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Transglobal Car Expedition Sets Off From New York

Transglobal Car Expedition

On January 9th, the Transglobal Car Expedition set off from a rainy New York City on an extraordinary 18-month adventurethe first wheeled surface circumnavigation of the Earth through both geographic poles. Utilizing three different types of off-road vehicles, a team comprised of some of the world’s best polar explorers will attempt a journey that combines challenging ice crossings with some of the world’s great trans-continental overland routes.

The expedition has a core team of eight members, with others joining for various segments. The team leader is explorer and mountaineer Vasily Shakhnovskiy. Also along are two of the world’s most experienced polar vehicle builders: Emil Grimsson of Arctic Trucks and Vasily Elagin, creator of the Yemelyaa lightweight, floating, live-aboard transport explicitly designed for the poles. These two men have built every wheeled vehicle that has traveled the Arctic above the continental shelf. Grimsson created several different Ford trucks that form the expedition fleet: classic Arctic Trucks 6×6 F-350s, an F-150 Hybrid, and a set of Expeditions for the long transits across Europe, Africa, and the Americas.

The expedition set off from The Explorers Club in New York City, a gathering place for the world’s expedition leaders since 1904. On a cold and rainy night, the Arctic Trucks-prepared vehicles looked out of place parked on the streets of the Upper East Side. But by the end of January, they’ll be right at home in the Canadian north, heading across the permafrost and ice to Cambridge Bay in Nunavut. From there, the team will transition to the Yemelyas for the North Pole sector.

Transglobal Car Expedition

After crossing the North Pole and Greenland, the team will shift to the Ford Expeditions and drive across Iceland, Europe, and Central Asia before heading across the Arabian Peninsula. They’ll ship the vehicles to Africa and continue to Cape Town, where they’ll fly to Antarctica and rejoin the Yemelyas and Arctic Trucks 6×6 vehicles. After driving to the South Pole and exiting Antarctica via a never-before-traversed route to Cape Jeremy, the final leg will be a run North on the Pan-American Highway, wrapping up back in New York City in May 2025.

While the expedition’s route is an achievement on its own, there is a second goal: to collect scientific data that will give us insight into our changing planet. The areas the expedition will traverse in the polar regions are rarely traveled overland and hold information that will help scientists understand climate change. Experiments will measure ice conditions, cosmic rays, biological changes in humans in extreme conditions, and light pollution. In the Arctic, the expedition will travel across about 2,000 kilometers of old pack ice, and the Yemelyas will tow data-collecting trailers to create a valuable trove of data on ice thickness, which will be more detailed than what satellites can provide. Citizen science is also part of the program, with expedition followers invited to participate in several smartphone-driven data-gathering projects.

To keep up with the Transglobal Car Expedition, check out their website, Instagram, and Facebook.


Read more: What the Pole-to-Pole Expedition Wants You to Know About Long-Term EV Travel

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Greg Fitzgerald is a New Jersey-based writer, photographer, and explorer. He is a life-long Land Rover enthusiast, and although he’ll explore the backcountry in any vehicle, he’s happiest behind the wheel of something with the green oval on it – preferably his LR3 or Discovery 1. He has extensive overland experience across North America, and he enjoys combining vehicle-based travel with industrial archaeology and landscape photography. His favorite place to combine all three is exploring the abandoned mining infrastructure of Death Valley. When he’s not on the trail, he can probably be found somewhere on the coast on his quest to photograph every lighthouse in North America. You can find him on Instagram at @haveroverwilltravel.