British sports car maker Lotus has unveiled a new model that runs on biofuel, and can do up to 135kmph over snow and ice. Known as the Concept Ice Vehicle (CIV), it is a single seater and uses a motorbike engine with a supercharger, and can operate in temperatures as low as minus 72C (minus 98F).

The company has revealed that the new car has been designed for an expedition to the South Pole, organized by the explorers Andrew Moon and Andrew Regan. “If you can run biofuels successfully in the most harsh and extreme environment in the world, then there is no reason why you can’t use them to get to the supermarket,” said Regan.

Another purpose of this creation is to raise awareness of climate change and to demonstrate the efficiency of biofuel, say the makers. The CIV weighs just 350kg (790lb), enabling the crew to pull it by hand over bumpy areas, and has radar to spot crevasses hidden under the ice.

Kieron Bradley, a former Formula One chassis designer who has built it, says that he has tested every component of the vehicle, which has been put together from microlight parts, in Lotus’s cold chambers to test its ability to survive very low temperatures. The E85 bioethanol fuel used in the vehicle can reduce emissions by about 70 per cent compared with ordinary petrol.

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