Plug-In Hybrid HUMMERs Headed For The South Pole On Biofuel


Zero South plug-in hybrid Hummer H1

Zero South plug-in hybrid Hummer H1

Enlarge Photo

If you were going to drive to the South Pole, what vehicle would you choose?

There's a team gearing up right now to undertake that very adventure--using a pair of plug-in hybrid Hummers.

The mission is called Zero South, signifying the group's goal of being the first to reach the South Pole without using any fossil fuels.

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And the team's choice of vehicle wasn't an accident.

The "intentional irony" of converting a Hummer into a plug-in hybrid had a certain appeal, according to a Zero South statement.

Zero South hopes to promote awareness of environmental issues, and believes electrified Hummers will make excellent conversation starters.

Zero South plug-in hybrid Hummer

Zero South plug-in hybrid Hummer

Enlarge Photo

"We shall draft a symbol of military defense for the front lines of environmental defense," expedition organizer Nick Baggarly declared.

There's a practical element to the choice of vehicle, too.

To tackle Antarctic ice and snow, the Zero South team needed a vehicle with a wide track.

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Each Hummer is equipped with a 3.2-liter six-cylinder turbodiesel engine that will run on biofuel during the expedition.

There's also an electric motor for each axle, retaining the Hummer's four-wheel drive capability.

Electricity is supplied by a 24-kilowatt-hour lithium-ion battery pack, mounted in an insulated battery box to maintain consistent temperature.

Zero South plug-in hybrid Hummer

Zero South plug-in hybrid Hummer

Enlarge Photo

Green powertrains weren't the only modifications made to the pair of Hummers.

The expedition vehicles features reinforced drivetrain and suspension components, as well as upgrades allowing them to operate in temperatures as low as -60 degress Fahrenheit.

Then there are those tank treads.

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They're supplied by a company called Mattracks, which sells them as an aftermarket add-on for Hummers and other SUVs and trucks.

On road tires, the plug-in Hummers are capable of an estimated 32 miles of electric range, although Zero South hasn't yet determined how far they'll be able to go on the tracks.

It's also unclear where they would recharge while traversing Antarctica.

Zero South plug-in hybrid Hummer H1

Zero South plug-in hybrid Hummer H1

Enlarge Photo

One of the vehicles is designated to tow a modified Airstream trailer, nicknamed the "Snowstream."

The entire journey is expected to span 1,200 miles; if successful, Zero South says its vehicles will be the first hybrids driven to the South Pole.

The group plans to document its journey on camera, and produce a 10-episode television miniseries and feature-length film for maximum exposure of their proposed exploit.

[hat tip: Brian Henderson]

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