Rumour had it already a month ago that the electric racing series was to take on remote spots of the earth. Now the makers of Formula E confirmed plans for a new racing series with electric SUVs in the world’s most extreme climate zones.
Fittingly called the Extreme E series, the race is officially on and will see electric SUVs compete in a sort of rally. It will start in January 2021 with five events in the Arctic, the Himalayas, the Sahara desert, the Amazon rainforest and on an island in the Indian Ocean.
Extreme E will be held in two groups of six teams with the top four progressing to the knock-out stage and each driver going head-to-head to earn a place in the final. The off-road sections will be around 6-10km in length with a series of virtual gates to be navigated through by drivers – in a mixture of extreme heat and humidity, high altitude and sub-zero temperatures.
The races are to be televised worldwide in the form of a documentary series. Explorer David de Rothschild and Academy Award-winning film director Fisher Stevens will sign responsible for the series.
Formula E claims “the concept will showcase electric sport utility vehicles (SUVs) competing in extreme environments, highlighting not only the prowess of such vehicles, star drivers and advanced technologies – but crucially the challenges faced by each ecosystem”. Well, let’s hope that indeed the climatic challenges will take a top spot rather than the attempt of selling more SUVs, no matter if electric or not.
Gil de Ferran and Alejandro Agag spearhead the fully-funded venture, with Continental Tyres announced as a founding partner and CBMM as niobium supplier. So far, no more partners have been named, but manufacturers are being attracted with a concession to individual design options. The organisers will still predetermine the chassis. However, motors and some body work options are up to the racing teams, as long as the silhouette design resembles their road-going models.
The former Royal Mail Ship, St. Helena will undergo a multi-million-pound renovation to become the mobile operating base for Extreme E. If that means the ship will run entirely electrically remains yet to be seen, but the Formula E communications team mention renewable energy sources.
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