger 05 looks pretty sweet. A Ford Econoline 6 wheel monster van is certainly a ride fit for the A-Team.

        It looks pretty dangerous, though, with all the gear they have on top.
        • 3 Months Ago
        It has a windshield. I'd prefer a fully closed cockpit myself.

      • 3 Months Ago
      Sounds like the ultimate test of E85's ability to hold up under cold weather startup conditions.
      • 3 Months Ago
      I hope the engine has a cover...and isn't exposed to the elements like on the image. It surely won't work at -50C
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