An Edmonton man is joining a group of car enthusiasts cruising towards a historic mission around the world. They’ll be testing their vehicle’s survival while testing their limits.
They’ve geared up for a road trip like no other and it’s all for their love of science and bragging rights.
Andrew Comrie-Picard grew up in Edmonton and is part of the 17-month Transglobal Car Expedition. He isn’t just in it for the thrills.
“It’s never been done before. It’s the hardest thing you can do with a vehicle. Do we know everything that’s going to happen? No, we don’t. But that’s the sense of adventure and exploration and challenge,” said Comrie-Picard.
The team is currently en route to the North Pole and came through Edmonton on the 25th. Comrie-Picard says the city is the gateway to the north. On January 9th they started in New York and after their pit stop in Edmonton, they’ll make their way through Yellowknife and towards the North Pole.
Then they will travel through Europe, Asia and Africa. They’ll eventually head down to the South Pole, before driving through South America and finally arriving back in New York.
View image in full screen
The Transglobal Car Expedition’s travel route. Global News
The crew is only off the road a few times, when a boat will carry them between the oceans.
“It’s a surface expedition. We never leave the surface. The people in the vehicles never leave the surface. Which means we have to take six boat crossings,” Comrie-Picard adds that they’ve assembled a few specialty vehicles to navigate.
“They’re able to float on top of the snow and float in the water, crucially, because there’s open water in the north pole which makes it very hard for us in which you need amphibious vehicles.”
The crew will test themselves through the frigid cold and tight spaces, while also being efficient by sleeping and eating in their camper when they’re up north.
“We’ll be able to be together here maybe eight or nine people for dining in this space. Sleeping is here. It has a heated floor also here,” said team member Emil Grimsson.
But this trip isn’t just for fun, the team will be conducting experiments along the way, which include measuring the flow of cosmic radiation as well as light pollution in different regions.
“We’re collecting a bunch of data for four different experiments as we go around the earth,” Comrie-Picard said. “It helps people who are analyzing migration patterns in animals. The hunters and fishers in the Arctic, who are crucially interested in the ice coverage, and the ice thickness for safety that helps them out also.”
It’s a mission this group has been dreaming of for years and now they finally get to do it.
“The kids graduated high school quite recently. They’re all in different universities. It gives me the time to travel and I’m super excited,” said crew member Maria Metreveli.
The team hopes their vehicles are built to handle the extreme circumstances ahead of them as they will be collecting data and disseminating it to research groups for review in countries across the world.
“These are mobility solutions for the north. As a Canadian, I got stuck in fields all through my youth. If we’d had this, we wouldn’t have gotten stuck so much,” said Comrie-Picard.
The wheeled journey will wrap up in the summer of 2025.