Extreme E has taken a major step forward in its ambitious racing plans just months ahead of the series’ debut in Saudi Arabia.
The all-electric off-road series will race across four continents in its debut season, visiting six countries heavily impacted by climate change in a bid to raise awareness.
As part of its plans, Extreme E has worked alongside AFC Energy to develop a transportable hydrogen cell generator which it will use to charge its grid of Odyssey 21 electric SUVs.
The generator produces zero emissions, with the only by-product being water, which it will utilise elsewhere at each of its five races.
The system has taken six months of development to get to where it is, followed by a month of intensive commissioning in January at AFC Energy’s Surrey assembly facility, alongside battery management systems and vehicle charging infrastructure testing.
With the system getting the green light, it has now been distributed ahead of being loaded onto Extreme E’s floating centrepiece, St. Helena, prior to its departure from the UK in mid-February for Saudi Arabia.
“Hydrogen fuel cell charging in the world of motorsport is truly ground breaking, and Extreme E is the first event of its kind to utilise this technology,” commented Alejandro Agag, Founder and CEO of Extreme E. “The product from AFC Energy offers an end-to-end emission free solution for running our electric vehicles, and I hope it will inspire other organisations to investigate sustainable low emission alternatives when running their events.
“The sign-off from the team is a real milestone for Extreme E, and I’m looking forward to seeing the hydrogen fuel cell in action at our first race in Saudi Arabia in just a couple of months’ time. It has not been easy to get where we are today, but the team has been more determined than ever to make Extreme E a reality, because the climate crisis isn’t on hold for anyone or anything.”
Adam Bond, CEO at AFC Energy added: “Hydrogen continues to gain momentum as a viable worldwide platform that affords a key solution to the decarbonisation of sectors where electrification and grid infrastructure is absent. Extreme E’s vision to use motorsport as a platform to introduce new technologies, such as fuel cell technology, to support this goal is to be congratulated and AFC Energy is very proud to be associated with such a landmark initiative.
“The past few months have delivered many new challenges in meeting the robust specifications of the first Extreme E season to account for the range of conditions in each of its five rounds, and today’s unveiling reflects a strong collaborative effort from both organisations. Our collaboration with Extreme E provides an incredible global platform to highlight the deployment of our robust, innovative zero-emission system that will ultimately support the decarbonisation of incumbent off-grid power systems across a number of global industries including maritime, rail and construction.
“I look forward to Extreme E and AFC Energy’s teams working closely together to make the championship a success in 2021 whilst properly highlighting the climate change challenges faced by different ecosystems to encourage global decarbonisation.”