What is Extreme E?

In a few weeks time, at the time of writing, Extreme E will contest the first event of its inaugural season. This post will hopefully be able to give a brief guide as to what it is and how the new championship is set to work.

The series is similar to that of the FIA ABB Formula E World Championship in that the machinery used will be an all electric vehicle. In Extreme E’s case it is an all electric E-SUV called Odyssey 21. The series aims to use hydrogen fuel cell generators to charge the Odyssey 21 thereby using zero emission energy.

As another way to help differentiate between teams, besides liveries, it is possible for entrants to modify the bodywork of the Odyssey 21. This does assume however that a team has linked up with a car manufacturer, an example being Chip Ganassi Racing linking up with General Motors brand, Hummer.

Odyssey 21 – Extreme E” by Jaimie Wilson is licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

Aside from racing Extreme E also aims to highlight the impact of climate change and how human activity has contributed to it. The series is also hoping to promote sustainability and aims to encourage the adoption of electric vehicles as a way to help protect the planet.

The inaugural race schedule for the championship consists of five events with the first taking place in Saudi Arabia. The championship is also due to compete in Senegal, Greenland, Brazil and Argentina. As much as in Formula E there are ePrix, in Extreme E each race will be designated an ‘xPrix’ title.

To further help in its aim of promoting sustainability the series will use a ship called the RMS St. Helena as a floating paddock and base. The ship will be used to transport the championship’s equipment and infrastructure as a way to minimise its emissions profile while also facilitating scientific research through the use of an on-board laboratory.

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At the time of writing there are nine teams set to contest the season opener in Saudi Arabia. Some of the teams will be well known to certain motorsport fans with Andretti and Chip Ganassi (as previously mentioned) both competing this season. Other motorsport fans may have heard/know that there are teams also being entered by Nico Rosberg, Lewis Hamilton and Jenson Button.

The series isn’t just focusing on an environmental message but is also attempting to promote gender equality by mandating that each team is required to field one male and one female driver.

The race weekend format is set to consist of a two day event, being held on a Saturday and Sunday. The Saturday consists of two qualifying rounds which take the form of time trials.

The Sunday will see teams, based on the standings after Qualifying 1 and Qualifying 2, divided up to compete in either ‘The Shoot Out, the ‘Crazy Race’ or the Semi-Final. Who competes in which of the three stated races depends on their qualifying from Saturday. The race event will culminate in the Final where the first and second place teams from the Semi-Final, along with the winner of the Crazy Race, will progress to the Final.

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After the Final, points are awarded on a 25-19-18-15-12-10-8-6-4 basis. Should a team be disqualified from a Semi-Final or Final, for whatever reason, they will receive no points for that race.

All time trials and races across the weekend are set to be two laps in length with a team’s female driver completing one lap and its male driver completing the other. The order of which driver goes first is decided by the team and is due not to be made public until the cars reach the start-line. This is in the hopes of adding an element of strategy for the teams.

Hopefully the above helps explain a little further exactly what Extreme E is and how it will work. It will be interesting to see how the new series does throughout this year and how it will develop and grow in the coming years.

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