Hummers, SUVs and sports utility trucks remain popular vehicles of choice despite the fact they have come to symbolize the wasteful consumption of fossil fuels. To highlight this point and offer an alternative, a team of engineers and adventurers is preparing to embark on a pioneering trip to the South Pole with a pair of Hummers powered only by batteries and biofuels.
Called Zero South, this mission to the South Pole is meant to raise awareness about the feasibility of developing alternative sources of fuel that can handle exceptionally challenging terrain. It’s also an act of “intentional irony”, whose aim is to highlight the importance of converting the world’s most gas guzzling vehicles into ones that don’t consume fossil fuels.
What makes these two Hummers unique
The entire journey is expected to cover 1,200 miles across unforgiving swaths of Antarctic ice and snow. To meet these challenges, each Hummer has been reconfigured to include a 3.2-liter six-cylinder turbodiesel engine that run on biofuel. They also include tank treads, an electric motor for each axle to maintain four-wheel drive functionality, and reinforced drivetrain and suspension.
Powering these customized beasts is a 24-kilowatt-hour lithium-ion battery pack that sits inside an insulated battery box as a precautionary measure against expected temperatures as low as -60 degress Fahrenheit.
Some challenges remain.
The expeditionary team has yet to reveal how they plan to recharge these batteries. Currently, each Hummer is able to travel 32 miles on the road with regular tires. Just how many miles they’ll be able to travel on tank treads is still yet to be determined.
According to the mission’s official website, “the completion of the expedition will coincide with the 100-year anniversary of Sir Ernest Shackleton’s most famous Endurance expedition.” The event will also be documented in a 10-episode miniseries and eventually, a feature-length film.