August 24, 2008 Look closely and you'll see a Lotus badge on the side of this fascinating device. Built to act as a scout to plan routes for heavier vehicles on flat, hard-packed ice, the Concept Ice Vehicle (CIV) is set to perform its first tour of duty in Antarctica with the Moon Regan Transarctic Expedition. Three oversize, suspended skis give the ultra-light CIV a low friction contact patch, and handle the steering as the biofuel-powered propeller drives the vehicle forward. Braking is another issue - a large, spiked metal arm is forced down into the smooth ice, dragging the CIV to a halt - and it comes equipped with a radar to detect hidden ice crevasses that could spell trouble for the rest of the team.

The Moon Regan Transantarctic Expedition is a fact-gathering mission intended to bring up-to-date data to the public consciousness showing how Antarctica's fate reflects and affects the global environment with respect to climate change. Andrew Moon and Andrew Regan intend to take two large modified Ford equipment vans across the Antarctic surface to key data gathering points.

In order to scout out the intended route, searching for hazards and hidden ice crevasses, the expedition will be using this fascinating creation from Lotus. The Concept Ice Vehicle is 14.8 feet long by 14.8 feet wide, with three independently suspended legs each carrying an oversize ice ski. The propeller engine is designed to operate on standard or eco-frendly bio-diesel, and when the terrain gets too rough for the CIV to cross, it's light enough to be hauled by one or two people over the bumpy stuff via a rope.

The ultralight purpose-built concept was designed by former F1 chassis designer Kieron Bradley and polar guide Jason de Carteret.

View gallery - 5 images