Extreme E: The electric off-road racing series

NEWS: Six-time Formula One World Champion, Lewis Hamilton, creates his own race team, X44, which will compete in Season 1 of Extreme E.

Extreme E is an upcoming race series that takes drivers through harsh terrains in all-electric off-roaders. Inspired by the Dakar Rally, the most well-known cross-country rallying event in the world and Formula E, an all-electric twist on Formula 1; Extreme E is set to be one of the most exciting new motorsports of the decade.

In an attempt to raise awareness of the ill-effects of global warming, Alejandro Agag, the founder and CEO of Extreme E, will take the racing series to remote locations across the globe where areas have been hit the hardest by climate change.

Here’s your TotallyEV guide to Extreme E.

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Extreme E: Odyssey 21 SUV

As an all-electric off-road racing series, Extreme E couldn’t use the streamlined Spark SRT05e Gen2 vehicle that’s supplied in Formula E. Instead, Spark Racing Technology, the manufacturer of the latter vehicle designed the Odyssey 21 – an all-electric, all-terrain SUV.

The vehicle operates on a four-wheel-drive (4WD) system, where its mid-mounted motor dispatches 400 kW (550 hp) of power. As a result, the 1650-kilogram, 2.3m-wide SUV can reach 0-62 mph in 4.5 seconds at gradients of up to 130%. That’s an electrifying pace.

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As is the case with Formula E, each vehicle will comprise of a common package of standardised parts. The powertrain will be manufactured by Spark Racing Technology and the battery pack by Williams Advanced Engineering, who also will be supplying the battery for the upcoming Gen3 Formula E car.

The chassis itself is a Niobium-reinforced steel alloy tubular frame, where a crash structure and roll cage protect the driver from severe accidents. Continental will be the suppliers of tyres for the entirety of the race series.

Extreme E Odyssey 21 SUV

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Extreme E: Race calendar

The inaugural season is set to take place in early 2021; there are five locations in the series, each outlining the impact of climate change:

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Extreme E: Climate change

The role of Extreme E is more than just providing a refreshing new motorsport to the scene; it’ll be used to highlight the effects of climate change. Here, ecological experts will be consulted to minimise the impact of the races on the environment. To help, Extreme E has elected a scientific committee, which comprises of the following individuals:

  • Head of Scientific Committee/Arctic Scientist: Professor Peter Wadhams (The University of Cambridge)
  • Ocean Scientist: Dr Lucy Woodall (The University of Oxford/Nekton Foundation)
  • Amazon Scientist: Francisco Oliveira PhD (The University of Cambridge)
  • Desertification and Droughts Scientist: Professor Richard Washington (The University of Oxford/The University of Cape Town)

To take things to another level, the race paddock, which is often flown around the world in other motorsports, will be on a ship – more specifically the RMS St. Helena.

Here, teams and their engineers, vehicles and drivers will all be under one ‘roof’. Communication from the race paddock to the drivers will take place over-the-air; drivers will have a virtual track via a Head’s Up Display (HUD) and will be able to communicate over-the-air with their team back at base, on RMS St. Helena.

Extreme E racing

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Extreme E: Race format

Extreme E’s races, which will be known as X Prix, will involve two laps over a distance of around 10 miles (16 km). Four teams, with two drivers – one male, one female – will complete a lap apiece each day over a two-day event.

Extreme E qualifying

Qualifying takes place on day one, where it’ll be used to determine the top four runners who will progress through into Semi-Final 1, where the bottom four competitors will go on to take part in Semi-Final 2: the unique ‘Crazy Race’, which will allow only the quickest of the bunch to progress onto the Final.

The winner of the Final – the fastest combination of team, drivers, car and engineers over the two-day event – will then be crowned the X Prix Winner.

Extreme E race format 2021

Aside from the race format, Extreme E will use a similar feature to Formula E, in which drivers will be awarded with an additional boost of speed. Unlike in Formula E, where drivers go around certain parts of the circuit to gain a boost in speed, ‘Hyperdrive’ in Extreme E, will be granted to the team who performs the longest jump on the first jump of each race – radical. Hyperdrive power can then be used by that team at any point in the race.

This initial format is designed to incorporate eight teams but can be adapted to accommodate additional entries.

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Extreme E: The teams

Extreme E will see at least eight teams in the first season. At the time of writing, eight have been confirmed: ABT Sportline, Andretti Autosport, Chip Ganassi Racing, HWA Team, QEV Technologies, Team Techeetah, Veloce Racing, and Team X44.

Each team will have two drivers, where an impressive pool of them have already expressed their interest in joining the motorsport. An up-to-date list can be found on Extreme E’s website.

What you’ll want to know is that the drivers span from all different motorsports – 24 Hours Le Mans Winners to Formula E drivers. Better still, it’s the first time where teams will have to field one male and one female driver in their roster.

Extreme E teams

This is to promote gender equality and further set a level playing field amongst competitors. Each driver per team completes one full lap before handing it over to the next.

Teams will be in charge to determine which driver goes first to best suit their strategy; driver order selections are made confidentially, with competitors kept in the dark as to other teams’ choices until the cars reach the start-line.

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Extreme E: How to watch

Numerous broadcasters from across the world are set to have the race series available via their chosen platforms; from the BBC in the UK to RTM in Malaysia.

We’d expect Extreme E to be free-to-watch in the UK via the BBC iPlayer app and website. The motorsport will likely follow the same televised schedule as Formula E.

It was also announced that Extreme E will be working with Velocity Experience to develop ways of presenting key events and virtual immersive experiences – as there won’t be any space for a live audience, Extreme E will be looking to engage with its fans virtually.

Extreme E drive

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David Coulthard, a former Formula 1 driver and the CEO of Velocity Experience, said: “It is important to focus on the future of event solutions and really drive a new way of watching and engaging around motorsport, making the championship as accessible as possible for all of our fans.”

That’s about everything you need to know about Extreme E; if you found this guide useful or would like to ask us a question, let us know in the comments section below. Alternatively, you can reach out to us via social media: we’re on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube.

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