Monaco-based company unveils zero emissions all-terrain vehicle in Edmonton

A Monaco-based automobile manufacturer unveiled its electric all-terrain vehicle in Edmonton before it tests the vehicle in British Columbia next month.

‘Antarctica,’ an electric vehicle on tracks, will follow in footsteps of historic expedition

"Antarctica," an electric all-terrain vehicle made by VENTURI Automobiles, was on display outside the Hotel Macdonald on Thursday. (Dave Bajer/CBC)

An electric all-terrain vehicle that can handle extreme cold temperatures will be used to follow in the footsteps of a historic French expedition that started from Edmonton in 1934.

On Tuesday the 'Antarctica' vehicle was parked outside the Hotel Macdonald in downtown Edmonton. The vehicle, to be used for scientific research in Antarctica, was created by VENTURI Automobiles at the request of Prince Albert II of Monaco.

It was unveiled in Edmonton because of the city's connection to a historic French expedition "Croisière Blanche," which started at the Hotel Macdonald in 1934.

'It's a very compact vehicle'

5 years ago
Duration 1:34
A new antarctic research vehicle from Venturi Automotive was on display in Edmonton February 21.

French millionaire Charles Bedaux unsuccessfully tried to create a route to the West Coast before returning to Edmonton.

"Unfortunately for him he failed, but we are hoping to complete the last leg that he never made," said Xavier Chevrin, president of VENTURI North America. The company's home base is in Monaco.

In the first week of March, Prince Albert II, Canadian astronaut Chris Hadfield and Chevrin will be driving the electric vehicle along a 42-kilometre leg of the route from Dease Lake to Telegraph Creek in northern British Columbia.

The trip will also be used to test the vehicle's mechanics and batteries in winter conditions. 

The vehicle will eventually be shipped to Antarctica to be used for scientific work. The company has not yet secured a contract with research groups.

Xavier Chevrin and Gildo Pastor of VENTURI Automobiles pose in front of "Antarctica," an electric all-terrain vehicle which is expected to be used in Antarctica for scientific research. (Dave Bajer/CBC)

The battery is designed to withstand temperatures as low as –50 C.

"We still have a few steps to make, maybe a few years before getting this technology into cars that can be sold so that we can drive in Edmonton in minus 20," Chevrin said.