Motorsport is taking on a new form. Beyond the collaboration of leading organisations and the excitement of high-power output from the smallest of engines, technology and sustainability are incorporated into the fold.
As a result, new businesses are entering new territories and supporting motorsports teams that have become home to world-changing initiatives. We saw it with the idealisation of Formula E in 2011, and we’ll continue to witness change through the E1 powerboat series.
But the focus today is the racing season that just completed its second global tour: Extreme E.
The Extreme E series was conceived in 2019 as an initiative to raise awareness of climate change and how electrified mobility can shape a more sustainable future. The off-road racing championship attracts the adrenaline junkies; some of the most fearless drivers in the world came to showcase the ODYSSEY 21 electric SUVs in some of the most challenging environments on the planet.
Sporting peak power of 400 kilowatts (550bhp), the EV is designed for treacherous off-road racing with minimal impact to the environment from an emissions’ standpoint. As the teams gain the attention of the public, turning their focus to climate change, and environmental and social impact, they work as a collective to facilitate change and showcase to the world what could be achieved on a much larger scale.
Extreme E ODYSSEY 21
The ODYSSEY 21 is the standard electric vehicle for all teams racing in the Extreme E championship. The car is engineered by Spark Racing Technology, a developer of high performance electric cars and modules. Teams in the Extreme E line-up are tasked with fine-tuning the vehicle for the highest possible performance, while enabling a suitable level of charging for remote operation.
Maximum Power: 400kW (550bhp)
Acceleration: 0-100km/h (0-62mph) in 4.5 seconds
Top Speed: 200km/h (124mph)
Weight: 1.84 tonnes
Width: 2.3 metres
Battery Capacity: 40kWh
Teams and partners rallied around the motorsport throughout the duration of two race seasons to provide support for the drivers that have taken on both the race and climate challenges it aims to address. This result has influenced a number of sustainable mobility solutions that can be translated into commercial applications for electrification of automobiles, charging infrastructure, and even renewable energy projects.
Much like its street racing counterpart, Formula E, the aim of the Extreme E initiative is to develop products and services that its partners can inject into suitable industries. Renewable energy sourcing through off-grid technology can be applied to almost any function, battery innovation confirms the longevity of units that will be leveraged by battery cell and car manufacturers, and fast, reliable charging solutions are in high demand in highways all around the world.
Starting from the ground up, the Extreme E tyre supplier Continental developed a bespoke unit specifically for the ODYSSEY 21 and is also a founding partner of the championship. A special version of its Continental CrossContact production tyre was developed to suit the various environments visited throughout each year.
Aside from this, the company provides a critical service for the motorsport, the ContiConnect system, which allows teams to better manage their tyres during each race. From tyre pressure to temperature, teams receive real-time data via a sensor inside the tyre, which enables great insights both on and off site.
“As part of the ‘one-tyre-fits-all’ approach of Extreme E, the tread pattern has been optimised for top performance on every kind of terrain our planet has to offer, and the tread compound was specifically designed for this tyre,” says Peter Robb, Marketing director UK and Ireland at Continental.
In terms of maintaining the sustainable approach of Extreme E, Continental is “already seeing great success in these efforts”, Robb says. “We’ve continuously increased our efficiency in water and energy consumption by running energy saving programmes for more than a decade.”
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