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Extreme E announces plans for first hydrogen-fuel powered off-road Championship

Extreme E hydrogen

On the eve of the first round of the second season for the Extreme E electric SUV off-road Championship, the series announced they will launch an off-road hydrogen-fuel powered Championship in 2024 named Extreme H to designate the difference in power supply.

“Extreme E was designed to be a testbed for innovation and solutions for mobility,” said Extreme E founder and CEO Alejandro Agag in a release. “It has become increasingly clear to us that creating a hydrogen racing series is a natural evolution of our mission to showcase the possibilities of new technologies in the race to fight climate issues.

“Together with the current Extreme E teams we will decide in the coming months the best way to integrate the hydrogen-powered cars into the racing weekend. Two separate categories, full transition to hydrogen or joint racing are all options on the table.

“Extreme E is an FIA International Series and our intention is to work closely again with the FIA and the Automobile Club de Monaco on the development of Extreme H. Sport is the fastest and most effective platform for driving innovation, and by using the existing Extreme E platform we can also utilize our transport, talent and operations to ensure we are minimizing footprint in the process. This effectively means we can have double the race action, with marginal additional impact.”

Extreme H cars will use the same powertrain and chassis, the Odyssey 21, that is used for Extreme E. The main difference will be that Extreme H cars will get their power from a hydrogen fuel cell instead of the battery that powers Extreme E.

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“It is exciting that the scope of Extreme E is now to be extended to encompass the renewable world of hydrogen power,” said Peter Wadhams, Extreme E Scientific Committee member. “At the COP-26 meeting in Glasgow last November there was a positive crowd of hydrogen vehicles, demonstrating the potential of this energy source, especially for larger vehicles. There was a bus, an ambulance, a JCB digger and several trucks. In amongst them was the McLaren Extreme-E electric car.

“I have seen hydrogen power in action in Orkney, where hydrogen is created in the outer islands using wind power, compressed and brought to Kirkwall by ferry, then used to power the Kirkwall fleet of public service vehicles. There are so many exciting possibilities of this kind which will be supported and energized by the publicity given to hydrogen vehicles by Extreme E.”

Wadhams is also the Head of the Polar Ocean Physics Group in the Department of Applied Mathematics and Theoretical Physics at the University of Cambridge. Extreme E, and by extension the Extreme H Series, is dedicated to creating motorsports powered by more environmentally friendly renewable power sources.

Extreme E is already using hydrogen sources to charge the batteries used in the current series.

The Extreme E season gets underway this weekend in Neom, Saudi Arabia for the first of five rounds.

Development for the Extreme H vehicle is already underway, with goals to have a prototype launched in early 2023.