The Rise Of Extreme E Motorsport

Racing fully electric SUVs was until recently seen as a niche sport for hardcore enthusiasts only, but it is set to become mainstream very quickly, according to Autocar. The first Extreme E championship for off-road vehicles only took place in 2019, and despite the intervening global pandemic, the sector is now hailed as the future of motorsport.

The current season is due to start in Neom, Saudi Arabia, Arab News reports. After the successful inaugural 2021 season in the Alula region, interest is building in the motorsport, which began as a way of highlighting sustainable and eco-friendly practices in the motor industry.

The unforgiving red sand desert terrain of the Neom region will test the vehicles and the drivers to their limits. The mixed gender driving teams will compete in 536bhp Spark Odyssey electric buggies.

Race director Scot Elkins told the publication: “With electric cars, we can control the power output and battery capacity really easily, which you can’t do with a combustion-engined car, so we could easily adjust the power to suit the terrain better. With the events we’re running, the cars don’t always need to be super-fast to produce great racing.”

Extreme E is a signatory of the United Nations’ Sports for Climate Action Framework. The initiative, led by the UN’s Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), was formed in the wake of the 2015 Paris Agreement, the Extreme E website explains. The event aims to have a net zero carbon footprint, offsetting what it cannot avoid.

Extreme E marketing chief Ali Russell said: “Manufacturers are so important to building a championship, and developing future technology that can go into road cars. We talk about being a championship of change and impact, and manufacturers can have massive impact,” adding: “a variety of ongoing discussions that are incredibly healthy”.

Although on-site spectators are being kept to a minimum for environmental purposes, the championship has already won TV deals with major broadcasters, including the BBC, ITV, and Sky Sports.

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