It is powered by a pair of 60kW motors, with power drawn from a 52.6kWh battery. That gives a range of 31 miles, although it can house a second battery for longer trips.
Venturi said recharging takes between two and 18 hours, “depending on the context and the weather”. On that note, the machine can operate at temperatures up to -50deg C.
Venturi says the development of the Antarctica was inspired by HSH Prince Albert II of Monaco after he visited Antarctica in 2009. The prince wanted to develop a machine that could operate on the continent without affecting the ecosystem.
In its first week of operation in December, the Antarctica was used in several scientific missions, including maintenance work on a number of weather-observation stations and the Belgian atmospheric-observation station located on a 2300-metre plateau.
The Princess Elisabeth Antarctica, located on Utsteinen Nunatak in Queen Maud Land, opened in 2009 and is the only zero-emissions base on the continent. It’s run on solar and wind energy through its own smart grid, which features back-up generators. It houses teams from the International Polar Foundation and Belgium.