Volkswagen and a bunch of other firms are sponsoring a 14-day, 16,000-mile trip from Tierra del Fuego, at the southernmost point of Argentina, to Deadhorse, Alaska, way up at the top of the world. The driver team is led by Rainer Zietlow, known for his long-distance alternative-fuel jaunts, and two German companions who will share 5-hour shifts. You can follow their progress here.
They will be driving a TDI diesel-powered, modified Touareg with 225-hp and 406-lb ft of torque. Sounds like a good car for the trip: Fuel economy averages 25 mpg, and it should handle the difficult terrain they will have to follow.
The trip commemorates the 75th anniversary of the Pan-American Highway and will take them through 14 countries and over a 13,600-foot pass in Chile. They’ll also have to get across the Darien Gap in Panama, which may require a ferry.
The project aims to demonstrate Volkswagen’s clean diesel efficiency and uses something called the AdBlue system to clean its emissions.
This system uses a 4.5-gallon tank of a solution that leaches nitrogen oxide from the car’s exhaust. As the solution in the AdBlue tank needs to be replaced every 6,000 to 10,000 miles, Zietlow’s Touareg will need to undergo at least one tank refill to keep the emissions clean.
It sounds like an incredible trip, through some of the most challenging and beautiful country in the world. I’ll let you know next week what it was like driving 150 miles through some very good-sized mountains in southern Mexico.
Would you ever want to make a long-distance, high-endurance trip like this?