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Iveco gets the 2008 Oltre – Beyond the Edge expedition under starter’s orders
Iveco handed over six vehicles for the “Oltre – Beyond The Edge 2008” expedition to the Arctic today in Turin. The expedition will be travelling from North Cape to the Bering Strait to celebrate the 90th anniversary of the North-East Passage completed by Norwegian explorer Roald Amundsen.

The hand-over ceremony took place at Iveco’s headquarters in the presence of Petter Johannesen, expedition head and descendent of Roald Amundsen. Johannesen took possession of four Massif 5-door vehicles and two Iveco Daily 4x4s that have been specially fitted out to tackle the challenging climatic conditions of the freezing Nordic winter.

The expedition’s route will take it into some of the most difficult conditions in the world for motor vehicles. Temperatures can drop to below -50°C and -20°C is already cold enough to cause critical static stress on materials and components. Plastics, for example, become hard and fragile; physical transformations cause oils and fluids to lose their effectiveness; rubber parts and electrical cables crack and break far more easily. In movement, the vehicles will have to face up to extreme dynamic stress caused by the hardening of shock absorbers and the freezing of hydraulic components.

Iveco was happy to accept the challenge posed by these conditions and to supply the expedition with the extremely reliable vehicles it requires. All the vehicles have been specially prepared to guarantee maximum performance under even the toughest conditions. In particular, special guards have been fitted to protect mechanical parts against impacts and the fuel systems have been adapted to ensure an adequate supply to main systems whatever the conditions.

The cab interiors have also been fitted with additional heating and demisting systems. The electrical and electronic systems have been protected against impact and the cold, as well as increased in power to drive additional lights. Finally, the vehicles have been fitted with special equipment like winches and claw tyres to ensure traction on ice and to give them the ability to get out of any potential trouble. Because tyre pressure may have to be reduced to improve traction on snow, the vehicles have been equipped with special beadlock wheels.

The ‘Arctic-proofing’ process did not stop here. While the Massif Station Wagons did not require any special installations, the two Daily 4x4s were completely refitted, one as a combined truck, living quarters and spares store, and the other as a combined kitchen and living quarters.

Respect for the environment will be a constant theme throughout the expedition, especially since one of the purposes of the trip is to emphasise the need for greater ecological awareness. The scientific value of the journey has already been ensured by contributions from major organisations and institutions like the Italian Space Agency, Telespazio, the San Raffaele Hospital and the WWF.

The “Oltre – Beyond The Edge 2008” expedition will set off next Sunday from Milan’s main commercial street, Corso Buenos Aires, which will be decked out for the occasion. From Milan the vehicles will drive northwards for fifteen days to Norway’s North Cape, where the real journey will begin. The expedition is hoping to reach the Bering Strait in March 2009. The team is made up of a total of 40 people, including researchers, doctors, journalists, photographers, video operators, drivers, and mechanics, and personnel will rotate at the end of each of twelve 30-day legs.