Bio-Inspired Ice Vehicle Unveiled

Bio-Inspired Ice Vehicle (BIV)Bio-Inspired Ice Vehicle (BIV)Bio-Inspired Ice Vehicle (BIV)Bio-Inspired Ice Vehicle (BIV)Bio-Inspired Ice Vehicle (BIV)
Most Arctic expeditions involve a pack of dogs, lots of food and a sleigh. But the people taking part in the Moon Regan Transantartic Expedition wanted to be a bit cooler than that. Looking like something from the the arctic battles in a Star Wars movie, the Bio-Inspired Ice Vehicle (BIV) is being designed to take explorers across frozen wasteland at speed.

Built in 2008 with Lotus know-how, the BIV will be used by the Moon Regan Transantartic Expedition for an epic adventure. The team has already reached the South Pole on December 3rd, in one week of battling bad weather, highly irregular terrain (known as sastrugi) and mechanical problems.

In the expedition, the BIV took the role of “an agile route-finder” for a pack of six-wheeled Ford Econolines with 7.3-liter diesel V8s, according to the expedition’s official website.

Focusing on this amazing contraption, we are amazed by the minimal design that is meant to reduce moving parts as much as possible. The three skids each have their own suspension system, which helps them glide over bumps and keep weight distributed evenly. Speaking of weight, the vehicle tips the scales at only 700 kg (1.543 lbs). Another striking feature is the tungsten-carbide braking system, that digs into the ice in order to stop the vehicle.

The futuristic concept is powered by a 1.2-liter BMW boxer motorcycle engine, modified to run on E85 bioethanol but it was replaced with a more powerful Rotax 914 turbocharged unit, better suited for low temperatures and higher altitudes. The engine is directly connected to a three-blade variable-pitch propeller that can push the BIV to a top speed of 84 mph (135 km/h) in ideal conditions.

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About the author: Mihnea Radu
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Mihnea's favorite cars have already been built, the so-called modern classics from the '80s and '90s. He also loves local car culture from all over the world, so don't be surprised to see him getting excited about weird Japanese imports, low-rider VWs out of Germany, replicas from Russia or LS swaps down in Florida.
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