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The tech behind Extreme E

How the all new race series plans to be sustainable

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Extreme E burst on to the scene at the beginning of April, racing in some of the world’s most remote and extreme environments. These all new electric off road SUV’s look rapid, so it is hard to believe that this radical new race car is fully electric.

Founded by the same team behind Formula E, Extreme E has showcased the Odyssey 21 car using futuristic technologies that will help develop the road car industry in the future.

The Mission

The new championship will also aim to use it’s sporting platform to highlight the impact of climate change in some of the most harsh environments across the globe, including the deserts of Saudi Arabia and the arctic conditions of Greenland. It will promote the adoption of electric vehicles to pave the way for a lower carbon future, and minimise the environmental impact while maximising awareness around climate change.

Extreme E launches cutting-edge SUV designed by Formula E supplier | F1 |  Sport |

Image Credit: Extreme E

The Car

After an intensive design and development programme, carried out by Exteme E’s partners Spark Racing Technology, the Odyssey 21 was revealed for the first time in July 2019 at the Goodwood Festival of Speed. The initial build time took less than two months with requirements of being all-electric, all-terrain, powerful with huge torque. Compared to a normal race car, the Odyssey 21 has no clutch and maximum torque, so that when your foot touches the pedal, you get maximum power immediately.

The car is capable of reaching 0-62mph in just 4,5 seconds, at gradients of up to 130 percent. Not bad for an all electric vehicle. It also has 550hp, more than a Porsche 911 Turbo or an Aston Martin DBX. The battery is produced by Williams Advanced Engineering, who also provide the batteries for the Formula E championship. From a technical perspective, the team at Williams faced challenges both from the effects of altitude on electrical design and from temperature changes during the events. The team also needed to protect the batteries from the harsh conditions of dust, sand and water.

The hydrogen fuel cell charging system has been created by AFC Energy, who built the system with the intention of showcasing the potential of clean energy to displace the use of diesel. The chassis is comprised of a niobium-reinforced steel alloy tubular frame, as well as crash structure and roll cage.

The Tyres

I am fascinated by the tyres that have been developed for these off road racers. They are supplied by founding partner Continental Tyres, and provide the necessary grip on extreme surfaces. The tyre manufacturer also supply technology that enables the drivers and teams to monitor their tyre data in real-time. The system measures tyre information like tyre pressure, tread depth and temperature via sensors in the tyre and transfers it in real-time to the team and driver. This enables the team to make adjustments and change their race strategy if necessary.

Founder says tire technology 'key part' of Extreme E series

Image Credit: Extreme E

Electric vehicles tend to be heavier than gasoline powered cars due to the extra weight carried by the battery, so the tyres need extra grip and robustness to carry the extra weight. There is extra stress placed on the tyres due to the higher torque so they wear out faster. One of the solutions that Continental Tyres provided was developing the ‘dandelion tyre’, a natural rubber produced from dandelions. It is a more sustainable and eco-friendly alternative to traditional rubber from rubber trees, which produces higher CO2 emissions.


Extreme E's ship re-launches - News - Extreme E - The Electric Odyssey

Image Credit: Extreme E

The Floating Paddock

The paddock floats. Yes, it floats. It is a 30 year old ex-Royal Mail cargo-passenger vessel named the RMS St. Helena. It has been modernised and refitted to transport the vehicles and base for the championship.

All of the freight, infrastructure and vehicles will be aboard, with the ship also kitted out with an on-board lab to enable scientific research into climate change at each race location. The ship’s engines and generators now run on low-sulphur marine diesel rather than heavier diesel. It has been given a mechanical upgrade and can cruise on one engine to reduce fuel consumption and emissions.

The interior has been upcycled rather than wasted, in a bid to be as eco-friendly as possible.

To follow the development of Extreme E, visit

Headline Image: Extreme E




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