Ethanol Speedster to Storm Antarctica

That dangerous-looking propeller/catamaran thing?  It’s taking a team of 11 researchers on a trip that will cover 3,600 miles of the Antarctic surface as part of the (awesomely named) Moon Regan Transantarctic Expedition.

That thing is pointy, loud, and fast… and you know you want one.  Find out more about this biofuel-burning ice-rider, after the jump.

This vehicle—designed by Lotus and driven by an ethanol-fueled Rotax boxer aero engine—will lead the way from Antarctica’s Patriot Hills as the Moon Regan Expedition heads to the South Pole (following the path of the historic Fuchs and Hillary crossing) before heading to McMurdo through the Trans-Antarctic Mountain Range.

Scientists riding in the ice machine hope to examine the impact of global climate change on Antarctica (which is boring compared to the device they’re doing it in) while setting new overland speed records for Antarctic crossings (which is awesome).

To break that record, the team hopes to put a new Rotax 914 engine to good use, spinning a three-blade variable-pitch propeller which has to push a bantam-like 675 kilograms on three independently-suspended skis.  The 100+ hp engine should have no trouble averaging speeds in excess of 80 mph, while a GPS-enhanced radar system detects voids in the ice, below …

…which, supposedly, is the point.  (wink, wink – nudge, nudge)

SOURCE:  Wired Autopia.

Jo Borrás

I've been in the auto industry 1997, and write for a number of blogs in the IM network. You can also find me on Twitter, at my Volvo fansite, out on two wheels, or chasing my kids around Oak Park, IL.