February 21, 2019 1:42 pm

First-ever electric snowcat unveiled in Edmonton

WATCH ABOVE: Edmonton has been chosen as the site to unveil the world's first electric snowcat for Antarctic missions. Kent Morrison went to Riverside Golf Course to check it out.


The first-ever zero-emissions electric snowcat was unveiled in Edmonton on Thursday morning.

Venturi Automobiles — a Monaco-based company — said the Antarctica was built for scientific research and exploration in Antarctica, with a specific purpose of backing up polar missions.

“This is a unique vehicle, a vehicle like no other, designed for missions like no other,” said Xavier Chevrin of VENTURI Automobiles.

“It is supposed to provide scientists in polar regions to go and collect samples in pristine conditions. But before it goes to Antarctica, we need to test it in real life here in Canada.”

WATCH BELOW: The first ever zero-emissions electric snowcat was revealed in Edmonton by a Monaco-based company

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It took 18 months to design the vehicle, which is capable of withstanding temperatures as low as -50 C.

“You have some cold conditions where you use it, so you have to manage the temperature of the motor and the battery,” Venturi engineer Nicolas Ollivier said.

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The vehicle will be tested in March on the tracks of the “Croisière Blanche” — a 1934 expedition from the Fairmont Hotel in Edmonton to Telegraph Creek in northern British Columbia that was led by French millionaire businessman and adventurer Charles Bedaux. The quest failed after several months and attempts because of soggy and steep terrain.

The Antarctica will be used to symbolically cover the last 42 kilometres of the journey from Dease Lake to Telegraph Creek, B.C., with Canadian astronaut Chris Hadfield and Prince Albert II among those taking turns at the controls.

“Every now and then, we take on challenges to prove the reliability of our vehicles, which are totally electric and for high-performance kind of things,” Chevrin said.

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The Antarctica was developed at the request of Prince Albert II.

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