Shackleton Returns: Hyundai Santa Fe conquers the Antarctic driven by Great Grandson of Sir Ernest Shackleton
30-day expedition achieves first crossing of the coldest and driest continent
on earth by passenger car
Standard 2.2-litre diesel Hyundai Santa Fe with limited modifications
traverses the continent from Union Camp to McMurdo and back again driven
by Patrick Bergel, great-grandson of Sir Ernest Shackleton
Expedition made into a short film by Hyundai Motor – log on to:
www.Shackletonsreturn.hyundai.com or https://youtu.be/J01mqggN0h8
April 25, 2017 - Hyundai Motor has made history when a near-standard 2.2-litre
diesel Santa Fe became the first passenger vehicle to be driven across the continent
of Antarctica from Union Camp to McMurdo and back again. The Santa Fe was
driven by Patrick Bergel, the Great Grandson of legendary polar explorer, Sir Ernest
The journey which took place in December 2016 was timed to commemorate the
centenary of Shackleton’s heroic Trans-Antarctic expedition of 1914-16 and has
been made into a short film by Hyundai which will be shown for the first time tonight
at an event at the Hospital Club, London.
Scott Noh, Head of Overseas Marketing Group, Hyundai Motor Company said: “We
were aware of Sir Ernest Shackleton’s story and as a Company felt a resonance with
his courage and pioneering spirit. Our film celebrates this spirit and through Patrick,
his Great Grandson, completes his dream to cross Antarctica – just a hundred years
later. We hope that it showcases Hyundai as brand that that is more than just a
means of transportation.”
The 30-day expedition saw the Santa Fe production vehicle, which was modified only
slightly to fit giant low-pressure tyres, take on almost 5,800km of icy terrain in bitter
conditions. It not only had to cover extreme distances at temperatures down to minus
28-degrees Celsius but it had to plot new paths on floating ice caps that have never
been travelled by wheeled vehicle before.
Patrick Bergel said: “The journey was incredible and the car was a pleasure to drive.
Sometimes it felt less like driving and more like sailing across the snow. It was a
proper expedition with a challenge to accomplish that nobody else had done before.
It was about endurance not speed - we only averaged only 27km/h – and success
was about how we and the car handled it. I’m very reluctant to make direct
comparisons between what my great grandfather did and what we’ve done recently.
But it is quite something to have been the first to do this in a wheeled vehicle.”
One of Antarctica’s most experienced driving experts, Gisli Jónsson from Arctic
Trucks was tasked with managing the vehicle’s preparation before the event and
then led the expedition out in the Antarctic.
Jónsson explained: “It was a pretty standard Santa Fe. The engine, the management
system, the transmission, front differential and driveshaft were all completely
standard. We did have to fit big, low-pressure tyres though – they are important as
it’s all about getting the vehicle up on top of the snow rather than ploughing through
it. We were running on one-tenth of a normal road tyre pressure - it’s so soft you can
drive over someone’s hand and it won't hurt them! The car ‘trod’ so lightly that all our
tyre tracks were gone by the time we came back.”
To fit the tyres, the car’s body had to be raised with new sub-frames and suspension
and gears were fitted inside the wheel hubs to cope with the different forces and the
need to turn more slowly to run at the same speed.
The only other modifications were to increase the fuel tank capacity, to convert the
car to run on Jet A-1 fuel – the only fuel available on the continent and to install a
pre-heater for the cold. “People who have a lot of experience of Antarctica know what
it does to machinery: basically, anything and everything falls apart,” said Jónsson.
“Even the big machines crack up and break apart.This was the first time this full
traverse has ever been attempted, let alone doing it there and back. A lot of people
thought we would never ever make it and when we returned they couldn’t believe
we’d actually done it!”
The film can be viewed at www.Shackletonsreturn.hyundai.com or