The TRE South Pole Toyota Tacoma
Sure, you may run into some serious winter weather up in Wisconsin or amongst the peaks in Colorado, but chances are you’ve never had to drive your Toyota Tacoma in conditions that even come close to approaching the daily reality at the South Pole. Antarctica offers the most inhospitable cold temperature climate on the planet, which might make you question the sanity of the Thomson Reuters Eikon team and their plan to drive across the continent in an effort to set a new world record.
Teamwork Is Key
Team Thomson Reuters and Eikon consists of Jason De Carteret, Kieron Bradley and Jason Thomas, and their goal is a simple one: get behind the wheel of a Toyota Tacoma and drive across Antarctica faster than anyone has ever been able to perform a motorized crossing before. It certainly helps that De Carteret is actually the holder of the current record of just under three days, which he set six years ago.
This Ain’t No “Stock” Tacoma
Also working in the favor of Team TRE is the fact that the Tacoma they will be driving is far, far from stock. The Toyota Tacoma that has been tagged for South Pole shenanigans was put together by Arctic Trucks, which is based out of Iceland. The vehicle was given a complete safety cage as well as a number of other modifications designed to keep it robust and safe no matter how low the temperatures dropped during the journey.
The Thomson Reuters and Eikon crew also devoted their own considerable talents to modifying the truck, including supercharging its 4.0-liter V-6 engine to produce 390 horsepower and converting it to run on bioethanol instead of gasoline. The Tacoma’s suspension (featuring rear coils) and transmission were also ruggedized and its front and rear differentials were replaced with ARB Air Lockers featuring brand new axles. Given the blustery nature of the landscape that the truck will be traversing, the Toyota has also been given a small rooftop wind turbine that can snag some extra juice during stormy weather. When the sun is shining, solar panels will take over the electrical generating duties.
The truck also features unique lubricants developed in partnership with DuPont that can resist the intense, -30 degree Fahrenheit temperatures that would freeze standard engine oils solid, as well as cooling systems that can deal with being buried under a snow drift for hours at a time while the engine is running. Inside, the truck is equipped with an insulating carpet system that keeps 12-inches of air between the outside world and the feet of its occupants.
Wouldn’t A Sno-Cat Make More Sense?
Conventional wisdom with regards to snow travel dictates that a tracked vehicle, such as a snowmobile, is the most effective form of transportation. De Carteret disagrees, stating that the Tacoma’s lighter weight and better fuel efficiency will make it a better deep snow choice. The truck’s low-range “snow crawl” four-wheel drive transfer case provides the torque multiplication needed to deal with difficult traction conditions, and its 44-inch rubber is designed to float above the snow and distribute the weight of the truck evenly – much like riding on an inflated balloon. Keeping weight down overall is the ultimate key to maintaining a fast pace across the Antarctic wasteland, according to the expedition’s leader.
One Tough Tacoma
The Mad Max, semi-apocalyptic design of the TRE Tacoma has an excellent shot at cracking the South Pole crossing record set in 2005. If all goes according to plan, maybe we’ll see a special commemorative edition Tacoma in showrooms in the near future. Minus the orange shag carpet insulation, of course.
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